A good TEXTBOOK to start teaching myself physics?

University Physicsby Sears and ZemanskyIt's a great introductory text. I would recommend it.In summary, a group of individuals are discussing their experiences with various physics textbooks and offering recommendations for high school level physics materials. Some popular choices include Conceptual Physics by Paul Hewitt, Tipler's Applied Physics, Cutnell and Johnson's Physics, Giancoli's Physics, and Halliday/Resnick/Walker's Fundamentals of Physics. Others suggest looking into calculus based textbooks such as Serway's Physics for Scientists and Engineers and Fundamentals of Physics by David Halliday, as well as free online resources like Motion Mountain. Some also recommend learning calculus in order to better understand physics concepts.
  • #1
im 16, sophomore in high school, in accelerated math (algebra 3 / trigonometry this year, pre-calculus next year, AP calculus senior year I am in Computer Science 2 right now and will be taking AP Computer Science next year (all year) so I excel at programming as well as math)

I'm currently in Intensive Chemistry, taking Intesive Physics next year, and then AP Physics senior year

I would just like to find a (used?) textbook to teach myself the basics of physics since I'm quite interested in physics. So if you guys have a personal favorite physics textbook or one that you enjoyed and would recommend, could you post the name or author or a link to it? thanks

Im really looking for a high school level physics, not toooo basic.

Ive read plenty of Hawking (currently reading "On the Shoulder of Giants" but stuck I'm in the Copernicus part (lots of pointless geometry), thinking about just skipping the copernicus part altogether)

thanks for the help
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  • #2
If your only looking for something to get started Paul Hewitt's Conceptual Physics is a good place to start IMO. He has a both a college and a High school version of this text. I'm not a physics major though so maybe it's not the best book in others opinion but I'd recommend it just to get started.
  • #3
1) Einstein: Relativity

Some of the math can get tough in the general relativity section but the math of the special is fairly simple. The concepts are essential.

2) some book on particle-wave duality, starting with light.

I just checked my university catalogue and they have a copy of conceptual physics by Hewitt. All 739 pages of it. I'll check it out and let you know what I think.
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  • #4
Textbook wise:

For non-calculus based physics:

Tipler's Applied Physics is really good (and is a great book for engineering physics).

Cutnell and Johnson's textbook was the first Physics book I ever purchased and that was the textbook I first learned Physics from (the is my recommended one among the non-Calculus based physics textbooks)

Concept-wise, Giancoli's Physics and Jones and Childer's Contemporary College Physics are really informative. Most of the textbooks I use for courses are strongly math-based (pages after pages of equations) so I'll go to these books for more qualitative and concept-based learning.
  • #5
For the Calculus based textbooks, Serway has really good ones out there. His books are designed for students of science and engineering. The great thing about his textbook is that it also contains qualititative info that helps the reader understand the nature of the mathematical background.

Stanford and Tanner (former GA Tech professors I believe) also have a reasonably easy to understand format textbook designed for physicists and engineers.

Currently, I'm using Wolfson and Passachoff and it's alright (mostly qualitative info) but I really can't judge it because the course goes according to the lecture notes.

Hope this helps.
  • #6
a good general physics textbook

hi my name is murad iam 18 years old
iam like you i like physics and i have two textbooks in physics and they are noth based on calculus
but i think if you are like i think then you won't find any trouble in dealing with them
these textbooks are
1. physics for scientists and engineers
by raymond serway
2. fundamentals of physics
by david halliday

but if you are afraid of calculus then you can get a calculus textbook
so that you well have a good mathematical background when you read the physics ones
and believe me calculus isn't that difficult as many people think
  • #7
Greetings brum !

Try downloading the books at this web adress,
I think they're what you need :

Live long and prosper.
  • #8
Motion Mountain Physics Textbook

For a more qualitative study, Motion Mountain is pretty good.

It's free and has useful appendices that are chock full of information.
  • #9

i think u should start learning calculus...
because calculus is a good tool to know how the physics working
and u can read more new information,
something like anti-particle, quark, ...
but the important thing is to have a good basic...
good luck
  • #10
i think u should start learning calculus...
because calculus is a good tool to know how the physics working
and u can read more new information,
something like anti-particle, quark, ...
but the important thing is to have a good basic...
good luck

I agree but I must warn you: Don't expect to get it the first time around. Some concepts are harder to grasp then others.

But once you got them down, you'll love it. :smile:

In the mean time, I recommend you ask questions that may come to mind when you are trying this endeavour. Some things are best understood when they are explained and well-thought questions are a sign of strength.

Good luck as well.
  • #11
Halliday/Resnick/Walker, Fundamentals of Physics (Extended), Sixth Edition.

A classic.
  • #12
Is it still in print?
  • #13
Halliday/Resnick/Walker is still in print. (It's gone through a couple of incarnations.) The sixth edition just came out a few years back, in fact. You can probably find the fifth edition floating around used univ. bookstores or online, essentially same material as the sixth ed., but most likely much cheaper.
  • #14
When you want to learn some about quantum mechanics and theoretical physics, you shouldn't miss the book, Hyperspace. My friend's uncle, wrote it, and he wrote it in a simple manner, that one not into physics whatsoever can come to understanding a vast amount of Theo. Physics.

Be sure to take a look at it when you do get a chance.
  • #16
I just got my g/f a copy of the Schaums outline to Applied physics. Basically the same thing as the college physics but I prefer the solved examples of the previous book. It's an easy read, it'll just take some time.

I also checked out a copy of Conceptual Physics by Hewitt. This one is more of a textbook suitable for first year university physics.
  • #17
I really like Hewitt's pedagogy.

I used his textbook during my year of physics in high school.

I would also suggest watching his taped lectures if one has access to them and relevant to their situation.
  • #18
Speaking of Schaum's Outlines, I have the outlines for Vector Analysis, Finite Mathematics, Linear Algebra, and Fluid Mechanics.

The Vector Analysis is great and the Linear Algebra outline has gotten me A's on my tests so :smile:

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