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A place for physics students of any level to discuss the intricate profoundness of the universe.

This subreddit is aimed towards undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a PhD in physics. It is not as serious as r/physics (although papers and articles are encouraged!) and not strictly for physics help like r/askphysics. Just a community of physics students wanting to share info, asking for physics help or looking for advice!

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Can I successfully study for the USAPHO in 5 months from scratch?

Title says it all. Can I study for the F= MA and then for the USAPHO in 5 months from scratch? I know calculus. Every response is appreciated.

04:01 UTC


Doubt In concept of thermodynamics

So I am studying high school thermodynamics and my text book states that

The state of the surroundings can never be completely specified in a thermodynamics setup.

So I was wondering how is this possible?

1 Comment
03:05 UTC


Doubt regarding thermodynamics (High school physics)

So, my text book says that

"The state of the surroundings can never be completely specified in a thermodynamics setup."

Can you explain why? Because I personally think that it is the tendency of a system to reach equilibrium so would reach it's equilibrium anyway so is it not easy to specify?

03:01 UTC


Is it just me, or are physics textbooks and problem sets just really badly written, and half of figuring out the problem is just decoding what they’re asking for?

I’m trying to read Taylor and Wheeler’s “Spacetime Physics”. The second problem in the book asks, how would you synchronize your clock with somebody at a set of coordinates. And to me the answer is, it’s an obviously nonsensical question because special relativity necessarily involves a loss of simultaneity.

Then I turn to the back of the book and it says, calculate the distance to the other clock, then set your clock for that distance, then start your clock at a reference flash from the other clock.

What the ever living fuck does it mean to set your clock to a distance? What the actual fuck does that mean? That is not how clocks work. You don’t have a distance dial on your clock. Or do the rest of you? Because I fucking don’t.

Like… what fuck? This is a terribly worded question and a confusing answer.

01:24 UTC


What are common programming languages?

Hey smart people of Reddit, Im starting to study physics in Germany this winter and I heard that a big portion of studying physics and physics in general is analyzing data. For that reason I’d like to prepare by already getting familiar with common programming languages. I heard that basic languages that you can’t go wrong with are Python and C, but here I want to know about your experiences. What are languages you learned, or what are languages you think will help with learning other languages and getting a wide understanding of coding and data analysis?

00:31 UTC


Uses for Advanced Real Analysis in Physics

Im on a joint honours course in Mathematics and Physics. Advanced Real Analysis is compulsory only for my course, not even for straight Mathematics. The description of the module is:

By the end of the unit, students should be able to state and prove the principal theorems relating to completeness, compactness, and dense sets in metric and normed spaces, and to apply these notions and theorems to simple examples.

What use of this in mathematical/theoretical physics? Asking mainly to see if I can request to do a different module, but only if its relevance to physics is small.

22:04 UTC


Need a book for introductory physics

I recently finished self-studying spivak and piskunov's calculus books, which i think border pretty much on real analysis, I particularly liked piskunov's book. I am trying to learn undergrad physics, I am currently studying physics from young freedman university physics but I found the text too cluttered and mathematically boring. Can someone recommend a book? Would alonso finn be a better choice?

21:22 UTC


AP Physics C self-study textbook recs

Hey y'all, this is my first post here but I found some of the answers given on this subreddit really helpful.

For reference, I have very minimal physics experience (took regular HS physics in 11th grade and I'm about to graduate HS) but it was really negative since I feel like we were just given a bunch of formulas without any intuitive explanation of any of the concepts whatsoever. For reference I've taken Calc 1-3, linear algebra and Real/Complex Analysis, so I have a very rigorous math background, but I've wanted to get into physics forever. I'm taking a gap year so I'm looking to self-study AP Physics C, but all the textbooks I find are, sorry to say it, long, boring, and ugly, with almost no derivations of any of the formulas. What I'm looking for is a textbook that covers roughly the same concepts as an AP Physics C/first course in Mechanics and Electrodynamics using Calculus, but that *proves* all of its results. In other words, I want a textbook that will leverage my math knowledge and experience to help me learn physics :) Thanks for any suggestions or advice

20:15 UTC


Cannot understand physics no matter how hard i study

im in 10th grade, its my first year taking physics and my old school didn’t teach us physics (for whatever reason) every single time i study really hard but i just cant comprehend anything im studying. its even worse on the exams and tests. By the time my exam came i just completely gave up on the subject. I wrote my name and handed it in because i know either way i would fail. I’m taking computer science next year and i heard i have to take physics which is really sad because its the one subject thats affecting how i do in school and i dont think i can keep taking physics honestly.

18:46 UTC


An experiment showed that the attraction between a 5 kg and a 5770 kg mass was 5.77 x 10^-6 N. How far apart were the masses?

also I don't need the answer I just want the formula to solve it please and thanks.

18:37 UTC


From OCR AS level paper. I tried finding Power = current x voltage, then find Energy by Power x time but weren’t sure what values to use? I get confused on how to know what values to use? Answer is D.

16:30 UTC


What is the best way to make connections with researchers and professors working on your field of interest?

14:07 UTC


Is it too late for a career change?

I developed a love of physics in my 30s after I began teaching myself using textbooks and apps like Khan Academy and want to shift my career focus. Unfortunately, I was a Poli-Sci major and never ever took prerequisite HS classes in physics, trig, or calc. The only way I can find take them in my town is as a remedial course at the local university as an enrolled student in the BA program— being a full-time student is not ideal since I have a young baby and need to keep working.

Is a career change into STEM realistic at this point in life or should I move on?

13:30 UTC


[Principles of Physics] Conservation of energy in an inertial reference frame

Hello, I’ve been struggling to figure out how to prove that energy is conserved in this problem. The incline is frictionless, and when I try to prove energy conservation I get suck because I don’t know how to prove that the forces do any work. I did identify force mg and N, but without any numbers how do I prove that it’s conserved? I proved its conservation in a non-inertial reference frame just fine, I used h/sin(theta) and multiplied it by mgcos(90-theta) to get mgh.

The other source I found talking about this confused me because of the calculus involved.

12:52 UTC


I am an undergrad student who is passionate about a career research, but I feel unconfident in my ability to achieve that

I am in my second year of undergrad physics. Since I was little I always found a fascination in astrophysics. Although, when I was in elementary school/middle school I terrible at math. I remember failing every single math test, but despite that I still found a deep fascination in physics. I feel like I've come a long way from that. When I got into high school I started studying a lot harder at math and now its one of my stronger subjects. I say stronger subjects but I would not call myself "great" at maths either. I am now in my second year of university studying physics and my end goal is pursue research. I'm keeping openminded to other fields but my interested still is mostly in astrophysics.

The first ever semester of uni was rough. Despite getting As and Bs in my high school math and physics courses I felt like it did not even come close to preparing me for the content we were learning at uni. I wasn't failing my courses, but I was not doing as good as I wanted to in my courses (high Bs and As). I started to lose my motivation. I just starting convincing myself that I did not have the brains to be a researcher and took a gap semester to reconsider things, but I ultimately decided that I wanted to give it a second shot.

This semester is going considerably better. I am finding a lot more enjoyment out of it than I did before, and I have a lot more motivation. I have heard that there are some research opportunities for me to next summer as an undergrad, which I'm def going to apply for. Now that im starting to prepare my application I am feeling that doubt is starting to kick in again. Part of me is worried that if I do make it into a research project I will make a fool of myself. I feel like there are so many more people in my year who could do a better job than me. I am surrounded by all of these brilliant people, who I would consider to be so much more capable than me and more deserving of a research position. I sometimes think to myself how could I ever do it. So far, I am just trying to block those thoughts and keep pushing through because despite those thoughts it is still a career I would want to do more than any other.

Has any previous or ongoing Ph.D. students ever felt this way? That is, you feel you are either not good enough or that someone would be more better to do what you are doing. Advice in general from anyone would be great. Thanks for my reading my long ass post

1 Comment
12:51 UTC


Should I study physics or engineering?

Hi. I'm 25 M. I've completed my Arts degree a while back and am working at present. But I'm getting interested in technology by the day. I was thinking of studying electronics engineering. But I am not sure if that'll limit me just to electronics. I always wanted to understand mechanical aspects of tech as well.

So should I pursue a degree in Physics Or something in engineering if my goal is to start a tech company someday?

09:06 UTC


Are Applied Physics and Engineering physics the same at the undergrad level?

07:53 UTC


Help in disproving pseudoscience


Long story short: a friend of mine found this video series and is strongly convinced by its material (we all know someone 🫤)


I was able to make it through the first video, and while the experiment is interesting (if real), the conclusions made by the creator seem bogus and contradictory.

I am hoping someone here could provide me with some good arguments, materials, that I can use to help educate myself and my friend and start digging them out of this hole.

If this is the wrong place for this request, please point me in the right direction. Bear in mind, my only background in this field is AP physics from high school and half of “Cosmos” - Sagan.

04:55 UTC


A good physics textbook for A level physics

Which one is upto date with topics in modern physics like transistors?

03:53 UTC


I am a Physics Undergraduate student and I suck at labs.

Basically what the title says. I often dedicate myself to Physics and Math courses, and I do well on those as well as the theoretical side of Chemistry. However, when it comes to labs, I find them to be extremely boring and I don't see the point in doing them when I can't make myself like them. This has led me to barely pass Chemistry (that should be enough to tell you how much I suck at labs) despite doing well when it comes to theory. Physics lab is alright, but not excellent.

I've always wanted to pursue a career focused on the theoretical side of Physics, but now I am worried that this might end up affecting my chances of getting into a good PhD program and it is also taking a toll on my mental health (like, what kind of scientist am I if I'm barely competent to be in a lab?)

Just wanted to share this because I would like to see if it's still possible for me to pursue my passion based on other people's experiences. Advice is also welcome. Thanks for reading.

03:53 UTC


Physics for Scientists and Engineers 6th edition

I'm reading a physics book and it's Physics for Scientists and Engineers 6th edition and I don't know how to get the section things any help ؟

03:11 UTC


Tips for reading a Physics Textbook?

How can I get the most out of it? Seems pretty easy to just write formulas down.

02:03 UTC


My textbook says that the Lorentz factor (gamma) of an object travelling .5c is 2√3 but I calculated it to be ~1.155. Where did I go wrong?

I'm doing a self-study of special relativity (I study physics as a hobby). My textbook states that the relativistic gamma of an object travelling .5c relative to the rest frame is 2√3. I calculated a different value.

I calculated (v/c)^2 as .5^2 = 0.25 then I calculated gamma as 1/(sqrt(1-.25)). This evaluated to approximately 1.155, which is very different from what my textbook calculated.

My textbook does not show the calculation step-by-step. It just gives the answer without an intermediate steps.

Where did I go wrong with this calculation?

01:22 UTC


Looking for resource recommendations

could someone recommend any in depth textbooks for learning physics that only require single variable calculus? i already know all of the material in appc mech and e&m and the topics i want to learn are fluids, waves/optics, thermodynamics, and modern physics

23:04 UTC


Help I need advise with simulation tools or software/programming using FDTD, and studying metamaterials for my research


Hi so I am an undergradute student and the only thing left for me to do is to finish my thesis, and I'm hoping to get some advise/help with it. So to begin with, my thesis is regarding the study of condensed matter physics specifically about metamaterials; specifically, I am trying to optimize and study the response of the metamaterial when you apply an EM field to it. To be precise, I am interested in studying the respose (specifically, Absorption) of a metamaterial when it interacts with an EM wave in the NIR to Visible regime.

The problem I have is that I need to find a simulation software in order to run my simulations where the metamaterial interacts with an EM wave. I tried studying it and creating my own simulation program by using the FDTD method in Matlab. The book I am using for reference is, The Finite-Difference Time-Domain Method For Electromagnetics with MATLAB Simulations - Atef Z. Elsherbeni, Veysel Demir. But I am having a problem following the book and figuring out how exactly do I simulate an EM field interacting with my metamaterial.

I got desparete and thought to myself I should just look for software that has already been created to do such simulations. So far I have found 2 simulation tools,

1). CST studio suite - I found this being used from one of the research articles I was reading, I looked it up and it seemed perfect indeed. The problem with this is that I need to buy a license, this poses a problem with me because for starters it is not available to be bought in my country and on top of that when I tried looking up the price, I saw that it could reach as high as 3000EUR for students! Which is just too expensive for me as a student!

2). openEMS - This one I found as an open source simulation tool because I figured there was no way in hell I could affort CST studio suite, I was hopeful at first so I looked around and saw that this simulation tool is actually not suitable for my case since its not optimized for frequencies higher than 6.0 GHz.

So I guess now I am just desperate in trying to figure out any other alternatives that I can use to simulate my desired metamaterial. I have been trying to look online for alternatives but all the others I found are either not available anymore or seems sketchy and requires a vast knowledge in programming which I wholeheartedly admit right now I really dont have at all.

So to sum it up, here are my concerns and hopefully someone here could possibly help me or give me some guidance as to what I can do to find an answer to my problem of finding a good simulation tool for the purpose I need:

1). Are there any other simulation software you guys know of that I can look at which suites the kind of simulation I need (metamaterials interacting with light in the NIR to Visible wavelength and being able to extract properties such as the absorption, dispersion, response to both TE and TM polarization, etc.)?

2). Can anyone help me to find other possible and easier to understand sources/materials that I can study in order to implement the FDTD method for creating my own simulation if needed, for use in metamaterials.

3). Any advise regarding studying of metamaterials and how to study it properly?

Sorry for the long post but I really am desperate and I am having a hard time asking for help because as far as I know I am the only one focusing on metamaterials as a topic for my thesis in my schools Physics program and my Thesis adviser (Condensed Matter) is also new to metamaterials so I couldnt go to them for advise as to progression the experimental/computational part of my thesis.

Thank you very much if you have gotten this far, and any advise or tips regarding my questions are greatly appreciated!!

19:30 UTC


Cool math games question (Need 30 characters)

Does anyone know if there is a Math Blaster equivalent for higher end mathematics and physics?

18:17 UTC


Masters' in quantum mechanics

I am doing my physics degree, and I want to pursue a Master’s degree in quantum mechanics. Which universities offer 100% scholarships in this field? How to get a 100% scholarship. If not, what might be the cost of studying abroad? I am from Bangladesh.

17:21 UTC


[Electromagnetics] What does this notation mean?

I am starting Emag and trying to understand some notation.

ρ is charge density. ρl,s,v is the charge density for the respective dimension you're working in.

ρ0 is the charge density within the bounds of a Gaussian surface (I think?) and is a constant.

What does this notation mean:

ρV = ρV,0 cos θ

16:52 UTC


Online Christoffel Symbols Calculator

Hello! I'm an astrophysics graduate turned research software developer, and I recently launched a web application that can calculate christoffel symbols with a bunch of tensors (Riemann, Ricci, Einstein). I made this application with the purpose of helping students, professors, or anyone interested in astrophysics to practice and experiment with different space-time models. I wanted to get people's opinions on the application and maybe tweak a thing or two to make the website more accessible and user-friendly. Any suggestion or feedback is more than welcome!

P.S. I'm working on decreasing the calculation time.

Link: https://christoffel-symbols-calculator.com/

15:39 UTC

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