# A Theoretical Minimum | Looking for Guidance

• MidnightKat
In summary, the author recommends using visuals and Mathematica to better understand concepts related to vectors, trigonometry, and classical mechanics.
MidnightKat
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!

I don't know, but Khan Academy uses visuals and color-codes different things. You may want to give it a try. :)

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.

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.

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.

## 1. What is the purpose of "A Theoretical Minimum"?

The purpose of "A Theoretical Minimum" is to provide a comprehensive framework for understanding the fundamental principles of physics and mathematics. It is designed to help individuals without formal training in these subjects to gain a deep understanding of the basics.

## 2. Who is the target audience for "A Theoretical Minimum"?

The target audience for "A Theoretical Minimum" is anyone with an interest in physics and mathematics, but who may not have a formal education in these fields. It is also suitable for students who are looking for a supplement to their current studies or for individuals who want to refresh their knowledge.

## 3. How is "A Theoretical Minimum" structured?

"A Theoretical Minimum" is divided into two parts: The Core and The Advanced Topics. The Core covers the essential concepts and principles of physics and mathematics, while The Advanced Topics delves into more complex and specialized topics. Each part is further divided into courses, and each course is made up of lectures and exercises.

## 4. Are there any prerequisites for "A Theoretical Minimum"?

There are no formal prerequisites for "A Theoretical Minimum," but it is recommended to have a basic understanding of algebra and calculus. It is also helpful to have a strong interest in physics and mathematics and a willingness to learn and engage with challenging concepts.

## 5. Can "A Theoretical Minimum" replace a formal education in physics and mathematics?

No, "A Theoretical Minimum" is not meant to replace a formal education. It is designed to supplement and enhance one's understanding of these subjects. It can provide a strong foundation and serve as a starting point for further studies, but it cannot replace the depth and breadth of knowledge gained through a formal education.

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