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Can anyone learn Physics alone (without a teacher) ?

  1. Dec 13, 2013 #1
    Can anyone learn Physics alone (without a teacher) ??

    I'm doing a research about { If students can study Physics without teachers } and I need answers to these questions , please...:confused:

    1-What are the topics in Physics which the student MUST learn in the beginning of learning Physics ?
    2-What are the mathematical topics (or theories) which the student should study before studying Physics ?
    3-What are the Chemistry topics which the student should study before studying Physics (to help him) ?
    4-What is the average time would the student take to be perfect in Physics ?
    5-What is the best branch of Physics to study (Thermodynamics -Nuclear Physics -Electromagnetism -.....) {or any other branch}

    :smile:Thanks everybody..:smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2013 #2


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    Have you tried looking at a typical college level curriculum? If not, try it! You will find similarities in an undergraduate curriculum in many schools. That should be your starting point in figuring out what all physics majors must know.

    I've also outlined the relevant subject areas in my "So you want to be a physicist" essay.

    The "best " branch of physics is a meaningless categorization since it is highly subjective.

  4. Dec 13, 2013 #3
    I would start with classical mechanics. Then you should then do electromagnetism. Books like Kleppner and Purcell are very difficult but very valuable if you want to continue in physics. Don't start with these books, but you should do them once.

    Before you can do algebra-based physics, you should have a nice grasp on basic algebra, geometry, trig and precalc. Not all these topics will be necessary, but you need a good grasp on mathematics nevertheless.

    Actual physics is calc-based however. And for that you need to know calculus, multivariable calculus and differential equations (although easy books like Halliday will just require a very modest amount of calculus, but the harder the book, the more math you'll need).

    I don't think chemistry is a hard requirement. It might help in some way though.

    Depends on you. Might be a month, might be a lifetime. You'll never be perfect though.

    Depends on you.
  5. Dec 13, 2013 #4
    The four main theories in physics are currently Classical Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Quantum Mechanics, and Thermal/Statistical Physics. There are numerous other very interesting fields, but most of them rely on the concepts established in the above areas.

    To pursue physics in earnest, one will need Calculus (up to multivariable and vector analysis), linear algebra, ordinary and partial differential equations, complex variables, and probably some group theory.

    Probably just General chemistry. Chemistry in general doesn't help that much in phsyics, except for maybe giving some problem solving skills (although chemistry is probably a good thing to know for fields like condensed matter and material science).

    You will never be perfect. Professors spend the better part of their lives doing physics and any of them will tell you they are not perfect at physics.

    Completely up to personal preference. If you want to go at it from the angle of what field is best to know for applications, there are other resources for that.
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