The near future 02

— 1. Introduction —

As was seen in this post The initial goal of this blog was to start immediately by studying Quantum Mechanics. But after thinking about it I decided that it was best for us to hold on and first study a little bit of Classical Physics. That way I could introduce a little bit of sophisticated math in a context where people were, hopefully, comfortable with the Physics under study. The point being that when we got to Quantum Mechanics people would have good enough dexterity with the math being used while they might be slightly confused with what as going on physically.

That being said our study of Classical Physics is officialy over with Newtonian Mechanics 06 and our next post will be on Quantum Mechanics.

Be assured that things will be a lot harder from now on and you really need to feel comfortable with everything we’ve seen thus far. So take a real good look at the previous material and if you have any doubts on what we saw on Classical Physics this is the time to ask your questions. Once I get the ball rolling on Quantum Mechanics I’ll really focus on Quantum Mechanics and answers to questions related to posts about Classical Physics might take a while to be answered by me.

The Quantum Gang is about to let loose.

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Back!

Sorry for taking so long to write a new post guys but I had to deal with some things that took my time and energy. Anyway things are better now and next week a new post will appear. I also would like for you to try to solve some of the problems that are pending but I’m guessing most of you will like to that when we we get to sexy quantum mechanics and not now when we are dealing with boring classical mechanics. Anyway if you happen to find that the exercises on quantum mechanics are hard don’t pretend that I didn’t warn you.

It starts tomorrow

I guess that by now you had enough time to learn about \LaTeX and how to blog properly in our joint. Thus tomorrow we’ll get this show on the road with Classical Physics.

Actually it’ll be some light revisions of basic math for us to be able to do Classical Physics, but you get my drift.

In case you missed it

And I really think that you missed it, since the stats analysis for our blog shows that the page on how to blog hasn’t got any hits, here’s a heads up:

Blogging at wordpress.com

The near future

Let me start by saying that this is possibly the last announcement on my part for the near future.

After thinking it about it for a while and taking into account that most people on this blog don’t have a Physics degree and that the target audience for this blog is people that don’t have a Physics degree but would like to know more about Quantum Mechanics I’ve decided to throw in a few posts about Classical Physics.

The idea behind this slight change of plans is that I want to introduce people to sophisticated (not that sophisticated) mathematical machinery in settings that people’s physical intuition works so that when one is on a territory where their physical intuition doesn’t work we at least have the fall back of having a mathematical knowledge of what’s going on.

Thus at one point we understand the Physics and get used to the Math and at the other point we understand the Math and get used to the Physics.

We’ll start with Classical Physics taking a look at Newton’s formalism, Lagrange’s formalism and Hamilton’s formalism, then we’ll take a look at some Electrodynamics and finally some Thermodynamics. In all of this we won’t just be doing theoretical work but we will also be solving exercises so that we can check if we really are understanding the subject matter.

After this is through, and this will take something like two or three months, we’ll take at some historical pivotal moments in Quantum Mechanics, just because it is customary, then we’ll start our study of Quantum Mechanics.

A few more thoughts and advices about LateX

— 1. Introduction —

In the page LateX and Equations I’ve already said some things about LateX and LateX in wordpress.com, but on this post I’ll just talk about a few more issues with LateX and why I think that the contributors of this blog should write their posts in LateX and then use Luca Trevisan’s script to convert the .tex file into .html.

As you can in the page LateX support you can easily insert equations into your post. For instance if you want to insert Pythagoras’ theorem you just type

$atex a^2+b^2=c^2$

With latex instead of atex the result that one gets is {a^2+b^2=c^2}. Notice that if you want to know what code was used to get one particular equation all that you have to do is to hover over the equation.

— 2. LateX —

I won’t bother you with the history of TeX and LateX. All you have to do is that if you want to produce a document with typographic quality right out of your computer LateX is the way to go.

For people that aren’t used to use a text editor in the style of LateX the learning curve might be a little steep, but I believe that if you’re not doing anything too fancy with it LateX can be as easy as using Microsoft type products. Besides if you think that you can learn Quantum Mechanics then you surely can learn how to use LaTeX in a rudimentary way. For this blog you surely won’t nothing very fancy. The only things that I use for blog posts is basically sections and other basic commands. Not much I know, but for me it helps in getting my posts with a clear organization and that makes the job of writing them easier and I like to think that it also makes the job of reading them easier.

A nice primer can be A Simplified Introduction to Latex or even The Not So Short Introduction to LateX.

In order for you to use LateX in your computer you’ll also need a distribution and a text editor. The distribution is what will make LateX work in your computer and the text editor is what you’ll use to write your .tex files

If you’re using Windows my advice is for you to use MikTeX, if you’re using Linux than you already have LateX installed in your computer and if you’re using Mac I can’t really help you, but I’ve heard some good things about MacTeX

As for editor I’ll only recommend Windows editors. I think that the best ones for people that are new to LateX are Texmaker and TeXnicCenter. I personally use Texmaker but maybe TexnicCenter is best for neophytes.

— 2.1. Latex to WordPress —

As was already said Luca Trevisan has created a wonderful script that converts a .tex file into an .html file. For me this solution is just perfect:

  1. I can write a blog post in LateX and that takes a lot less time and is more organized.
  2. Allows me to save my files in a format that is easily printable with a nice formatting.
  3. Writing long mathematical deductions is simplified and less error prone in a natural LateX environment than in wordpress.com editor.

So what you do is that you use your favourite text editor to write your .tex file then you go to your command line and type: python latex2wp.py myfilename.tex and voilà! You get an .html file that is ready to be copied and pasted into the wordpress.com text editor in html mode.

— 2.2. LateX seems to be overkill —

If you’re not ready to use LateX right now you can use the usual wordpress.com editor, but bear in mind that writing your posts will be harder and writing equations in particular will just be nerve wrecking since you’ll be writing a lot of long equations.

Anyway it is your call and to make the job a little easier on yourself I’d advice you to use the Online Latex Equation Editor

— 3. Some example files —

Here are the files that I usually use to write blog posts:

— 4. Final advice —

At one point you’ll have to use very long derivations on this blog, and my advice for you is that you shouldn’t use the begin{array} environment. You have a much better choice with the begin{aligned} environment whose syntax is very much alike with begin{array} but the end result isn’t buggy and looks a lot better.