Child physics

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A grandfather explaining the second law to his grandson, an example of child physics, according to which if one is not able to explain a physics principle to a child, then, by default, they do not understand the principle well enough.

In terms, child physics (LH:1) is the motto that if one cannot explain a physics concept simply enough, so that a child understands, then the adult does not understand the concept well enough. The motto, give or take exact wording, is attributed to: William Thomson, James Maxwell, Ernest Rutherford, Charles Wilson, and Albert Einstein, who have been reported to have said this in conversation.[1]


Child physics, of note, is one level below “barmaid physics”, not only in terms of simplicity but also in terms of the bigger picture of "emotions", e.g. in respect to love, relationships, and reproduction, per reason that hormones don't begin to activate until the early teens.[1]


The following are quotes:

“All physical theories, their mathematical expressions and calculations aside, ought to lend themselves, via illustrations with images, to so simple a description that even a child could understand them.”
Albert Einstein (c.1930), comment during walk with Louis Broglie[2]

End matter


  1. 1.0 1.1 Barmaid physics – Hmolpedia 2020.
  2. (a) Broglie, Louis. (1962). New Perspectives in Physics (pg. 184). Basic.
    (b) Rousseau, Pierre. (1967). The Limits of Science (translator: John Newell) (pg. 114). Phoenix.
    (c) Clark, Ronald. (1984). Einstein: the Life and Times, an Illustrated Biography (pg. 218). Abrams.


  • Thims, Libb. (2015). “Atheism for Kids” (co-host: Thor; five kids [ages]: 6, 7, 9, 10, 11), 14-part [4:41-hr] lecture playlist (YT), 5-intro sides (Ѻ), 56-main sides (Ѻ), 11AM-3PM, Chicago, Aug 10.
  • Thims, Libb. (2018). “Thing Philosophy” (YT), Human Chemistry 101, Jul 10.

External links

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