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A Theoretical Minimum | Looking for Guidance

  1. Sep 12, 2013 #1
    Hey everyone!
    I am on a quest to understand the world in which we live in better. In doing so I'm making a stop at Physics. I was suggested the book "A Theoretical Minimum - What you Need to Know to Start Physics". I am in love with this book and cannot put it down. At the moment I am reading about vectors. Before I move on I want to make DAMN sure I understand what is being said, technically and conceptually. Now, I have taken a college level physics course but got lost along the way and ended up dropping. After reading this book I understand so much more where certain things come from; I understand these are concepts/discoveries that are built from those who have come before us. Anywho, Keeping the subject matter of this particular book in mind, Are there any kind of interactive programs/visuals that would help in understanding of topics such as: vectors, vector addition/multiplication, trigonometry( understanding sin, cos, tan better), etc... I'm looking to understand this visually as well as paper calculations and numbers.

    I thank you for taking the time to read!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 13, 2013 #2
    I don't know, but Khan Academy uses visuals and color-codes different things. You may want to give it a try. :)
  4. Sep 13, 2013 #3


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    You need to be able to solve problems, that is the test. Understanding visually cannot happen if you can't solve the problems. I find that when you solve problems, you come to understand how it all fits together.
  5. Sep 22, 2013 #4
    It is very important that you understand them visually, the best way to do it is on pen and paper at this stage, to double check you can use Mathematica, or Wolframalpha to plot the vectors. As far as trigonometry goes the best way is definitely to draw it all out yourself and just remember the basic rules, not so much the stuff you can just look up like double angle rules and such.

    I DEFINITELY benefited from using Mathematica do plot out figures in the case of vector calculus, if I hadn't I would have struggled understanding what I was actually writing down.

    I think you should definitely look into using wolframalpha.
  6. Sep 24, 2013 #5
    That book was written around a series of lectures given by Leonard Susskind of Stanford University. The videos of these lectures are on-line in several places, including iTunesU. I cannot recommend them highly enough. I have spent many hours watching the videos on my computer, pausing and flipping back and forth between iTunes (for the video) and Mathematica for taking notes and solving problems. Start with the Classical Mechanics lectures.
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