Memorizing how things work in science

Hello guys, knowing and understanding how things work can be fun and make you come across as a smart person.
Can anyone here show me how they memorize and explain such things as for example ‘how electricity works’ etc.


Sure! “How electricity works” is a big subject with lots of fairly abstract concepts that don’t lend themselves well to mnemonics work, but also parts that do! So here’s how I’d approach it.

Read on the subject like normal. While you read or listen to a class, try to identify all the important concepts you encounter and note down the names of those concepts separately (“voltage”, “electron flow”, “conductivity” etc etc)

Then when you finish a book or a textbook chapter or a class or whatever, use the Feynman Technique to really make sure you understand those concepts.

(Feynman technique, briefly, is looking at a concept, then trying to write an explanation of it in full in your own words without looking or referring back to notes or material. You’ll fail, as usually when people believe they understand something they’ve read, they don’t really. So go back to your notes and books, review this concept. Then try again. Repeat until you get it right.)

Then step 2: play with these concepts you’ve identified. Look for connections between them. Try to see why one idea is inevitable because of two other ideas. Imagine if one idea wasn’t true? What would it mean for the others? This kind of thing. Set a specific time for doing this, giving yourself say 5 minutes per concept (otherwise you’ll find you never actually do this part).

If you take this approach, you’ll have a deeper understanding of How Electricity Works, and having a deeper understanding of the why’s of a subject makes it very hard to forget.

Meanwhile mnemonics, the main subject of this forum, can come in handy too! For things like, idk, Maxwell’s equations, you’ll find it useful to come up with acronyms, stories, and visualisations that let you recall them. I don’t know any specific techniques for equations but I’m sure someone on Google has addressed this.

You shouldn’t overdo this though, as for most simple equations (like say, F = ma from physics) it’s better for memory to find them obvious from your understanding of the concepts involved. But for the longer equations mnemonics can be very helpful.

And if you’re interested in knowing about household electrics, rather than the theory, then mnemonics will come in very handy again for concrete things like common voltages in use, wire colours, safety rules, whatever.

You mentioned that as well as memorization you wanted to be able to explain the ideas: good news! The Feynman technique means you’ll have practice in fluently explaining all the relevant ideas! The connection-finding means you’ll always be able to explain why something is true! The mnemonics mean you’ll never come up short with a fact!

It probably sounds like a lot of work, but don’t worry. Start with an introductory chapter and apply it to just 10 concepts or so. See if it works (it does). Good luck with your studies!

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