Gas station without pumps

2011 October 23

Physics curriculum discussion

Filed under: home school — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 10:30
Tags: , , , ,

On my way back from the airport Friday evening, I discussed home-schooling physics with the Early Bird driver, Bob.  (This is not as strange as it seems, as he started as a physics major before switching to EE, and he only recently retired as an engineer and started as a limo driver.)

He found it a little strange to start with the relativistic correction to momentum in the first chapter of the physics book, but liked some of the other aspects of the Matter and Interactions approach (at least as I described it).

Albert Einstein

Image via Wikipedia

One recommendation he made that  I think I’ll follow up on at the end of the year as we finish up the Newtonian mechanics is to read the first part of Einstein’s paper on special relativity “Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper” (“On the electrodynamics of moving bodies”).  We’ll have to read it in translation (perhaps this translation), of course, since neither of the two students reads German, and my German is probably no longer good enough to read something that technical.

Bob said that the derivation of the special relativity correction in Einstein’s paper was one of the clearest expositions he’d seen in physics.  He also warned us that the second half of the paper, on electrodynamics was much more difficult, and that we’d need to wait until we’d at least gotten through the electromagnetism part of the textbook.

So I think that we’ll try to squeeze in the first part of Einstein’s special relativity paper between the end of part I of the Matter and Interactions text and the AP exam.  Deriving special relativity will undoubtedly be much more fun than practicing AP exam questions (though we’ll probably do a little of that also, just to make sure that we have learned to do that sort of problem quickly enough).

1 Comment »

  1. […] (see Physics Lab 4: spring constants and Physics Lab 4: spring constants continued).  I also had a good conversation about the physics curriculum with my airport limo […]

    Pingback by Home schooling weeks 5–8 « Gas station without pumps — 2011 October 25 @ 17:59 | Reply

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