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Common Misconceptions in Physics

The folks at Minute Physics keep coming up with videos too great not to share. This one deals with gravity, distances and speeds, I’m guessing this might have a part 2!

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Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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  • Michael Cox December 8, 2012, 1:00 AM

    if you’re going to be that technical then why use the speed of light, c = 300, 000 km/s?

    • Torbjörn Larsson December 8, 2012, 2:06 AM

      I think the point of the video was precisely that the difference was not “technical”. But it works to make that approximation quite often.

      My own pet peeve is the everyday relativity effect of magnetism, showing that we can’t just add velocities willy-nilly. Analogously roundness of the Earth shows up locally in the Coriolis effect, that affects weather patterns.

  • Gozlemci December 8, 2012, 12:00 PM

    Very nice video…

  • Rodford Smith December 9, 2012, 4:41 PM

    One of the things I learned getting my BSCE is the difference between precision and accuracy, and how to judge how much of each you need. You can actually loose your job if you spend too much time and effort adding decimal points.

    Yes, there are situations where you *need* those decimal points. Recognizing them is part of the job.

    So, I don’t see the simplification as lying. I see it as teaching to the ability and expectations of the grade. Laying a foundation which can be built on later. Of course, that should include pointing out to grade schoolers and high schoolers that there’s more to come at higher grades.

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