Useful skills: mathematics and physics

Basic mathematics and physics: So many things in nature seem to fit precise mathematical patterns. What we now call physics was once called natural philosophy. So rather than being alien and abstract, physics and mathematics are actually an attempt to understand natural phenomenon. You don’t have to be great at mathematics but you should have the fundamentals down. To be sure use paper only to see if you can do it without machines. practice occasionally. Make sure you can do long division on paper and get the right answer. Mathematics and physics still exist even if you don’t understand them, so you would be better served if you did understand. if you find the process hard write down all the information you have at the start attempting to give letters to each dimension and use the correct units. Meters, Kilograms, Litres, Volts, Amps, Ohms…write down all the relevant formulae  you know, and break the problem in to many small pieces.

I read a claim the other day stating the planet was hollow, base on the level of gravity we experience, it turns out the person did the calculation wrong:

g=GM/r²  (correct)  is not the same as g=  GM/r x r   =  GM (incorrect)

Math fail leading to massive misunderstanding of reality.

Not all of it is dry, abstract and boring, Fibonacci numbers and the golden ratio (1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55…) are widely seen in plants and animals if you know where to look.

Here is an example you should be able to do:

Balanced on a balance beam are 2 weights: on the left a 3 kg weight at 0.5 m form the center, and on the right another weight at 2 meters from the center what is its weight?

m1*d1 = m2*d2

Answer is 0.75 kg

Though you should be confident that you got to the right answer.


Get a second hand  high school final year physics book and read it slowly remembering there is no final exam and no pressure. Try to understand one new concept or formula per week . Look for real world examples to reinforce the newly gained knowledge.

If the maths is tripping you up get a mathematics book of a similar or lower level and try to see where you are going wrong. Remember science and maths are universal and work everywhere and the basics don’t change often or by very much. Apart from a bit of occasional practice you don’t really need to keep up with the latest developments.


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