I occasionally have conversations online with friends or strangers asking about topics in math and physics. (I'm a sucker for the chance to explain things that I think are cool.) I usually don't have time to turn those conversations into a full tutorial, but it might still be useful to share a few of them here.
Of course, the people I talk to have very different backgrounds. Some have no experience with physics at all, while others have advanced degrees in technical fields. So this list is roughly ordered from least technical to most technical.
- Momentum: An overview of the concept of momentum for someone working on a play with that name.
- Special Relativity: A series of emails exchanged with one of
my parents' friends trying to understand how relative motion
affects observers' perceptions of time and space.
- Initial questions about special relativity.
- My initial response.
- Some further questions following up on my answers.
- Clarifications of my answers, especially related to the meaning of an "event".
- A further honed question about aiming light beams on moving spaceships.
- My answer to that question, discussing lots of reference frames.
- Some counter-responses to my reply, coming closer to a good understanding.
- My explanation of the central issue, which unfortunately required some basic calculus and a few equations. (It's probably possible to explain this without derivatives, but I think this approach is best for those who understand it.)
- How can paper bend?: An answer to a friend's question about all possible ways that a sheet of paper can be twisted or bent. (The friend in question has a bachelors in math and a masters in computer science.)
- Neutrino Mixing: An explanation of the relationship between neutrino mass and neutrino flavor mixing for a friend with a doctorate in math and a strong interest in physics.
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Any questions or comments? Write to me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2006 by Steuard Jensen.