As I’ve written before, I was a math and physics major in college but I switched to statistics because math seemed pointless if you weren’t the best (and I knew there were people better than me), and I just didn’t feel like I had a good physical understanding.
My lack of physical understanding comes up from time to time. An example occurred the other day. I was viewing a demonstration of Foucault’s pendulum and the guide said the period was something like 35 hours. I was surprised, having always thought it had a 24-hour period. Sure, I can understand it in words, but, even after reflecting on it for a minute, I couldn’t see my way to even an approximate derivation. If I wanted to, I think I could go through the math (for example here), but I feel that if I really had the intuition, I wouldn’t need to.
I’m sure I have a lot more physical understanding than the average person but I don’t think I have enough to be a real physicist.