Physics Technique Trainer

Hello, I wanted to know if there is any chance of opening a Physics Technique Trainer. I'm not good at Physics, I can barely solve the Level 2 problems. However, I'd like to learn formulas and useful substitutions without reading other users' solutions, since that takes points off my rating. Thank you

Note by José Marín Guzmán
6 years, 9 months ago

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35 votes

  Easy Math Editor

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You're not the only one. I definitely agree with a physics technique trainer.

Sharky Kesa - 6 years, 9 months ago

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This post is not exactly like the other posts made here, which get at the main topic about the Techniques Trainer. However, it does get at your concern for learning Physics. While I admire your spirit to want to learn and go ahead, I would like to say that the road is neither a short one nor an easy one.

First, I think Peter and some of the others have answered your question about the Techniques Trainer, so I won't say anything about that. Second, level 2 Physics problems are by no means meaningless or trivial - you need a basic understanding to solve those, so that's good. If you're staying steady on Level 2, it means you should practice more and aren't falling behind.

However, if you want to advance, doing "formulas" and "substitutions" aren't the only necessities. I have an objection with the very phrase: I'd like to learn formulas and useful substitutions. This is not what Physics is about. Although Physics does use formulas and there is a considerable amount of math involved in Advanced Physics, this is not how to go about it. I should elaborate on why I don't like this approach. (Not here that I don't mean offense; rather, I am trying to introduce you to the way I think about Physics.)

  • Formulas are there to plug into when you need them. However, this is not the basic on which Physics problems are solved. If you take an exam and you get 100% knowing only formulas and not understanding a thing, I'd say the creator of the test has not understood Physics at all. This is the mistake that many Physics courses, teachers, and students make when doing Physics. They use the approach definitionsformulasproblems. \text {definitions} \rightarrow \text {formulas} \rightarrow \text {problems}. This is not how it works.
  • What do you mean by useful substitutions? If you mean plugging numbers into formulas, I'd say forget it. If you understand Physics to the extent that you breath it and can explain the world with it, imagine beyond the earthly with Physics, but haven't memorized many formulas, you are a good physicist.
  • At the very least, even if you are going to memorize formulas, which are, often times a necessity, you're going to have to derive them and know how to derive them. For example, if, 10 years from now, you are in a conference and you are asked to prove the Parallel Axis Theorem on the board, impromptu, yes, it is formula. But you should be able to do with with your understanding. Even the formulas boil down to conceptualization.

In short, Physics is the art of understanding the world with the right approach. You want to view an 11-dimensional world, track it down to 4 important dimensions, project it onto a 3-dimensional brain, be able to type or write your knowledge in concise knowledge on a 2-dimensional screen, and move through each dimension confidently, like a true lover of Physics. And that's when you'll see that, before you know it, you're progressing!

Next, I would like to comment on the part where you say: without reading other users' solutions, since that takes points off my rating. Two points:

  • If you want to learn problem-solving and solution-writing without reading examples, I suggest you re-think. It is not impossible to improve yourself unless you see examples.
  • It is false when you say that it removes rating to view solutions. Brilliant has recently made viewing solutions free. Also, even if it did affect your rating, which is of higher priority? Your number of points on Brilliant or your desire for learning?

Now that's that part of my post. Please understand that this is not to step on anyone's toe. Again, I want to make clear that I am sharing my views with you, not preaching you. I hope you understand that we are brothers of Science, so if you feel I was a bit too harsh, please don't take it that way. I am talking to you like a brother. Although you are 1 year older than me, I can definitely treat you like my younger brother, I assume? :)

Finally, I would like to say that I am not discouraging you from learning formulas. That's not at all what I'm trying to say here. What I am saying is - don't make that the basis for learning Physics.

Now, if you've found none of the above useful, I can change that. Here are a few things I recommend to understand Physics better (and remember, the mathematical part will follow):

  • MIT OCW: See Course 8 for Physics.
  • For free online courses in Physics, usually from MITx.
  • IPhOO: This is a bit of a shameless advertisement, as this is my own competition. Many beginners have joined the IPhOO as we have several events which promote learning of Physics and are very instructive. Feel free to ignore if you think I'm advertising too much.
  • Of course,! Take my advice above and learn from others.

Good luck, José, for all of Physics and life in general! I want to see you as one of the top physicists. :)

Ahaan Rungta - 6 years, 9 months ago

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I agree that this could be very useful for those not so strong at physics, and even to those that are strong at physics if developed enough - it shouldn't be hard to give easy 'trainer problems' for basic physics of the kind in level 2, sometimes you simply need to know and have some practice using a certain equation - its hard to advance past this level of physics without knowing the basics :)

On the other hand, if you want the formulas you can generally find them on hyperphysics or wikipedia, maybe a textbook...

A physics technique trainer would still be great though imo!

Ben Blayney - 6 years, 9 months ago

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A physics technique trainer would be great but everything can't be done at once. The Brilliant staff are already working on remodeling the current practice sections in the various math topics so I doubt this feature will come for a while. I also noticed that the calculus section was taken off the practice taskbar a week or so ago so you can probably expect the newly remodeled calculus section to come out within the next week or two, but that's just my guess. In the meantime I suggest watching youtube videos on DrPhysicsA's youtube channel which can be seen through the following link. He is very good at explaining physics concepts and goes through the formulae that you are required to know for A Level physics which should get you by most brilliant physics problems. He also explains some really cool physics that you wont need to know for brilliant problems such as Bell's Theorem and Gauge Theory.

Cole Coupland - 6 years, 9 months ago

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Its a good idea to have technique trainer for physics. But I would like to emphasize that reading and learning from others solutions is something that you must do to improve. In case of trainer, in some sense you already know how to reach the solution. On the other hand, when you read other's solution, you get to know how to think in innovative way! You learn thinking process of those who are better than you in that field. Thus you should never ever avoid that! All the best! :)

Snehal Shekatkar - 6 years, 9 months ago

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Yes! I agree! My physics is basically just at school curriculum level - I did not read in advance and stuff unlike Math. So, I just learnt some basic formulas which are not enough in Brilliant physics.

P.S. I have been trying to level myself down for Physics to Level 2 for the past 2-3 weeks because I cannot solve a single question in Level 3 (please don't judge). I think that Level 2 may be more suitable for me and may even help me more in improving my physics since I may be able to attempt some questions (1 at least hopefully). I hope that maybe Brilliant staff can level me down?

Happy Melodies - 6 years, 9 months ago

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Purposely give 3 wrong answers for all the problems and you will level down. ;)

A Former Brilliant Member - 6 years, 9 months ago

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wow i did it. i was not able to solve level 2 problems. hope i'll get level 1 next week.

Akbarali Surani - 6 years, 9 months ago

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Yea i did! For a couple of weeks! But still Level 3!

Happy Melodies - 6 years, 9 months ago

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@Happy Melodies You will only move down if you rating goes low enough.

Ahaan Rungta - 6 years, 9 months ago

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Hi Jose,

I just wanted to clarify for you that your rating goes down when you view a problem and when you enter a wrong answer. Your rating does not drop further if you choose to view solutions. It also does not cost any points to view solutions.

We are certain that a large structured physics practice section would benefit many people on this website. Ultimately we would like to provide material that can better help people to work up to our harder physics problems, however it is lower on our priority list than improving the practice section in our other disciplines.

There are many great physics textbooks out there that can provide you with practice problems and a structured way of learning new material. Unfortunately they tend to cost a ton of money. The only free textbooks I know of are on Openstax. I have used the free physics one a few times for quick reference. I haven't used it that much so can't provide a great review of it. I also don't have a strong emotional connection to it the way my I do to my large physical books, but it is hard to beat free.

Peter Taylor Staff - 6 years, 9 months ago

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Thank you very much for the recommendation and the link! I've already gotten a quick look and I think it will be very useful.

José Marín Guzmán - 6 years, 9 months ago

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Me too.

Soham Dibyachintan - 6 years, 9 months ago

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Another vote up here

Priyatam Roy - 6 years, 9 months ago

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Hello, I just wanted to improve my knowledge about physics and mathematics. I'm sure that I can do it much better in this arena.

Muhammad Faiz Rosli - 6 years, 9 months ago

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