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Mainly Cosmology and Gravitation, some quantum theory

The real task of the mathematical physicist | Posted on by Anuj Varma

What exactly IS a DIFFERENTIAL EQUATION and how does it arise in the first place? Most physics courses start by taking the equation as a GIVEN – not bothering to explain how it comes about in the first place. And … Continue reading

Visualizing differential equations | Posted on by Anuj Varma

Whenever I read a physics article, I try to visualize the quantities that the author is talking about.  I do this by ASSOCIATING the quantity with some REAL thing. Example – if the article talks about FREQUENCY, I think of … Continue reading

Relativity is more math than physics | Posted on by Anuj Varma

Relativity applies to all branches of physics. However, it is more of a geometrical framework – on which the laws of physics can be described. Calling relativity physics would be like calling Euclidean Geometry physics. Accelerating frames and Special Relativity … Continue reading

Some challenging Riddles | Posted on by Anuj Varma

Here are some challenging riddles that I put forth to two different sets of students. One was a group of 4th graders (8-9 year olds) – and the other was a group of 14-16 year olds. I am something no … Continue reading

A small bag is lying on the floor.  The room is big – with high ceilings. Yet, no one can jump over the bag. Why? I posed this to several grown-ups. No one got it. Next, I posed it to … Continue reading

Principles versus Laws | Posted on by Anuj Varma

People tend to use ‘laws’ interchangeably with ‘principles’. In reality, there is an important difference between the two – as described in this short post. Physics A law encompasses a specific area – e.g. mechanics is fully described by Newton’s … Continue reading

Consider the 24 presidents (and their corresponding 24 terms in office) in the 19th century. A student was asked to match the president to his term. Not knowing the answers, the student resorted to guessing. He had two possible strategies … Continue reading

Day 1 – Pre-Assessment Areas of interest, individualized personal objectives Five hardest questions in different areas of calculus Informal class discussion Day 2 – Graphing General equation of a line, Physical meaning of slope and y-intercept Parallel and Perpendicular lines … Continue reading

On the Ether | Posted on by Anuj Varma

One of the things I never fully grasped in college was the ‘Michelson Morley’ experiment. I understood what it was for (proving the constancy of the speed of light) – and understood that it proved that very well – but … Continue reading

A probability problem – will these two friends ever meet? | Posted on by Anuj Varma

Two friends decide to meet at a definite place between 9 AM and 10 AM. The first to arrive waits for his friend for 15 minutes and then leaves. If each of them arrives at an arbitrary moment between 9 … Continue reading