“Can Google solve mathematics and physics?”

“Can google solve mathematics and physics?”

It can solve some basic mathematics and physics and even some things you might not expect.

You do, however, need to know exactly what to input and how to input it (syntax). Google may understand some variations of a phrase but not others.

You can check out this post to see some examples,

Google Math (with applications to physics)

Finding Velocity of Geosynchronous Satellite – Video Lesson

How to find the velocity of a geosynchronous satellite.

Fear and Physics

From mozzercork on flickr

(from mozzercork on flickr)

If you have a tough physics problem, you might hesitate to even start it.

That won’t help your cause though…..

Use lots of paper and just write down what comes to your mind.

It might be completely wrong, but it doesn’t matter, you’ll find out pretty quickly by doing simple checks (dimensional analysis, feasibility, etc)

Thomas Edison tried 10,000 materials for filaments before getting the electric light to work.

And complex physics problems can get somewhat ridiculous.

If you start a problem earlier, it will be in the back of your head.

Professor Barber even told us that he has gone to sleep and woken up with the answer.

Basketball “Hang Time” Physics

Michael Jordan Flies Through the Air (statue) from Esparta on Flickr

Michael Jordan Flies Through the Air (statue) from Esparta on Flickr

The stadium is packed with fans as Michael Jordan flies through the air on his way to the rim. Gravity seems suspended in this “hang time” phenomenon.

The hot dog dealer casually explains that by using THE TRUTH, and possibly a know/don’t know table, it can easily be calculated that it is true that Jordan spends 2/3 of the time actually in the air and with a vertical leap of over forty inches this can be a long time.

The hot dog dealer continues to explain the physics of the game by showing how vector analysis can track the motion of basketball stars.

A vector has direction and magnitude and can be added or subtracted using normal additive rules.

Thus he explains that the offense can jump both forward and up, but if the defense has the same vertical component they will both land at the same time since horizontal and vertical motion components are independent.

The dealer then continues on his way and warns not to use tangent for the x or y components

Instead, multiply the vector by sin(θ) to find the y component (magnitude in the y direction) and multiply the vector by cos(θ) for the  x component (magnitude in the x direction.

Also, by convention you should measure θ from the positive x-axis (this is physics convention anyway).

Michael Jordan top 40 moments

Dimensional Analysis in Physics – Checking Answers

Dimensional analysis

Dimensional analysis allows a quick check of your answer by seeing if the units are correct.

An example would be if you are finding a distance by multiplying a speed by a time.  The units of distance are meters and the dimensional analysis of the product is [velocity*time] = [(m/s)(s)] = [m]

Google can do this automatically (with SI units) for an even faster check.

Google Math (with applications to physics)

The google search box can do some crazy things. One function is being a calculator. Try typing in 2+2

Basic stuff, right?

Well, it can go a bit beyond that. Next try typing in “seconds in a year”

An approximation for this, taught to me by Dr. Phil Kesten at Santa Clara University is pi * 10^7 seconds
Even more complex is typing in something like Avogadro’s number and multiplying it by the mass of a proton to get the approximate molar mass of Hydrogen


These functions were quite useful for calculations even in my physics classes. Play around with it, not everything will work, but many calculations will.