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As a High school senior, my knowledge of physics is limited

  1. Feb 27, 2015 #1
    My question is this: how do I break the chains?

    I took honors physics last year and absolutely fell in love. Unfortunately we don't have any Calculus-based physics courses in my school… I've asked some of my teachers for textbooks I could borrow and they've been nice enough to give me some textbooks but they're kinda… Meh. I mean, the authors use calculus in order to derive the equations (such as ∫Force = Momentum, or ∫Momentum = Impulse) but at the end of the day the questions are high-school level (as in: a mere plug and chug of the already derived equations).

    And on the other hand, I found the Richard Feynman lecture notes online but (although it is quite a wonderfully helpful source) I find it too difficult to study from…!

    To be honest, all I want is a simple introduction to Calculus based Physics that can keep me entertained when I'm curious. Optics, relativity, mechanics, and the rest! Something simple and fun so I can have a solid background for next year when I enter my freshman year in college (physics major, God willing)!

    I apologize if this topic has been repeated. Forgive me and please have patience, I'd like there to be some back and forth discussion so I can find the perfect source. Anything online would be ideal!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2015 #2
    What level of calculus do you know? Do you know any multivariable and/or vector calculus? "An Introduction to Mechanics" by Kleppner and Kolenkow as well as "Electicity and Magnetism" by Purcell and Morin are very good but they are most likely above your mathematical preperation. Let me know of your mathematical background so I can suggest books that fit well.
  4. Feb 27, 2015 #3
    Ah, stupid me! I forgot to mention that! I'm currently enrolled in AP Calculus which, to my knowledge, is Calculus I. Lovely course, I must say. To my knowledge multivariable calculus is usually taken in Calculus II? Anyhow, I'm not familiar with the topics you mentioned.
  5. Feb 27, 2015 #4
    Analytical Mechanics: Grant R Fowles, George L Cassiday is the standard textbook for a calculus level introduction to mid-level Newtonian mechanics. If you are interested in learning physics, this is a great book.
  6. Feb 28, 2015 #5
    Thank you for the suggestion. To be honest, though, textbook mediums are not really what I'm looking for. I do not live in Europe nor the United States of America so textbooks are not quite as abundant as you might think. Ordering from abroad would be somewhat expensive and ultimately not worth it. When I wrote in my original post "Anything online would be ideal!", I meant sources such as The Feynman Lectures on Physics. Something I can open up when I have a boring elective at school so I don't waste my time.

    P.S. I don't want to give everyone the impression that I have never seen a textbook in my life. Fortunately, my school has all the latest textbooks and they're quite wonderful. I, however, do not own the textbooks - I merely borrow them for the school year then give it back..
  7. Feb 28, 2015 #6
    I'm your age, and I just recently started reading "Introduction to Mechanics" by Kleppner and Kolenkow. I'd recommend it assuming you know simple differentiation and integration, which (I think) are covered in AP courses in the US, I did A Level Mathematics though.
    Anyway, it's a great book!
  8. Feb 28, 2015 #7
    Have you considered Khan Academy? It's an online resource which teaches on a whole host of topics in physics and math.
  9. Feb 28, 2015 #8


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    You might find that you'll be better served by paying attention during these "boring electives" so that you can get a good grade in them. Learning physics is great, but part of being educated is learning about a wide range of fields. And if one wants to go to a good college to study physics, one must get good grades.
  10. Feb 28, 2015 #9
    I have… Unfortunately most of the videos he makes are high-school level. Very little calculus involved.

    Woah now come on buddy... I've posted here asking for something specific not for a lecture on my study patterns. Why on earth would I choose to ignore a class's lectures if I couldn't easily get a >93% in the class? Geography, for instance, does not distinctly require my attention during class time. However, it does require my attention the night before the test. Different people learn differently, my friend.
  11. Feb 28, 2015 #10


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    Education Advisor

    Because school is about learning, not passing classes. That aside, ignoring a lecture to study for another class is amazingly disrespectful.
  12. Feb 28, 2015 #11
    This is a terrible, terrible textbook and a good way to scare off the OP.

    The best textbooks I can suggest for intermediate classical mechanics are Kleppner and Kolenkow's 'introduction to mechanics' as well as classical mechanics by David Morin. Both are incredibly self-contained books with lots of insightful examples and difficult problems.
  13. Mar 3, 2015 #12
    Haha, oh really? I'll admit, I don't have much experience with textbooks, but it's what I used and I was under the impression that it was a standard. I liked it :-p.
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