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Book for a Beginner in Astrophysics and Quantum Physics teaching its Math side by sid

  1. May 31, 2010 #1
    Hello Everyone!

    I too am a new member in this forum. I would like to thank Karkas for starting a thread on a topic, I spent the chief of today looking for on the internet, but, without much success.

    I too am a 16 year old, and my interests are somewhat similar to Karkas's with an addition of Astrophysics. I, since I was 3 have been interested in Physics, more specifically, the ways of the Universe. As a matter of fact, as a toddler, the pictures in an Isaac Asimov's encyclopedia interested me to such an extent that it played a major part in how I taught myself to read.

    All went well till I was 11. I knew about supernova's, dark matter, the bending of light and other such things, you'd find in basic encyclopedias pretty throughly. My enthusiasm was to such an extent that I usually used to get thrown out of class for two reasons primarily- for asking too many questions, or for answering to many, enthusiastically despite repeated warnings from the teacher about not asking out of my turn.

    Then, I joined a boarding school.

    This is when I saw a catastrophic change in my choice of passions. Owing to a few bad grades in Physics and the general requirement of the school to excel in as many activities you can, I began focusing more and more on sports, music and studies in general.

    Though I do not regret the amount I achieved, being an above average student and learning to play the piano along with being a district champion in athletics, I lost touch with the subject, which I today, regard as the most important thing to ever happen to me- The Universe.

    I am on student exchange at the moment, and having enough time to do according to my wishes without worrying about the academic pressure, I watched a BBC Documentary about called Atom last week.

    Such was its effect that, it has rekindled in me a passion, I'd once lost. I've been watching as many documentaries as I can till today, having just finished one. And I feel that I really want to learn about Physics all again.

    Each passing day finds me more and more interested in the subject, but it as a whole but two specific topics of it, or I should say three. Nuclear, Astro and Quantum.

    I really dont want to lose this interest again, and for that I want to educate myself as much as I can.

    Having gone through the previous posts, I figured one thing out. That you have to have an understanding of Calculus among many other things. For this, I will start with my Calculus tomorrow itself. I am supposed to be taught Calculus this year anyways, but owing to my rocketing interest and the sense of conciousness that I cannot make a further leap into the subjects without a better understanding, I plan to pre-pone my plans a bit.

    Can you suggest a book which will come in Handy. A book which I can rely on to educate myself a bit more than my class? Any answers would be very welcome.

    I hope you excuse me for this horribly wrong post, but I feel very strongly for the subject and couldn't think of any other way to tell you more about myself.

    Any replies would be immensely appreciated.

    Thank You! :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 1, 2010 #2
    Re: Book for a Beginner in Astrophysics and Quantum Physics teaching its Math side by

    For general interest, I can recommend:

    Feynman - 6 Easy Pieces / 6 Not So Easy Pieces

    At a slightly more advanced level, but still very readable, I can recommend,

    Liddle - An Introduction To Modern Cosmology
    Coughlan - The Ideas Of Particle Physics

    I used both books as part of my third year undergraduate studies, but they don't assume much prior knowledge, and offer good explanations alongside the mathematical derivations, to the extent that you can understand most of the material in principle without the need to follow all the mathematical detail.

    It's difficult to suggest a good introductory textbook, as most of the ones I've come across have been big textbooks that guide the reader through the entirety of a first year undergraduate physics course, which is a little uninspiring - though obviously very important.
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