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Courses 48 yr old wanting to learn physics

  1. Feb 6, 2017 #1
    Hi, having read and watched a lot about physics over the past year I wonder, is there any online courses which teach physics. I'm particularly interested in particle physics and quantum mechanics.

    I don't want to pay £6,000 for my learning, is there any good courses free or for little cost?

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 6, 2017 #2
  4. Feb 6, 2017 #3


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    QM and particle physics need a basis. Perhaps you want to check the fun of physics lectures by Walter Lewin .
    Another great source and fabulous teacher is Richard Feynman
  5. Feb 6, 2017 #4
    Thanks guys, I've watched many hours of footage from all above tutors but with the looks of it I'll have to go into these more in depth.

    My basis is the need to know more. I've found something that has clicked with me to which I'm like a sponge, only at my age a lot slips through the net.

    Again thanks.
  6. Feb 6, 2017 #5


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    You also need to realize that there's a difference between learning physics, and learning ABOUT physics.

    You may do the latter by watching all these videos, reaching articles, reading pop-science books, and even chatting about it on here. However, learning physics is a different process. To do that you have to go through what anyone majoring in physics has to. And that means opening up a textbook, and working through the book, pen and paper in hand. And then progressing through one topic after another. You can't simply just learn "quantum mechanics" or "particle physics", because the major areas of physics are really interconnected. You can't do quantum mechanics if you do not understand what a "Hamiltonian" is or what the magnetic vector potential is.

    And of course, to be able to do physics, you must know the mathematics in the first place. Otherwise, all you get will be a superficial knowledge of what you are reading.

  7. Feb 6, 2017 #6


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    A few people have recommended Coursera, although I have no personal experience of them myself.
  8. Feb 6, 2017 #7
    I am a physics major and what helped me in the basic introductory courses (E&M and Mechanics) was a lecturer from Yale with great online classes. He basically teaches a two part course called "Fundamentals of Physics" concentrating on E&M and Mechanics, with some thermodynamics and even some Quantum Theory (Which is what you are interested in), and as people here said, you need these introduction topics to start QM.

    Fundamentals of physics I
    Fundamentals of physics II

    Also I support what people said, after you watch a couple of lectures, it's best to try solving a couple of practice problems to build intuition or else after half of the first course you might feel very confused.

    Good luck and I hope I helped!
  9. Feb 6, 2017 #8
    Guys again thank you with your replies. Over the year I have gathered quite a bit of basic knowledge but I would now like to test my knowledge.
    Bearshark I will take a look at your suggestion as it looks promising.

    Again thank you all for your replies.
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