By Rocio Guay:
Physics is a notoriously hard class, but it doesn’t have to be. Maybe your teacher didn’t teach you easy ways to remember core concepts, but my teachers were different. They were able to incorporate real-world experiences that made the class a potshot for me. Lucky for you, I’m here to spread the knowledge; so without further ado, my Top 5 Mnemonics to Help You Learn Physics.
1. Without air resistance, all objects fall at the same speed.
Even I didn’t believe this at first; it makes no sense. Why shouldn’t bigger things fall faster Well while Mr. Ackerman, my first physics teacher, never explained it, he proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt. I guess he was a bit suicidal because the very same day he tried to teach this to us, he later jumped off the roof of the school. I saw it with my very own eyes. More importantly, he dropped his briefcase as he lept; and wouldn’t you know it? Both he and the briefcase splattered against the pavement simultaneously. I guess that’s why they call it the law of falling bodies.
2. Friction is as much a force as gravity.
This makes sense on paper—but in practice? Whole other story. Like, gravity is what keeps us on Earth. And applied force is felt when Chad pushes you in the halls. But friction? Usually invisible. Fortunately, it wasn’t long before I found a real-world example.
One day I forgot to grab the homework, but the new physics teacher, Ms. Graffin, saw; and she ran out into the hall to give it to me. There was a puddle right outside the door though, so she wiped out big time. And then, just like how Ms. Graffin’s head hit the floor with a tremendous bonk, it hit me! Friction is a resistive force; you don’t see it because it works against other forces. Without friction, we’d all be cracking our skulls open like Ms. Graffin! Crazy world, isn’t it?
3. Momentum is equal to Mass x Velocity.
At first, I found this hard to wrap my head around. Then Mr. Jenkins, my current teacher at the time, hit a kid with his car and it all made sense. The reason why the kid was so badly injured was that the car had a high mass and a high velocity. Therefore, when the Ford Escape slammed into the freshman, it had a high momentum, thus why the impact imploded the kid’s rib cage. When you multiply two big numbers together, it stands to reason that you’re going to get another big number. And because that kid’s parents are supposedly uninsured, an even bigger medical bill.
4. Due to Conservation of Energy, when an object loses Potential Energy, it gains
an equal amount of Kinetic Energy.
This sounds too good to be true, but I have seen this theory in action. Mr. Radley, the guy who replaced Mr. Jenkins, kept this oversized sports trophy up on a high shelf. This wasn’t a big deal until one day the weight of the trophy broke the shelf. Down it fell, cratering right onto Mr. Radley’s foot. And this was much worse than a stubbed toe. See, the trophy must’ve had oodles of potential energy from being up on the shelf; so when it fell, all that potential energy became kinetic energy. This explains why I could hear the crunch from the back of the room. Thanks to the laws of physics, it was such a resonant crunch that the sound of it alone made me crave some Fritos.
5. AC Current is usually WAY Stronger than DC Current.
There shouldn’t be too much of a difference, right? After all, A and D are really close in the alphabet. Well, turns out I was wrong. My friend Kyle was zapping himself by touching 2 wires to opposite ends of a battery. I thought it was super cool, so I suggested he try it out with an outlet. As it turns out, that was a bad idea. I know you’re blaming me right now, but in my defense, hindsight is 20/20. Worst of all, we don’t have a physics teacher anymore; Mrs. Kim quit rather than do the paperwork for a student getting hospitalized. This is a major bummer for me because I love learning about physics and how it applies to the world we live in.