One of the things I enjoy most about teaching A-Level physics is the questions I get asked in lessons.Here are some favourites of mine:
- If heat rises, why is it so cold at the top of mountains?
- If the fabric of space is exapnding, and the wavelength of light waves are getting stretched with it, why doesn’t their amplitude grow as well?
- Why aren’t electromagnetic wavess affected by magnetic fields?
- Where’s the centre of the Universe?
- Y’know time slows down when you’re moving fast… is that why it takes, like, forever for Christmas to come when you’re a kid and old people always say that time flies by really quickly? Cos they move about really slowly?
- (after learning about kinetic theory of gases and the motion of individual molecules) If I throw this [insert object] at [insert low speed] does that mean it will cool down?
- Why are things in the distance smaller?
- What does “friability” / “auxetic” mean
- (having plotted the graph’s axes the wrong way round) But WHY can’t I just turn it through 90 degrees?
I think that the more training a physicist receives, the more narrow their interpretation of things becomes – and this is a good thing. Understanding a concept correctly allows for progress and predictions to be made. The only drawback is that we never consider the absurd, or perhaps the obvious questions that some theories raise.