This blog will provide tutorial articles on various topics in serious science. Curious but cautious readers may be interested in what to expect, so here are a few guidelines:
- I’m aiming at people who want something a bit more substantial than the popular science market, so, yes, there will be some (in some cases, a lot of) equations. The level of math that I assume varies, but in general I assume a good grounding in calculus, algebra, matrices and vectors.
- An index to the posts is provided – see the index links on the right.
- If you’re looking for my notes on a specific chapter of one of the books that I’m working on, try searching for the author’s name, a keyword from the title and the chapter you’re interested in. For example, you can search for Griffiths Quantum “Chapter 4” (including the quotes around “Chapter 4”) to get my notes from Griffiths’s Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, Chapter 4.
- I don’t provide separate downloadable versions (such as PDFs). There are a couple of main reasons for this. First, it would take a lot of time to create these PDFs for the 1600+ posts (I don’t know of any automated way of doing this, since I would need to export each post in the LyX editor, upload the files and provide links to each of them). Second, if I correct errors (which many readers have kindly pointed out), I’d need to update the PDF as well as the web page. Finally, it is possible to download a page (at least in Chrome and Firefox, I don’t know about other browsers) to read off-line. In Chrome or Firefox, right-click anywhere in the text (not in an equation) on the page, select “Save as…” and then in the Save dialog, select “Web Page, Complete” as the “Save as type”. This will download the page and include all the images (the equations are all images generated by WordPress) into an HTML file and sub-folder for the images which you can read off-line using Chrome or Firefox.
- The easiest way to keep up to date with new posts and comments is to subscribe to the RSS feeds or for email updates (see links on lower right).
- Mathematics is written using WordPress’s Latex feature. Latex can also be used in comments. Although Latex can be used to write entire books, it is only the mathematical typesetting features that are used here. For example, the quadratic formula can be written in Latex as . There are many web pages dealing with Latex, but a good introduction is here, where you should look only at the bits on mathematics.
- Pages containing a lot of mathematics were written entirely in Latex using the LyX editor and then converted to WordPress format using the Python program Latex2wp. I’ve made a few modifications to the original Latex2wp program so that it displays equations better.
- If you’re having difficulty reading some of the smaller fonts (e.g. superscripts and subscripts) in the equations and aren’t viewing the page on a touch sensitive screen that supports pinch-zoom, just use your browser’s zoom function to enlarge the page. For Chrome, you can zoom in using [ctrl][shift]+ and zoom out using [ctrl]- . Other browsers no doubt have zoom functions as well – look it up in their documentation or use Google.
- Feynman diagrams were produced by the JaxoDraw program.
- These blogs are a result of my working through several textbooks on various aspects of physics and mathematics. The pages are essentially my own notes that I took when reading these books. A list of the books I’ve used is given on the References page (see the References link in the Index menu above), and the specific section of the book used in each post is referenced at the top of the post. Although this blog tries to provide self-contained summaries of topics (with crosslinks to other pages for background where necessary), there is no substitute for a good, coherent coverage of a complex topic so I’d strongly advise getting hold of these books, or ones like them, if you want to study a subject in depth.
- Finally, if you’re looking for solutions to problems, PLEASE PLEASE make a genuine effort at solving the problem yourself before looking up the answer (on any web site). You’ll learn very little by just reading the solution without trying to solve it yourself first, and if you’re taking a course, you will need to understand the material properly to stand a chance of passing the exams. Remember that in most universities, the exam counts for half or more than half of the credit for the course.
If you have any suggestions for topics to include, or any other comments or criticisms, please do leave a comment to this message.
The photo in the header of physicspages.com was taken by me at Glen Doll, Scotland. I was lucky to be there when the cliché rainbow appeared.