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Memory map of classical mechanics study

curious_mind

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Whenever I picked up a high school physics book to refresh mechanics, I always found that topics covered are not in chronology. I always felt that statics should precede dynamics and kinematics. Wanted to know your opinion on this. Besides, wanted to know what are the key concepts to master in mechanics. I always wanted to study mechanics from top level concept rather than linear fashion of study from page 1 to page n. Could you please guide me in this regard
 

wwfeldman

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most high school and lower level college physics books follow the same pattern
motion in 1 dimension, motion in 2 dimensions (projectile motion), forces, work and energy,
momentum, angular motion, torque, etc etc

there are a few that follow a different pattern
Such as "Introductory Physics, A Model Approach" by Robert Karplus University of California Berkley
i have the second edition, 2003

they all claim good pedagogy

generally one picks a book and goes through it page by page
i see no practical way other than page 1 to page n
if you jump around, you will eventually hit on topis that depends on
something discussed earlier that you didn't study yet and will become lost.

kinematics is the study of motion without regard to objects - generally the motion of point objects, just to understand the concepts of motion
statics are things that do not move
dynamics is things that move

major concepts in mechanics:
vectors
forces and Newton's Second Law
energy and conservation of thereof
momentum and conservation thereof
torque and Newton's Second Law for Rotation
angular momentum and conservation thereof
more torque and precession

sandwiched in there, one also wants to study motion as motion
1 dimension (straight line)
2 dimension (projectile and circular)
rotational

my opinion?
select a book you have and start from page 1
write out every example problem in detail - leave no step out
write down your paraphrase of every paragraph
if you find yourself confused, back up a section and do it again

there is no substitute for sitting down and doing the work

as for "I always wanted to study mechanics from top level concept rather than linear fashion of study from page 1 to page n. Could you please guide me in this regard "
i find this odd since wherever you start, you have to go from page n to page m, m > n

maybe you want one of the (so called) physics for poets, like Hewitts book, or the
book by Asimov - these deal in concepts without most of the math
 

curious_mind

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Can I get hierarchical view of mechanics, meaning which comes first and how it gradually navigates to other topics. Could you also please highlight, where multiple concept can mix up
 

wwfeldman

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i do not see physics as a hierarchy

i see it a a connected interrelated whole that i am capable of studying and learning only as pieces
as i learn more about the pieces and more of the pieces, i start seeing connections that i didn't see before

that's why most physics books are ordered the way they are
to instruct in pieces
as you get further along, the interrelationships start becoming apparent

i think the best thing you can do is sit in a chair and put your bran in gear

this is a pretty good website - straight to the point
however noshing takes the place of doing the work

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html
 

BradtheRad

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My major at college started out in mechanical and aerospace engineering. I remember I was never eager to solve statics exercises --the kind that went 'Calculate horizontal and vertical vectors of force applied to a tree by one end of a hammock containing an individual weighing 200 pounds.'

My mind was drawn more to things in motion, interacting, solid, liquid, gas. (Rockets and the space program were big in 1970.)

If I had thought about it, I'd realize the statics sub-discipline is essential to an architect or bridge designer. However that wasn't the path that attracted me. It didn't seem as though my future purpose was there.

Life is short. As students it's natural for us to gravitate toward a field where we can picture our future self. We can't take in everything but we have time to learn a few things.
 

curious_mind

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As a student (in any subject), I feel of getting lost in details without establishing connections. Most of texts are so verbose and many are too numerical. I was primarily interested to know some objectives and goals for studying mechanics . For example, we start of with newtons laws , inclined plane, then 1d and 2d motions and so on. I think there should be some goal, like designing a bicycle (covers all circular motions) and learn kinematics to design one. One can design chair or table and learn statics and so on. I want that type of correlation. I guess it will be difficult and no book would cover the juice. In other words, my learning should lead to, deliverables such a modeling in matlab and solving real world problems.
 

wwfeldman

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i will use a math analogy:

you have to start somewhere

in general, that means you have to start by adding and subtracting
then you get to multiplying and dividing
etc

you cannot start with partial differential equations
you cannot start with calculus of variations
you cannot start with complex variables
you cannot start with functions of a real variable

the curriculum, whether you or I like it or not, is set up to
provide a firm foundation and then give space so that you can
model in matlab, or solve real world problems or .....

the connections will come
doing does lead to understanding

@Brad
you still needed statics
that's how you know the rocket will stand at the lanuchpad
that's how you know the rocket will stay together when the rocket motor is on
even if it wasn't obvious then, it should be clear now.

@curious
hang in there
you'll get what you want
 

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