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Best books for self learning physics?

  1. Nov 9, 2014 #1
    Hello! so I'm extremely interested in learning more about physics (outside of physics for engineers since they focus mostly on forces and electromagnetic) What are some good books that you would recommend for me to learn from ? I'm currently a 2nd year Aerospace Engineering student.(about to finish calculus 3 and Diff eq this year)

    Thank you!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2014 #2

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Depending on the depth, you could start with susskinds theoretical minimum books. The first one on Classical Mechanics covers Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics and some EM theory. The second extends the readers understanding to Quantum Mechanics. Prof Suskind also has a video series on these and other physics topics under the banner of the theoretical minimum.
     
  4. Nov 9, 2014 #3
    Thanks I'll check that out, any other recommendations ?
     
  5. Nov 9, 2014 #4

    jtbell

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    Staff: Mentor

    Can you find out what books are being used in upper-division physics courses at your university? You could browse them at your campus bookstore. Or have campus bookstores become extinct? :(
     
  6. Nov 9, 2014 #5
    More like EXTREMELY over priced now haha like at minimum for science text book would be 250+
     
  7. Nov 9, 2014 #6

    jtbell

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    Staff: Mentor

    You can at least look at them, can't you? Or does the store have them in a closed-off area where you can't browse?
     
  8. Nov 11, 2014 #7

    ZetaOfThree

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    Gold Member

    Also, if your school has a good library, you can probably find them there.
     
  9. Nov 13, 2014 #8
    Hello, you want to understand the concepts of electromagnetic force and electromagnetism in general, I recommend the following texts: To start:

    Introduction to Electrodynamics David Jeffery Griffiths.

    It's a nice text, focusing on physical, but you can help you a lot. Now, to complement the text I recommend

    Edward M. Purcell Electricity and Magnetism.

    A good book conceptually. and If you want to reinforce all the concepts and apply them to your field I recommend:

    Electromagnetic Compatibility Electromagnetic Theory for Engineers Toh Tze-Chuen. This text is the most advanced but it can help a lot to relate to your area of action.

    All texts require a good knowledge of mathematics, but the first text that I recommended you, brings an overview of the tools do you need to address issues pleasantly. Greetings.
     
  10. Jul 25, 2015 #9
    Hi ,
    The best learning resource would be Richard Feynman lectures on physics.
    He was a marvelous teacher as he always focused on simplicity ,in his lectures he explains things from day today life ,like a rubber band ,salt crystal etc. Professor Feynman always insisted that if you work hard and keep things simple you can excel in physics , his explanations are very simple unlike in other books they will use big integrals/formulas ,Feynman forces you to think simply !

    The lectures are free on internet here - http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu

    The exercises complementing these lectures are here - https://www.amazon.com/Exercises-Fe..._sim_14_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1YY3Q2ES0FJSKQW006XA. (
    Exercises for the Feynman Lectures on Physics Paperback – August 5, 2014
    by Richard P. Feynman & 2 more )


    This book has been featured in discover magazine as
    FROM THE DECEMBER 2006 ISSUE
    25 Greatest Science Books of All Time. http://discovermagazine.com/2006/dec/25-greatest-science-books

    Happy enjoying (not learning ,if you read from this book ,you would enjoy physics ) !
    Avis
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  11. Jul 25, 2015 #10

    micromass

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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    The OP is an aerospace engineering student. Something like the Theoretical Minimum would very likely be way too easy for him, and not indepth enough.

    I would like to hear from the OP what exactly from physics he knows and what he is trying to learn.
     
  12. Jul 25, 2015 #11

    atyy

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    Science Advisor

  13. Jul 25, 2015 #12

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Hi Micro,

    Good to hear from you. From what the OP said I got the feeling that he had yet to take Classical Mechanics and was familiar with Introductory Physics but not with the concept of Least Action hence my recommendation.

    I'd be interested in hearing what he decided to do as this was originally posted in November of 2014.

    -- Jedi
     
  14. Jul 25, 2015 #13

    kith

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    Science Advisor

    I like both the Feynman lectures and the theoretical minimum series, so let me add a comment on the difference between the two.

    The Feynman lectures are extensive. They basically cover all topics of theoretical physics up to the level of a Bachelor's degree. The presentation focuses on physical phenomena and intuition. The theoretical minimum series on the other hand doesn't consider many concrete physical phenomena but focuses on very general ideas like how can we describe a physical system in general. It is also much shorter than the Feynman lectures.

    After having read the theoretical minimum, you will understand the important ideas of modern theoretical physics but you won't be able to apply it much to the real world. After having worked through the Feynman lectures, you will have a more intuitive understanding of the physical phenomena around us.

    /edit: I've just realized that this thread is old, so it probably won't help the OP anymore. Maybe it helps someone else.
     
  15. Jul 25, 2015 #14

    atyy

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    Science Advisor

    I think the theoretical minimum goes further than the Feynman lectures, because I don't think the Feynman lectures cover things like Poisson brackets. The Feynman lectures are basically a freshman physics course.

    Also, although I do love the quantum volume of the Feynman lectures, I now think they are more popsci than serious QM, because they say http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/III_01.html#Ch1-S7 "If an experiment is performed which is capable of determining whether one or another alternative is actually taken, the probability of the event is the sum of the probabilities for each alternative." That would be ok to start, but I don't think the full formalism is given anywhere in the lectures. On the other hand, I think the theoretical minimum does give the full formalism.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2015
  16. Jul 25, 2015 #15

    jasonRF

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    Gold Member

    The OP posted 8 months ago and was "last seen" in December. This is a stale question.
     
  17. Jul 25, 2015 #16

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    I mentioned it too but no one seems to read anymore. Perhaps we should just close the thread.
     
  18. Jul 28, 2015 #17

    jtbell

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    Staff: Mentor

    Done.
     
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