This post originally appeared on http://www.smopf.com.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” –Albert Einstein

Even though I hold a couple of degrees in Electrical Engineering, I never really understood analog circuit theory until I had to teach it to a lecture hall full of students at the University of Sydney.

elec3105. Circuit theory and design

Circuit design is hard! Why do we need Laplace Transforms? Where the hell do phase shifts come from? Why do circuits with complex poles have a resonant frequency??*

Did my students really understand Analog Circuit Theory and Design by the end of the semester? I’m guessing maybe only one of them did. The rest won’t truly understand until they have to teach it to someone else.

Alan Alda established the Flame Challenge for explaining science to 11-year-olds. This year’s challenge: Explain the concept of time.

Ostensibly, the Flame Challenge provides kids with a basic understanding of science. In reality, the competing scientists gain more than the intended audience.

If you really want to get good at something, teach it to someone else. Ideally a child, or someone really stupid. smopf can help you with that.

*See me at office hours for a simple explanation.


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