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A medical student who loves physics and wants to learn particle physics!

  1. Dec 9, 2011 #1
    I'm a medical student, currently in my 2nd year of medical school. I'm absolutely fascinated by physics and if not for my dream of doing research in neurology i would have taken up particle physics.
    My physics knowledge is limited to what i learnt upto the 12th grade but i am willing to teach myself more.
    So my question here is how should i go about learning particle physics on my own. How do i start, what books should i read, in what order, etc.
    I would be grateful for any suggestions . Thank you :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 9, 2011 #2


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    On what level do you want to learn particle physics?

    There's, of course, the popular science texts that will give you an idea of what particle physics (now called High Energy Physics, or HEP) is all about and to give you an idea of the cool stuff that it is involves.

    There's also the other end of the spectrum where you can get serious and try to actually learn how to do rudimentary HEP calculations to an undergraduate level.

    In between there's possibly a level that gives you an understanding of quantum mechanics and HEP with a more technical viewpoint than popular science texts, but not enough to really do calculations like Feynman diagrams or cross-sections. This is probably something a junior physics major might know.
  4. Dec 9, 2011 #3
    I definitely want to get serious about it and be able to do some calculations.
    I've read some of the popular science texts but doesn't really give me what i want. my way of studying is to learn everything i can.
    So what should i do in order to learn at least upto an undergraduate level?
  5. Dec 9, 2011 #4
    Medical students have to love and show interest in physics as it is one of the main subject of their education or degree..If they show interest than only they can get a good marks in it...Personally I hate physics cos it is the toughest subject in my opinion..It needs lots of mind with full concentration..
  6. Dec 9, 2011 #5
    Well, I'm a medical student and I'm learning high energy physics on my own I didn't study anything related to math or physics in college but I decided to teach myself physics . I learned quantum mechanics and some quantum field theory and general relativity. I want to take a university degree in physics after I finish medical school
  7. Dec 14, 2011 #6
    I'm glad to know there are other students out there like myself! I am an undergrad, however, but I am in a similar situation. I was required to take general courses in physics for my degrees (mathematics and biology) but I've ended up liking physics more than my own majors! I'm applying for research programs, even ones that require a physics major/degree, and seeing where I can go from there. I work at my university tutoring in physics, and I also am considering being a teaching assistant in some physics classes as well.
    I've honestly learned a lot about high energy physics through watching videos of lectures and research presentations, although my focus is more in high energy magnetism.
  8. Dec 14, 2011 #7
    You could try Wilczek's book The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces.
  9. Dec 15, 2011 #8


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    Griffiths' Introduction to Elementary Particles is a very good book at the intermediate level. It gives a broad overview and also teaches you how to calculate Feynman diagrams.

    The question is, how much quantum mechanics are you willing to learn. I'd suggest you start with an introductory book on quantum mechanics and then proceed with Griffiths. You won't be able to understand everything in it, but you can look these things up when you encounter them. It won't be easy though. You'll have to study a lot!

    I don't know enough about QM books for beginners to recommend one.
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