You are on page 1of 41

Introduction to Algebra Variables Expressions Equations Solution of an equation Simplifying equations Combining like terms Simplifying with addition

and subtraction Simplifying by multiplication Simplifying by division Word problems as equations Sequences Math Contests School League Competitions Contest Problem Books

A variable is a symbol that represents a number. Usually we use letters such as n, t, or x for variables. For example, we might say that s stands for the side-length of a square. We now treat s as if it were a number we could use. The perimeter of the square is given by 4 s. The area of the square is given by s s. When working with variables, it can be helpful to use a letter that will remind you of what the variable stands for: let n be the number of people in a movie theater; let t be the time it takes to travel somewhere; let d be the distance from my house to the park.

Expressions :An expression is a mathematical term or a sum or difference of mathematical terms that may use numbers, variables, or both.

Example: The following are examples of expressions: 2x 3+7 2y+5 2 + 6 (4 - 2) z + 3 (8 - z) Example: Roland weighs 70 kilograms, and Mark weighs k kilograms. Write an expression for their combined weight. The combined weight in kilograms of these two people is the sum of their weights, which is 70 + k. Example:

A car travels down the freeway at 55 kilometers per hour. Write an expression for the distance the car will have traveled after h hours. Distance equals rate times time, so the distance traveled is equal to 55 h..

There are 2000 liters of water in a swimming pool. Water is filling the pool at the rate of 100 liters per minute. Write an expression for the amount of water, in liters, in the swimming pool after m minutes. The amount of water added to the pool after m minutes will be 100 liters per minute times m, or 100 m. Since we started with 2000 liters of water in the pool, we add this to the amount of water added to the pool to get the expression 100 m + 2000.

To evaluate an expression at some number means we replace a variable in an expression with the number, and simplify the expression. Example: Evaluate the expression 4 z + 12 when z = 15. We replace each occurrence of z with the number 15, and simplify using the usual rules: parentheses first, then exponents, multiplication and division, then addition and subtraction. 4 z + 12 becomes 4 15 + 12 = 60 + 12 = 72 Example: Evaluate the expression (1 + z) 2 + 12 3 - z when z = 4. We replace each occurrence of z with the number 4, and simplify using the usual rules: parentheses first, then exponents, multiplication and division, then addition and subtraction.

(1 + z) 2 + 12 3 - z becomes (1 + 4) 2 + 12 3 - 4 = 5 2 + 12 3 - 4 = 10 + 4 - 4 = 10.

An equation is a statement that two numbers or expressions are equal. Equations are useful for relating variables and numbers. Many word problems can easily be written down as equations with a little practice. Many simple rules exist for simplifying equations. Example: The following are examples of equations: 2=2 17 = 2 + 15 x=7 7=x t+3=8 3 n +12 = 100 w + 4 = 12 - w y - 1 - 2 - 9.3 = 34 3 (d + 4) - 11 = 321 - 23 Example: Translate the following word problem into an equation: My age in years y plus 20 is equal to four times my age, minus 10. The first expression stands for "my age in years plus 20", which is y + 20.

This is equal to the second expression for "four times my age, minus 10", which is 4 y - 10. Setting these two expressions equal to one another gives us the equation: y + 20 = 4 y - 10 Solution of an Equation When an equation has a variable, the solution to the equation is the number that makes the equation true when we replace the variable with its value. Example: We say y = 3 is a solution to the equation 4 y + 7 = 19, for replacing each occurrence of y with 3 gives us 4 3 + 7 = 19 ==> 12 + 7 = 19 ==> 19 = 19 which is true. Examples: x = 100 is a solution to the equation x 2 - 40 = 10 z = 12 is a solution to the equation 5 (z - 6) = 30 Counterexample: y = 10 is NOT a solution to the equation 4 y + 7 = 19. When we replace each y with 10, we get 4 10 + 7 = 19 ==> 40 + 7 = 19 ==> 47 = 19 not true! Counterexamples: x = 200 is NOT a solution to the equation x 2 - 40 = 10 z = 20 is NOT a solution to the equation 5 (z - 6) = 30

Simplifying Equations
To find a solution for an equation, we can use the basic rules of simplifying equations. These are as follows: 1) You may evaluate any parentheses, exponents, multiplications, divisions, additions, and subtractions in the usual order of operations. When evaluating expressions, be careful to use the associative and distributive properties properly. 2) You may combine like terms. This means adding or subtracting variables of the same kind. The expression 2x + 4x simplifies to 6x. The expression 13 - 7 + 3 simplifies to 9. 3) You may add any value to both sides of the equation. 4) You may subtract any value from both sides of the equation. This is best done by adding a negative value to each side of the equation. 5) You may multiply both sides of the equation by any number except 0. 6) You may divide both sides of the equation by any number except 0. Hint: Since subtracting any number is the same as adding its negative, it can be helpful to replace subtractions with additions of a negative number. Example: This problem illustrates grouping like terms and dealing with subtraction in an equation. Solve x - 12 + 20 = 37. Replacing the -12 with a +(-12), we get x + (-12) + 20 = 37. Since addition is associative, the two like terms (the integers) may be combined. (12) + 20 = 8 The left side of the equation becomes

x + 8 = 37. Now we may subtract 8 from each side of the equation, (we will actually add a -8 to each side). x + 8 + (-8) = 37 + (-8) x + 0 = 29 x = 29 We can check this solution in the original equation: 29 - 12 + 20 = 37x + 0 = 29 17 + 20 = 37 37 = 37 so our solution is correct. Example: This problem illustrates the proper use of the distributive property. Solve 2 (x + 1 + 4) = 20. Grouping like terms in the parentheses, the left side of the equation becomes 2 (x + 1 + 4) ==> 2 (x + 5). Using the distributive property, 2 (x + 5) ==> 2 x + 2 5. Carrying out multiplications, 2 x + 2 5 ==> to 2x + 10. The equation now becomes 2x + 10 = 20. Subtracting a 10 (adding a -10) to each side gives us 2x + 10 + (-10) = 20 + (-10) ==>

2x + (10 + (-10)) = 20 - 10 ==> 2x + 0 = 10 ==> 2x = 10. Since the x is multiplied by 2, we divide both sides by 2 to solve for x: 2x = 10 ==> 2x 2 = 10 2 ==> (2x)/2 = 5 ==> x = 5. We can check this solution in the original equation: 2 (5 + 1 + 4) = 20 ==> 2 10 = 20 ==> 20 = 20 so our solution is correct. Combining like terms One of the most common ways to simplify an expression is to combine like terms. Numeric terms may be combined, and any terms with the same variable part may be combined. Example: Consider the expression 2 + 7x + 12 - 3x - 5. The numeric like terms are the numbers 2, 12, and 5. The variable like terms are 7x and 3x. Combining the numeric like terms, we have 2 + 12 - 5 = 14 - 5 = 9. Combining the variable like terms, we have 7x - 3x = 4x, so the expression 2 + 7x + 12 - 3x - 5 simplifies to 9 + 4x. Simplifying with addition and subtraction We can use addition and subtraction to get all the terms with variables on one side of an equation, and all the numeric terms on the other.

The equations 3x = 17, 21 = y, and z/12 = 24 each have a variable term on one side of the = sign, and a number on the other. The equations x + 3 = 12, 21 = 30 - y, and (z + 2) 4 = 10 do not. We usually do this after simplifying each side using the distributive rules, eliminating parentheses, and combining like terms. Since addition is associative, it can be helpful to add a negative number to each side instead of subtracting to avoid mistakes. Examples: For the equation 3x + 4 = 12, we can isolate the variable term on the left by subtracting a 4 from both sides: 3x + 4 - 4 = 12 - 4 ==> 3x = 8. For the equation 7y - 200 = 10, subtracting the 200 on the left side is the same as adding a -200: 7y + (-200) = 10. If we add 200 to both sides of the equation, the 200 and -200 will cancel each other: 7y + (-200) + 200 = 10 + 200 ==> 7y = 210. For the equation 8 = 20 - z, we can add z to both sides to get 8 + z = 20 - z + z ==> 8 + z = 20. Now subtracting 8 from both sides, 8 + z - 8 = 20 - 8 ==> z = 12, so we get a solution for z. Simplfying by multiplication

When solving for a variable, we want to get a solution like x = 3 or z = 2001. When a variable is divided by some number, we can use multiplication on both sides to solve for the variable. Example: Solve for x in the equation x 12 = 5. Since the x on the left side is being divided by 12, the equation is the same as x 1/12 = 5. Multiplying both sides by 12 will cancel the 1/12 on the left side: x 1/12 12 = 5 12 ==> x 1 = 60 ==> x = 60. Simplifying by division When solving for a variable, we want to get a solution like x = 3 or z = 2001. When a variable is multiplied by some number, we can use division on both sides to solve for the variable. Example: Solve for x in the equation 7x = 133. Since the x on the left side is being multiplied by 7, we can divide both sides by 7 to solve for x: 7x 7 = 133 7 ==> (7x)/7 = 133 7 ==> x/1 = 19 ==> x = 19. Note that dividing by 7 is the same as multiplying both sides by 1/7. Word problems as equations

When converting word problems to equations, certain "key" words tell you what kind of operations to use: addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division. The table below shows some common phrases and the operation to use. Word Operation sum addition Example The sum of my age and 10 equals 27. As an equation y + 10 = 27

difference subtraction The difference between my age and my younger sister's age, who is 11 years old, is 5 years. y - 11 = 5 product multiplication The product of my age and 14 is 168. y 14 = 168 3 y = 60 y - 7 = 32

times multiplication less than ,subtraction total addition = 22.43 more than

Three times my age is 60.

Seven less than my age equals 32.

The total of my pocket change and 20 dollars is $22.43. y + 20 Eleven more than my age equals 43. 11 + y = 43


Sequences A sequence is a list of items. We can specify any item in the list by its place in the list: first, second, third, fourth, and so on. Many useful lists have patterns so we know what items occur in each place in the list. There are 2 kinds of sequences. A finite sequence is a list made up of a finite number of items. An infinite sequence is a list that continues without end.

Examples: The following are examples of finite sequences.

The sequence 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19 is the sequence of the first 10 odd numbers.

The sequence a, e, i, o, u, is the sequence of vowels in the alphabet.

The sequence m, m, m, m, m, m is the sequence of 6 m's.

The sequence 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0 is the sequence of 12 alternating 1's and 0's.

The sequence 1, 2, 3, 4, ..., 9998, 9999, 10000 is the sequence of the first ten thousand integers.

The sequence 0, 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49 is the sequence of the squares of the first 8 whole numbers.


The following are examples of infinite sequences.

The sequence 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, ... is the sequence of even whole numbers. The 100th place in this sequence is the number 200.

The sequence a, b, c, a, b, c, a, b, c, a, b, ... is the sequence of the letters a, b, c, repeating in this pattern forever.

The 100th place in this sequence is the letter a. The 300th place in this sequence is the letter c.

The sequence -1, 2, -3, 4, -5, 6, -7, 8, -9, ... is the sequence of integers with alternating signs. The 10th place in this sequence is 10. The 100th place in this sequence is 100. The 101st place in this sequence is -101.

The sequence 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, ... is a sequence of 1's separated by 1 zero, then 2 zeros, then 3 zeros, and so on. The 100th place in this sequence is a 0. The 105th place in this sequence is a 1.

The sequence 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, 21, 28, 36, 45, ... is the sequence of places the 1 occurs in the sequence of 1's and 0's above! If this sequence seems strange, note the difference between pairs of numbers next to one another:



10 - 6 = 4

15 - 10 = 5

21 - 15 = 6

28 - 21 = 7

Checking these differences makes the pattern clearer.

1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ... is the sequence where every item in the list is the number 1.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, ... is the sequence of counting numbers. Each item in the list is its place number in the list.

a, b, a, b, a, b, a, b, ... is the sequence of alternating letters a and b. The a's occur in odd-numbered places, and the b's occur in the even-numbered places.

1/1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, 1/7, ... is the sequence of reciprocals of the whole numbers.

1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, 64, 81, ... is the sequence of squares of the whole numbers.

a, e, i, o, u, a, e, i, o, u, a, e, ... is the repeating sequence of vowels in the alphabet.

4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, ... is the sequence of numbers beginning with the number 4, and each number in the list is 3 more than the number before it.

Visit the Math League

1997-2006 by Math League Press This page may not be mirrored or reproduced on any other internet site. Last updated August 2006 by Steve Conrad and Dan Flegler. HubPages

explore sign in join now

flag Explore Education and Science (66,958) Physics (868)

by AliciaC 431 Followers How to Pass a Physics Exam See all 3 photos A calculator and a pencil: essential tools for passing a physics exam Source: AliciaC Ads by Google IIT JAM 2013, 2014 & 2015 JAM 2012 -128 ranks; 32 in top 100; Get Free IIT JAM Solved Mock Paper. Class 11, 12 & IIT Prep Self Study Course From IIT Alumni Online Coaching & Video Lectures

IIT-JEE, Preparation is Effective-Better-Easy-Affordable With Exponent Education VDOs & Test

Writing a physics exam doesnt have to be a daunting experience! Im a high school science teacher and I've taught physics, chemistry and biology for many years. Each year I help senior students prepare for their graduation exams. Ive found that my students do well in their physics exams If they prepare for the examination throughout their physics course and follow a few important strategies when theyre actually writing the exam.

The students who do best in physics use an organized filing system for their assignments and study materials, do all their assigned work, ask me lots of questions to make sure that they understand everything, take notes even when theyre not asked to, study regularly and solve many practice problems, including ones that I assign, ones that I recommend and ones that they find themselves. When they answer questions on exams they make sure that they work carefully, show their reasoning clearly when solving problems and check their work before handing in the exam. Usually the students who get the best exam marks are the ones who don't leave the exam room early but stay in the room until they are required to hand in their exams. Use an Agenda or Planner

Organize Your Information, Time and Study Area

Your physics exam will last for just a few hours on one particular day, but your preparation for the exam should begin when youre buying your school supplies before you attend your first physics class.

There are a number of decisions that you need to make before purchasing school supplies. Where are you going to store your notes, the handouts that your teacher gives you, your assignments, your lab reports, your practice problems and your practice exam questions? Are these all going into the same binder, or will it be more efficient to separate them into more than one binder or notebook? Do you need dividers? Where will you store miscellaneous information like useful web addresses, names of other resources that your teacher recommends, and test and exam hints? Do you have an agenda or planner to record important dates, facts, a to-do list and your study schedule? (You are going to make a study schedule, arent you?!)

You also need to create a neat and organized study area at home, with adequate lighting and no distractions. Your desk or table needs to have enough space for your writing supplies and calculator, your open textbook, your notebook, binder or paper, and your agenda and study schedule. Use a Computer as a Learning Tool

A computer can be a very useful learning resource. In addition, some people use an agenda on their computer or iPod and create their study schedule on one on these devices too. Back up your data if you do this, and only turn on the computer or iPod while you're studying if you're self disciplined. Its very easy to get distracted by the entertainment that computers offer!

Searching for physics information and practice problems on the Internet is an excellent idea, but do this outside of your scheduled study time. You'll find that there are many physics resources online, including facts, explanations, videos, experiment demonstrations, podcasts, example problems and practice problems. Bookmark useful sites when you find them and organize your bookmarks folder on your computer so that you can quickly visit a specific site again. If you don't have a computer at home, make sure that you look at physics resources on a school or public library computer. Magnetism is a topic in many physics courses. In this photo a magnet is attracting iron filings. Source: Oguraclutch, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons Work Effectively During Your Physics Course

Even if you use good exam-writing strategies during your physics examination youre unlikely to get a good result if you havent gathered information during the physics course and studied effectively. Here are some tips for gathering information. Attend all of your physics classes. If you have to miss a class due to unavoidable circumstances, get the information or assignment that you missed from your teacher. Complete all your assignments during the course. When your receive your marked assignments, correct any errors that you made. If you don't understand something, ask your teacher or another knowledgeable person for help, or check a reference source. Copy example problems that are shown on the blackboard, white board or overhead projector.

Make notes about the information that your teacher presents. You won't be able to write down everything that the teacher says or shows, so use point form and abbreviations, writing down just the key points. If a teacher is showing you a web page write down the address so that you can visit the site later. Check your notes on the same day as the lecture, filling in any gaps, clarifying them and rewriting them. File all the information that you collect in the appropriate place and keep it organized in order to make studying efficient. Become very familiar with how to use your calculator, as well as your backup calculator if you are allowed to take it into the exam room. Don't simply copy answers from your calculator. Always take a quick moment to decide if the answer seems reasonable. If it's a ridiculous answer then you've know that either you've used the calculator incorrectly or the calculator is damaged.

Teach and Learn!

Use Good Study Techniques Study frequently for short periods instead of occasionally for long periods. Create and follow a study schedule. Most physics exams contain a lot of word problems. It's therefore very important to do active studying in physics. You need to solve problems, then check an answer key to see what your errors are, if any, and correct your solutions. Simply reading through problem solutions (passive studying) is useful, but active studying is essential if you want to do well on your physics exam. Collect practice problems to solve. Look in your textbook for problems, search on the Internet and ask your teacher where you can get extra problems. Don't forget to solve complex problems as well as easy ones. Working with harder problems is excellent training for your brain and gives you confidence that you can deal with whatever problems appear on the real exam. If a practice exam contains multiple choice questions, don't simply circle the correct answers but write down the solution method or relevant facts beside the questions so that the exam becomes a study resource. If you are able to get copies of previous exams, once you have studied all the material write mock exams with the same time limit as the real exam.

There will be some facts to memorize even in a problem-solving course. Make notes about these facts based upon what you learn in class or what you read in your textbook, and study these notes. Active studying is more helpful than passive studying when learning factual information. Try making up questions about the information in your notes and then answering the questions without looking at the notes. In addition, try explaining some information that you have just read without looking at the information. Talk aloud even if you are on your own.

Solving Physics Word Problems

More Study Skills Add group study time with your friends to your individual study time. Helping each other solve physics problems is a great learning strategy! However, in order for group study to be successful you need to make sure that the group works on physics problems instead of socializing. Try teaching a topic to your friends. Teaching something is another great way to learn. If your school offers academic help time, tutorial classes or homework classes, make sure you attend these events if you need help with physics. Create diagrams to help you study. For example, draw flow charts that show the sequence of events in solving specific types of problems. Practice drawing graphs that show relationships. Draw sketches to represent facts, laws and rules. If you will be given a formula sheet on your exam, make sure that you can use each formula not only as it's written on the sheet but also in its rearranged forms. Sometimes a teacher may let you bring one sheet of information into a physics exam. Start preparing material for this sheet well in advance of the exam date so that it can be changed and fine-tuned before you enter the exam room. Study this sheet even though you're allowed to have it with you during the exam.

More Hints For Solving Word Problems

Prepare for Your Physics Exam

Pack what you will need during the exam (such as writing utensils, an eraser, a ruler, a geometry set and a calculator) the night before the exam. Make sure that your calculator is in good working order and has a fresh battery if it needs one, or take a spare battery with you. Put out the comfortable clothes and shoes that youll wear the next day. Pack other things that you might need during the exam and are allowed to bring into the exam room, such as a water bottle.

Try to get a good night's sleep before the exam and for several nights leading up to the exam. Don't get up very early on the exam day to cram. You will most likely be tired and mentally confused when you enter the exam room if you do this.

Dont try a new food or drink right before the exam. Eat your usual breakfast or lunch, but dont eat or drink anything that you know will cause problems while you are writing the exam. For example, dont eat or drink anything that will make you want to visit the washroom frequently.

On the day of the exam make sure that you leave home early in case you face a traffic jam or an unforeseen transportation problem. You need to arrive at school with enough time to go the washroom and gather your thoughts before the exam starts. Preparing for a Multiple Choice Exam

Taking Multiple Choice Exams

Physics Practice Problems Physics Exam Questions and Keys Multiple Choice Questions College Board Physics B College Board Physics C

Writing the Physics Exam Make sure that you only take approved electronic devices into the exam room. Don't forget to leave your cell phone or iPod outside the room, especially if you're used to carrying it around in a pocket!

Read the exam instructions carefully before starting the examination so that you don't make procedural errors. This will also give you time to organize your thoughts and calm you down if you're nervous. Answer the questions that you can do first. If you're spending a long time trying to answer one particular question, don't get discouraged. Leave the question and come back to it later after you have completed the rest of the exam. By then you may have realized how to answer the question that seemed difficult when you first read it. Work carefully as you answer the exam questions, but keep track of the time so that you know when you're taking too long to complete a section of the exam. Some exams give suggested time limits for each section. Be aware of these limits. Try to answer multiple choice questions in your mind before looking at the list of possible answers, and then choose the answer from the list that best matches yours. If you're having trouble deciding on the correct answer to a multiple choice question, try eliminating the wrong answers. Remember the basic steps for solving word problems: draw a diagram to represent the situation whenever possible; label the diagram with the data given in the problem, or list the data if you haven't drawn a diagram; decide what information you are being asked to find; choose an appropriate formula or formulas to find the required information based on the given data; substitute the data in the formula or formulas; and solve for the required information. For word problems that require a written response, show all your calculation steps clearly and in the order in which they're performed so that the marker can follow your reasoning. This will aid you in several ways: it will help you obtain the maximum number of marks for the problem if you complete the answer; it will increase the likelihood that you will get at least partial marks for the problem if you get stuck half way through the answer; and writing the start of the solution may help you to think of the rest of the solution! If you are given blank paper to use for rough work, make use of it. If you can't think of how to solve a problem, "play" with data, formulas and facts, or use brainstorming techniques. These steps may help you to think of a solution for the problem.

X-rays are studied in many physics courses. This image shows polydactyly, a condition in which a person has extra fingers or toes. Source: Drgnu23, CC BY-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons More Tips For Writing Physics Exams

Write in all measurement units, not only in the final answer but in the calculations steps too. You will likely lose marks if you don't do this, plus if you write in all the units you are more likely to notice when you have to do a unit conversion in order to get the correct answer. Make sure that you use significant figures if they are required. Draw graphs neatly, using your ruler for the axes, and don't forget to label the axes and state the measurement scale that you are using. Never leave blank spaces on your answer sheet. If time is running out and you have no idea what the correct answer for a multiple choice question is, circle any of the answers. If there are four possible answers you have a 25% chance of being right! If you can eliminate the obviously wrong answers your chance of choosing the right answer increases. If you can't solve a word problem, list the data, draw a graph or a diagram that you think might be relevant or write a formula or fact that you think might be related to the problem. You might get partial marks for your answer. Check all your answers before you hand in your exam. When you're writing the exam, make a note beside problems that you leave out so that you know you have to come back to them at the end. If you have to answer multiple choice questions by shading in circles on a computer scan sheet, make sure that you've marked the circles that correspond with your intended answers. If you discover that you've made an error in a multiple choice question, change the answer very clearly, especially if the answer is written on a computer scan sheet. Erase any stray marks on the answer sheet. If you're not completely certain about how to answer a multiple choice question, it's probably a good idea to go with the first answer that you chose instead of second guessing yourself.

A physics exam will be much less intimidating if you prepare for it throughout the course instead of thinking about it shortly before the exam date! Working conscientiously and efficiently from the start of the course will give you the best possible chance of understanding your physics curriculum and having a good exam experience. While many people feel a little tense when they start an exam, if you've prepared properly your nervousness should soon fade and you will be able to not only pass your physics exam but also get a good mark to reward your efforts throughout the course.

This Hub was last updated on May 13, 2012

Useful {2} Funny Awesome {3} Beautiful Interesting {3} Ads by Google Solutions Physics Solved Question Papers, Self Asessment with Expert Help!. Online Self Study Tools Need 9th-12th Grade Advanced Course Materials? Free Access. Join Today! NATA 2012 Examination NATA Study material + Sample papers + NATA Online Coaching. Join now previous How to Study for Biology next An Oobleck Recipe and Fun Experiments With a...

Discover What Other People Are Reading What To Do With A Coincidence Why is quantum physics so hard to understand? Science: What is Physics? Object Faster Than Speed of Light Physical Education Activities And Games for Schools Favorite Physical Education Activities, Games and PE Warm ups

Like This Hub?

Over 50 Million people discover HubPages every month.

HubPages about us blog advertise faq link to this page copyright

Copyright 2012 HubPages Inc. and respective owners. All rights reserved.

Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners.

HubPages is a registered Service Mark of HubPages, Inc.

terms of use privacy policy (4.81 sec) HubPages Business


explore sign in join now

flag Explore Education and Science (66,958) Physics (868)

by dipless 230 Followers Science: What is Physics? Ads by Google

What is Physics: By definition

Firstly let's take a look at the definitions of physics; states: The branch of science concerned with the properties of matter and energy and the relationships between them. It is based on mathematics and traditionally includes mechanics, optics, electricity and magnetism, acoustics, and heat. Modern physics, based on quantum theory, includes atomic, nuclear, particle, and solid-state studies. It can also embrace applied fields such as geophysics and meteorology Physical properties of behaviour: the physics of the electron Archaic natural science or natural philosophy

If we break down from the definition and look at it in a broader sense. It is a study and analysis of nature, which is done in order to work out how the universe behaves.

What is physics? See all 3 photos A chalkboard with physics equations and doodles. What is Physics: A History

We will now look at the history of physics in broad strokes. It is one of the oldest scientific disciplines. It was first formally studied in archaic Greece between 650BC and 480BC, during this time it was known as natural philosophy. It was during the first part of the 5th Century that the theory of atomisation was developed, which talked about everything being made of inadvisable elements called 'atoms'.

Aristotle was the first credited with calling the study of natural laws 'physics'. It developed into a very contentious subject and often contradicted the church which at the time, were seen as the leading scholars. A famous example of this is the heliocentric theory which put the Sun at the centre of the solar system and not the Earth which at the time was seen as close to blasphemy.

The 17th Century saw a major advancement with many famous names such as Francis Bacon, William Gilbert, Robert Hooke and of course Galileo Galilei, who was christened by Stephen Hawkins the father of modern physics. This was a time that mathematical descriptive schemes were adopted for such fields, such as mechanics and astronomy which could actually model universally valid characterizations of motion

Galileo Sun Centred model

Isaac Newton One of the most famous physicists of all time! Source:

From the late 17th into the early 18th century a famous Cambridge university physicist, Isaac Newton published the iconic Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy which described the motion with

beautiful mathematical proofs. Later in the 18th century when Newtons work was applied to rotational mechanics it became known as 'classical physics.

Moving into the later 18th and early 19th Century we reach an era where experimental physics took a front foot looking at prisms, electricity and f rational mechanics began to be applied to experimental phenomena. As we move further into the 19th century branches of physics including

Thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and electromagnetic theory were developed,it was a change of rapid developments and challenges on classical ideas, mathematical analysis of many phenomenon were applied the most famous of which the introduction of a new concept of the 'field' and the publication of Maxwells 1873 Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism.

From here we move into modern physics and famous scientists which most of the world have heard of including Einstein who is credited with the special and general theories of relativity which fixed the anomalies in Newtons classical physics models. Also the branches of quantum physics have been and continue to be developed. Famous Physicists Physicist Aristotle Archimedes BC384322 BC287212 Date Biggest Contribution

Physicae Auscultationes On Floating Bodies

Alhazen 9651040 Copernicus

Book of Optics 1543 On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres


Galilei 15641642 Newton16431727 Maxwell

632 Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy 1873 Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism


Einstein 18791955

1905 On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies

These are just some of the famous physicists through time. There are so many moreI could have mentioned including Bohr, Hawkins, Heisenburg What is Quantum Physics

It is the physics of the very small, what happens on atomic and smaller scales. Fact is stranger than fiction! Source: What is Physics today?

At the present time the main areas of development are quantum physics which is the physics of the very small, you can read about quantum physics in my series of hubs on the subject. Currently we are looking at string theory, M-brane theory many of which only work if we are in a universe of 10 or 11 dimensions.

There is also a very active area in GUT (grand unified theory) which is trying to bring together the theories of quantum mechanics and relativity this is a very hotly anticipated development as it will potentially give us a more complete understanding of nature and the universe.

Physics is a fascinating subject and one which I encourage you to read up on. Often the reality is a lot stranger than you can imagine. Can you imagine a cat which is both dead and alive, you being able to put your hand straight through a table and speeds which make the Bugatti veyron look like a snail. Below are some links where you can find out much more about the wonderful world of physics. Further information | Home Your guide to what is physics on the web. is the place to be if you have a burning physics question, or if you just want to browse articles and interactive features about physics for A-level, AS-level and GCSE Physics | is a unique new online service that which provides a searchable library of 1500 great interactive resources for teaching physics. homepage - news, views and information for the global physics community from Institute of Physics Publishing

This Hub was last updated on June 12, 2012

Useful {3} Funny Awesome Beautiful Interesting {1} Ads by Google The Theory of Everything Some physicists think the mind is at the heart of modern physics. Pendant+Bracelet+NanoCard Scalar Energy Pendant Rs60+MstRs200 Bracelet Rs300,Rs15Card,09300310671 India's Top Engg College Ranked first for Placements. Faculty credited with 150 patents Discover What Other People Are Reading Quantum Physics - Erwin Schrodinger and his equation Quantum Physics - The Double Slit Experiment (wave - particle duality) Quantum Physics - Werner Heisenberg: Uncertainty Principle Quantum Physics - Niels Bohr atomic theory Quantum Physics - Subatomic particles Quantum Physics

Follow (4) Comments 8 comments Go to last comment

Ibrahim Hany 12 days ago from Alexandria, Egypt

That was useful, but how can a cat be dead and alive, I did not get that part?

dipless 12 days ago from Manchester Hub Author

Sorry itw as a bit abstract, I was referring to Schrodingers famous thought experiment 'Schrodingers Cat'. You can see on my hub

I may rework that section though.

Ibrahim Hany 12 days ago from Alexandria, Egypt

As far as I understood it, it is just an equations-trick!

But it's amazing how a simple sentence that you put at the end of your article "Can you imagine a cat which is both dead and alive", made me know an interesting "thought" experiment as Schrodinger's cat!

Good job! :)

Nell Rose 12 days ago Level 8 Commenter

Good old Schrodinger! lol! I love physics, I try and follow the latest news as much as I can. I have always loved the 'small' compared to my brother who loves the 'big' as in Space and the Universe, really interesting. I must admit to a smile when I read the title, it reminded me of that classic sketch with sheldon (big bang) when he was trying to teach Penny about physics, 'it was a warm summers evening in ancient greece'! lol!

Karmallama 12 days ago from minneapolis, minnesota Level 1 Commenter

very fascinating! My favorite form of physics is quantum but I suppose that is a whole other ball game. Again, Great job

dipless 12 days ago from Manchester Hub Author

@Nell indeed good old Schrodinger, him and his crazy thoughts :p I too am rather partial to the quantum world as you have probably noted from my other hubs. Haha oh yeah never made that connection, but I have now, thanks for commenting.

@karmallama thanks for your comments, indeed it is mine too, I love it when reality is stranger than fiction :)

Green Lotus 11 days ago Level 6 Commenter

I'm fascinated by Quantum Physics and seem to get my head around it quicker than I ever did with vanilla Physics back when I was in school!

Schrodinger's cat is a bit of a quandary until you accept the fact (?) that nothing really exists until we observe it. Mind blowing.

dipless 11 days ago from Manchester Hub Author

It is pretty mind blowing, I think often when you are e a kid they try and spoon feed you information and as you get older you develop an affinity with things you find interesting which makes the learning and understanding process a lot easier. :)

Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages account.

Post Comment

No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your Hubs or other sites.

Like This Hub?

Over 50 Million people discover HubPages every month.


about us blog advertise faq link to this page copyright

Copyright 2012 HubPages Inc. and respective owners. All rights reserved.

Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners.

HubPages is a registered Service Mark of HubPages, Inc.

terms of use privacy policy (1.28 sec) HubPages Business

Home Lessons Calculators




Algebra Tutors

near New York, NY

Timothy M.

New York, NY $70/hr

Leonard T.

New York, NY $45/hr

Powered by WyzAnt Tutors

Basics of Algebra Algebra is a division of mathematics designed to help solve certain types of problems quicker and easier. Algebra is based on the concept of unknown values called variables, unlike arithmetic which is based entirely on known number values. This lesson introduces an important algebraic concept known as the Equation. The idea is that an equation represents a scale such as the one shown on the right. Instead of keeping the scale balanced with weights, numbers, or constants are used. These numbers are called constants because they constantly have the same value. For example the number 47 always represents 47 units or 47 multiplied by an unknown number. It never represents another value.

The equation may also be balanced by a device called a variable. A variable is an an unknown number represented by any letter in the alphabet (often x). The value of each variable must remain the same in each problem. Several symbols are used to relate all of the variables and constants together. These symbols are listed and explained below. ??? Multiply * / Multiply Divide

+ -

Add or Positive Subtract or Negative

() Calculate what is inside of the parentheses first. (also called grouping symbols)

Basics of the Equation

The diagram on the right shows a basic equation. This equation is similar to problems which you may have done in ordinary mathematics such as: __ + 16 = 30

You could easily guess that __ equals 14 or do 30 - 16 to find that __ equals 14. In this problem __ stood for an unknown number; in an equation we use variables, or any letter in the alphabet. When written algebraically the problem would be: x + 16 = 30 and the answer should be written:

x = 14 Solving Equations These equations can be solved relatively easy and without any formal method. But, as you use equations to solve more complex problems, you will want an easier way to solve them. Pretend you have a scale like the one shown. On the right side there are 45 pennies and on the left side are 23 pennies and an unknown amount of pennies. The scale is balanced, therefore, we know that there must be an equal amount of weight on each side. As long as the same operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc.) is done to both sides of the scale, it will remain balanced. To find the unknown amount of pennies of the left side, remove 23 pennies from each side of the scale. This action keeps the scale balanced and isolates the unknown amount. Since the weight(amount of pennies) on both sides of the scale are still equal and the unknown amount is alone, we now know that the unknown amount of pennies on the left side is the same as the remaining amount (22 pennies) on the right side.

Solving Equations Take a look at the equation below. As you can see, after the variable is subtracted from the left and the constants are subtracted from the right, you are still left with 2x on one side. Initial Equation / Problem x + 23 = 3x + 45 Subtract x from each side Result23 = 2x + 45 23 - 45 = 2x + 45 - 45 x - x + 23 = 3x - x + 45

Subtract 45 from each side Result-22 = 2x

Switch the left and right sides of the equation



This means that the unknown number multiplied by two, equals -22. To find the value of x, use the process "dividing by the coefficient" described on the next page.

Identifying and Using Coefficients

The coefficient of a variable is the number which the variable is being multiplied by. In this equation, 2 is the coefficient of x because 2x is present in the equation. Some additional examples of coefficients: Term Coefficient of x 2x 0.24x x -x 1 -1 2 0.24

Note that in the last two examples, the following rules are applied If the variable has no visible coefficient, then it has an implied coefficient of 1. If the variable only has a negative sign, then it has an implied coefficient of -1. Equation Basics Worksheet

Enter an answer in each box, then click the "Check Worksheet" button at the bottom of the page to automatically check each answer. You may also check your answers manually by referring to the Answer Sheet. If you need assistance with a particular problem, click the " step-by-step" link for an in depth solution. S1 x+1=9 x=


1. x + 3 = 5 x= 2. x + -6 = 9 x= 3 . -32 = x + 3 x= 4. 29 + -1x = 13 x= 5. 46 = 47 + -1x x= 6. 12 = -1x + 1 x= 7. 4x = 16 x= 8. 2x = 10 x= 9. 10x = 130 x= 10. 14 = -2x x= 11. -3 + 2x = 11 x= 12.4x + 6 = -10

x= 13.x + 9 = 18 + -2x x= 14. 2x + 6 = 4x + -2 x= 15. -1x + -1 = 221 + 2x x= 16. 15 + 5x = 0 x= 17. 17x + -12 = 114 + 3x x= 18. 2x + -10 = 10 + -3x x= 19. 12x + 0 = 144 x= 20. -10x + -19 = 19 + -8x x=

Prime Numbers Chart

Display the first primes progressing with columns. 2 3 19 23 29 31 73 127 179 233 283 353 419 467 37 79 131 181 239 293 359 421 479 41 83 137 191 241 307 367 431 487 43 89 139 193 251 311 373 433 491 47 97 149 197 257 313 379 439 499 53 101 151 199 263 317 383 443 503 59 103 157 211 269 331 389 449 509 61 107 163 223 271 337 397 457 521




67 109 167 227 277 347 401 461 523

71 113 173 229 281 349 409 463

Perfect Squares Chart Display the first perfect squares progressing with columns. n n2 n n2 n n2 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 0 25 100 225 400 625 900 1225 1600 2025 1 6 11 16 21 26 31 36 41 46 1 36 121 256 441 676 961 1296 1681 2116 2 7 12 17 22 27 32 37 42 47 4 49 144 289 484 729 1024 1369 1764 2209 3 8 13 18 23 28 33 38 43 48 9 64 169 324 529 784 1089 1444 1849 2304 4 9 14 19 24 29 34 39 44 49 n n2 n n2

16 81 196 361 576 841 1156 1521 1936 2401

50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95

2500 3025 3600 4225 4900 5625 6400 7225 8100 9025

51 56 61 66 71 76 81 86 91 96

2601 3136 3721 4356 5041 5776 6561 7396 8281 9216

52 57 62 67 72 77 82 87 92 97

2704 3249 3844 4489 5184 5929 6724 7569 8464 9409

53 58 63 68 73 78 83 88 93 98

2809 3364 3969 4624 5329 6084 6889 7744 8649 9604

54 59 64 69 74 79 84 89 94 99

2916 3481 4096 4761 5476 6241 7056 7921 8836 980