This week, let’s push a bit beyond the boundaries of standard high school academics and introductory college physics curriculum. Let’s dive into a topic that demonstrates the beauty and occasional counter-intuitive strangeness of modern physics: quantum mechanics!
As a physics tutor and enthusiast, I came across this article recently, and thought that the author raises an interesting point. Essentially, he argues that when physicists invoke the concept of physical measurement to explain the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, one of the most widely known (and most commonly misconstrued) concepts in quantum mechanics, we are doing our audience a disservice. We are glossing over the fact that the uncertainty principle actually represents a more profound truth about the physical world, and, in doing so, we inadvertently encourage misunderstanding.
Welcome back to our series of posts of using our physical intuition in E+M! We’re focusing today on how you can easily intuit the direction of an electric or magnetic field created by some arrangement of charges or magnetic fields. This skill, of looking at a problem and using logic and physical reasoning to figure out with a good deal of certainty what the answer must be, will make your experience with high school or college physics courses easier and is indispensable for taking the physics SAT II or physics GRE.
Welcome back to our series of posts on building your physical intuition for E+M! In this series, we’ve looked at some physical reasoning behind Coulomb’s law, imagining point charges as radiating electric field, and saw that the Biot-Savart law gives an analogous result for magnetic fields. We then took the intuition that we’d developed for point charges and currents, and scaled it up to look at long wires and infinite sheets of charge and current.