For example, suppose I am a student studying physics, and I've taken a bunch of theoretical classes in electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, particle physics, etc. But I have not done any experimental physics, which some would argue is also integral to a physics education.

How can I complete a sentence along the lines of:

Although I enjoyed learning the theory, I knew I was missing [not exactly sure what to put here, but I want to say that experimentation is like the "missing half" in my physics education].


3 Answers 3


Although I enjoyed learning the theory, I knew I hadn't seen the whole picture, because I lacked experimental courses.

the whole picture (idiom)

The overall sense or presentation of a situation, concept, topic, etc., including all related factors and potential consequences. You're focusing on one small part of the negotiation, but you need to see the whole picture—we may need to compromise on a few items to get the best deal in the end. Farlex Dictionary of Idioms

The function of university research was initially relevant for W. von Humboldt, because the assumption was that only someone who occupies themselves on a daily basis in verifying theories and discovering new truths can see the whole picture in a particular field... Aleksander Kobylarek; The Polish Humboldtian University in the Face of Paradigmatic Change


You call somebody a "frog at the bottom of a well".

It is a famous Chineses idiom that is stated when somebody is making seemingly confident assumptions but from another's perspective they are just ignorant.

It is almost always used in a derogatory manner.

"You’re a frog at the bottom of a well" means you have a narrow viewpoint … that you think the sky you can see out of the top of the well is all there is to the world.

Used in your sentence you could say:

Although I enjoyed learning the theory, I knew I was merely a frog at the bottom of a well.

Frog of the well

  • 1
    Interesting phrase, but it seems to mean the opposite of knowing you're missing something.
    – livresque
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 1:29
  • That is true, usually it is directed to the ignorant, not the educated, and rarely oneself. However, I feel like you are looking for a derogatory phrase, which this could substitute the purpose for.
    – brw59
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 1:34

I have greatly enjoyed studying theoretical physics but experimentation is the lifeblood of science and I feel that without that I am really studying only half the subject.

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