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Programs Am I good for physics?

  1. May 2, 2016 #1
    Hello PF,
    The time has come for me to choose a major university cause I have finished high school. I have always had a passion for physics I've read lots of books and I like the course at school but would prefer more advanced things and I'm okay with the math ( good at it but not passionate )
    My fear is that when i go to university may be it would not be what i expect i would hate to hate it when i find it's other face (sorry but that's the best expression i could find) . I love the theoretical side ( like seriously reading a paper or thinking of an equation could give me goosebumps).
    So what do you think . I am grateful for any advice .
  2. jcsd
  3. May 2, 2016 #2
    There is very little you can do about this now. It is very possible that physics in uni will not be what you expect it to be. In fact, a vast number of freshman physics majors finds out exactly that and drops out. Their reasons vary. They find it too theoretical, or too experimental, or too mathy, or too difficult, etc.

    If you didn't have to choose right now, I would have suggest you to self-study a physics book to see what it's like .That would be the best predictor of whether you'd like university physics. Right now however, I'm afraid there's not much you can do other than just taking the risk.
  4. May 2, 2016 #3
    Thank you ... but are the Feynman lectures a good exemple of undergraduate textbooks ?
  5. May 2, 2016 #4
    Feynman lectures are excellent
  6. May 2, 2016 #5


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    Actually, I don't think it is for "freshman" who is just starting out trying to learn the subject. It is an excellent text ONCE you have an understanding of the basic principles. The text is not pedagogically strong, but it is rich in the material it presents.

    What you need, and what will serve you better are "standard" intro physics texts that (i) spend time to elaborate the physics (ii) have lots and lots of examples on how to solve problems and (iii) try to guide you by the hand as your understanding gets more and more sophisticated.

    Once you've gone through such a course, then go back and pick up Feynman Lectures, and you'll appreciate it a bit more.

  7. May 2, 2016 #6
    What kind of books have you read so far ?
  8. May 2, 2016 #7
    Feynman taught those lectures to the freshmen and sophomore classes at Caltech.
  9. May 2, 2016 #8


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    And you should read what happened afterwards. Read, for example, Glick's book "Genius". Or even read https://www.quora.com/Were-Feynmans-lectures-on-physics-really-too-difficult-for-Caltech-students-back-in-the-1960s [Broken] by someone who was there.

    Think about it. These are CALTECH''s students. Even if they didn't have any difficulties with it, is this the level you want to introduce your average, mortal students, as IF there are no other better texts around? How many schools do you think use the Feynman lectures as their text in intro physics classes? That should tell you something!

    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  10. May 2, 2016 #9
    Not any kind of serious books so far. I have read "the grand design" "a brief history of time" "physics of the impossible" ...
  11. May 2, 2016 #10
    Not at all. If you want them to serve as an undergrad textbook, then the Feynman lectures are probably the worst choice you can make. That is not saying that the Feynman lectures don't deserve to be read. They do, they're an excellent read. But not as a textbook.
  12. May 2, 2016 #11
    Yeah i felt that when i started ... maybe i will see a friend from a university and ask them about there textbooks. Thank you
  13. May 2, 2016 #12
    I like to read those books too and I can read a lot of them. I learnt physics in Uni, but I didn't like it so I changed my major to mechanical engineering. I didn't regret it. Reading popular science and reading real physics books are two different things.
  14. May 3, 2016 #13
    Thank you sir for your advice .
  15. May 26, 2016 #14
    Reading popular science and technical books are different. That being said, I don't think it should pose a big deterrent to you. You're just in high school and you already have a lot of enthusiasm in Physics so I think you should go for it.
    (I'm in college now and I'm starting to read popular science books now. I didn't know about them when I was in high school.)
  16. May 26, 2016 #15
    I liked astronomy since i was a child and i discovered the books last year so i got a bunch ... but i don't know what happened suddenly this year where everyone gave me different opinions and ideas about majors and life paths so i got lost a little. I think it is normal for any 17 years old to be a little lost and depressed, isn't it?
  17. May 26, 2016 #16
    You're still young, you should try it. You can still change your major if doesn't work out.
  18. May 26, 2016 #17
    I think you should try it out and then see. When I was in high school, I was very sure I was going to major in chemistry and then become a chemist. I read books and solved problems too. In college I took classes and tried research my first year. I was completely uninterested in the research, but grateful for the opportunity, and had no motivation to take any of the advanced classes.

    Oddly enough I was highly motivated to take quantum mechanics.... so the switch happened. I ended up majoring in physics. Also I enjoyed my research experiences in physics.
  19. May 27, 2016 #18

    I have done some quizzes on the Internet that all put me into aerospace engineering ... should i trust those considering that they are from all over the internet ( some from universities ) and that aerospace engineering is one of the fields with a lot of physics .
  20. May 27, 2016 #19
    Some are correct what you thought about Physics could be exactly different in college or the course you would want to pursue. Anyway, you are still young and to early to decide. If your choice does not work well with you then you could change it to other courses that you think you are most interested. Remember that more practical lessons are given in college than a theoretical one.
  21. May 27, 2016 #20
    No, you should not rely on online quizzes to decide your major. An online quiz suggested I try chemical engineering when I took one 5ish years ago. Experience will tell you more. So take physics courses in college, talk to profs, look around labs and see if anything excites you there.
  22. May 27, 2016 #21
    I have done some quizzes on the internet and they put me into nursing. And nursing is a very nice and respectable profession, but would have been horrendous for me. So please take these "online quizzes" with a grain of salt. They are the least important piece of information you should take into account when making your choice.
  23. May 28, 2016 #22
    Most of them are not that good but i did the Myers Briggs Test , it is a bit more known and is based on psychological theories.
  24. May 29, 2016 #23
    So what information is correct? I have to give my admission this month and i am buzzed with multiple ideas because i really like both so much ... thank you for any help
  25. May 29, 2016 #24
    Feynman lectures can be browsed and read online.
  26. Jun 1, 2016 #25
    Popular science books are meant to inspire and inform. At your age, I didn't know much about popular science at all. I think it's great that you're reading. Keep reading even after you get into college, and more importantly, after you leave college. Read abundantly.
    I discovered this interesting podcast called Star Talk. You should listen to it. It's about astronomy. Also books by Neil Tyson and Steven Weinberg's - "The First Three Minutes" would be works that you'd enjoy. Don't be limited by the syllabus of your course in your hunger for knowledge. Keep learning more about what you like instead of waiting for a particular course in a later semester. Don't be limited by grades in your ambition. Don't get discouraged if you get a low grade, and don't be too happy if you get a high grade either. Alphabets on a piece of paper shouldn't be your focus. Your focus should be to learn as much
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