A Travel Guide for Physics

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by Jakob, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. Jakob Registered Member

    Messages:
    2
    I've started an expository physics wiki that collects great explanations. It's called the “Physics Travel Guide” and available at https://physicstravelguide.com.

    The idea is to

    - curate the best explanations for various levels of understanding (laymen, students, researchers).
    - be a platform where people can publish new explanations and to help students discover them.
    - offer roadmaps for people who want to learn some topic but don't know how.

    The Physics Travel Guide is currently not complete and never will be. However, everyone can help to make the current gaps smaller.

    So, for example:

    - If you've published a great explanation elsewhere, you can simply add a link to it such that others can find it more easily.
    - You could add links and references to your favorite textbooks, papers, blog posts etc.
    - You could publish an explanation that you'd always wanted to share with others.
    - You could edit and improve existing explanations.

    Long story short: I would really appreciate it if you'd check out https://physicstravelguide.com and maybe consider contributing something to it.

    Of course, please let me know if you have any questions or ideas.
     
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  3. Michael 345 New Year 2018 here. Next milestone Birthday Valued Senior Member

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    Sounds good
    Will it have a Woo Woo filter?

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  5. Jakob Registered Member

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    Sry for my naivety, but what's a Woo Woo filter?

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  7. Michael 345 New Year 2018 here. Next milestone Birthday Valued Senior Member

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    Ummm Woo Woo can best be described as "Physics theories which are so far outside of mainstream they appear to be actively running into stupidity and would definitely dumb down your goal of having great explanations"

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  8. QuarkHead Remedial Math Student Valued Senior Member

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    1,524
    I think Michael is referring to the sad (but inescapable) fact that of all the sciences, physics is seen by many to be one in which any theory is as good as any other.

    We see this on this forum all the time.

    If your proposed Wiki is to be a credible resource, and if it is open to contributions and edits from anyone at all, then I strongly suggest you gather a team of editors to eliminate what Michael calls "woo woo".

    By the way - is LaTex supported on your site? Although I am not a physicist, it seems to unlikely to me that any useful physisics can be done without some mathematics
    .
     
  9. sweetpea Registered Senior Member

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  10. QuarkHead Remedial Math Student Valued Senior Member

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    Thank you
     
  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    6,760
    It's an ambitious project, equivalent to writing - at the very least - a comprehensive undergraduate physics textbook. But I wish it well. I had a quick look at quantum theory and thermodynamics and both seem to be pretty skeletal at this stage. Would you consider developing it in conjunction with the author of a textbook? It seems to me it will take forever if you build it all up by accretion.

    Also, as others have indicated, if you do it by voluntary contributions you will have quite an editing task. (This would be less of an issue if you harness an existing textbook for parts of it). You will need to scrutinise submissions for accuracy and quality, for which you may need a team of qualified editors, unless you are a highly qualified physicist yourself. How do you propose to address this issue?
     
  12. Confused2 Registered Senior Member

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    475
    As a potential user I've had a look and I'm really impressed. The Why is it interesting?/Layman/etc ... there's genius at work there
    Two suggestions...
    1/ Open links in a new window
    2/ Include a section for notation - without a guide to notation a lot of physics can be literally just Greek. There's a roadmappy quality in (some) notation - to get to most places you need to pass through Calculus - and so on.

    Love it. Brilliant. Ace.
     
  13. Confused2 Registered Senior Member

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    475
    By coincidence, for I while I've been wanting to make a post (here) asking for a road map to the Standard Model. I haven't done it because I don't have time to follow up any replies - but to have it laid out to follow as and when I have time - that would be wonderful.
     
  14. Confused2 Registered Senior Member

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    I was once a student and I'm well aware of the value of 'Exercises at the end the chapter' - I happened across the examples at the end of the Dimensional Analysis section - so well done that even now I'm tempted to get out a pencil and paper - unless it is already clear (it may well be) - the stunning 'you gotta work through this' type of examples are (IMHO) the ones to pick ... you obviously know what you're doing but it might not be so clear to contributors.
     
  15. QuarkHead Remedial Math Student Valued Senior Member

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    What do your mean by a "road map"?

    If by any chance you mean something like "how do I get to there from here?" then you would need a good grounding in the Lie symmetry groups and their algebras in order to understand the Standard Model.

    As a taster - it is a remarkable fact that the Lie groups and their algebras had been known about for around 100 years before Weinberg offered his model to the Nobel committee - they were there sitting on the mathematician's shelf, waiting for him to choose them.

    Another argument that mathematics is rather important in a physical setting.
     
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  16. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    5,417
    Another, perhaps even remarkabler, fact is that knots and braids have been around for a lot longer than 100 years, and today there are clear mathematical links between them and certain quantum theories (for instance, quantum information processing). Who'da thunk?
     
  17. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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    A quick skim of a few entries there, and a few suggestions:

    1: On this page: https://physicstravelguide.com/theories/classical_theories/special_relativity#tab__student
    Four links are currently given. The first nicely points to the arXiv page not directly to the corresponding pdf article. Good. Many here ignore that etiquette. Hope that is consistently adopted throughout your site.
    Two other links point to payware AJP articles having no direct non-payware alternate address. Not a good policy imo. With textbooks references there is generally no other option - although there are sites dedicated to providing links to free textbooks on nearly any topic.

    2: On this page: https://physicstravelguide.com/advanced_tools/group_theory#tab__layman
    A link is provided to: http://ricardoheras.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Symmetry-in-Physics-Wigners-legacy.pdf
    It's a photocopy not 'live' pdf but is still of copyrighted payware material, as can be determined by going here: http://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/pdf/10.1063/1.881480
    (Click on the pdf download link - and up comes a window....)
    Unless some kind of special permission(s) has been obtained (unlikely since any such links are potentially a free conduit for any number of visitors to your site), I would suggest checking through and removing all such. And replacing with legally free alternatives.
     
  18. Confused2 Registered Senior Member

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    Yes that's it but with the addition of how to get to Lie groups from (say) High School maths. I'm sure it is very annoying for anyone who has spent a lot of time and money on a proper education and is qualified to work on the field of (say) high energy physics but a layman ((like) myself) just wants to be able to 'see' a particle - (SU(1)?). It might be helpful to group laymen and engineers together - both will take a maths book off the shelf to extract the maths they need for a particular purpose but neither has any interest in the maths in and of itself. I have made three attempts to 'learn matrices' and found them utterly dull - I am never going to be competent at maths but give me the particular results required for the standard model and I'll work on it - but so slowly you can't wait for it to happen - it needs to be set out and maybe in two years time I get through it.
    It is a sort of dream of mine (I'm pleased to see it isn't just me) that anyone sitting on a mountainside tending a herd of goats can do more than just be born and die. If they have an internet connection they can have SR, GR and the Standard Model and be as rich as the richest man on the planet. The goats and the mountainside are metaphorical - SR, GR and the Standard Model aren't.
     
  19. Confused2 Registered Senior Member

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    These are smart people "legally free" isn't something to be taken lightly or exploited at will. A note of thanks for the unselfish gift of time and work for the benefit of others might be appropriate.
     
  20. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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    I don't understand your point if there is one there. It's nice to be granted access to material normally only freely available to those at academic institutions or payed up members of the respective journal. Believe it or not I was trying to be helpful in pointing out he is currently likely liable to prosecution. Whether such action would be taken up by a publisher is another matter. Better safe than sorry imo.
    Of course it is a great effort but plenty of praise has already been offered. I chose to add something different - pointing out practical issues as response to his request for input. To which he has yet to respond.
    Quite frankly I'm sick to death of suffering negative reactions after trying to be helpful. The quintessential recent example being this thread:
    http://www.sciforums.com/threads/traveling-toward-a-light-source.160434/
    Sigh.
     
  21. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    Absolutely on the money.
    As things grow small matters overlooked at start up can become a major problem down the road.
    Alex
     
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