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Engineer wants to self learn undergrad physics

  1. Oct 28, 2012 #1
    Okay, first of all im hoping I have posted this in the correct place.

    So the background is the following, I currently have an engineering degree but wish to actually expand my knowledge more in the physics side of things.I just would like to know a level of physics up to undergrad standard just because im interested more than anything.

    Now im just asking the question of what I would have to study/look at in order to get myself to that kinda standard. Obviously im okay with math, I know there are a few nuances with mathematical methods that differ and new techniques but I shouldn't have a problem with them. I will however have to relook over the math as I have not done it for a while but I expect it to come back.

    So really im looking for maybe some books or video courses that would take me through all the topics that you would learn in an undergrad physics course.

    I own the Feynman lectures on physics books but I really need questions and solutions I can get through in order to check my understanding, you obviously cannot learn by just reading you need to apply what you find out. If you can suggest maybe one or two books that are fairly comprehensive and include some mathmatical methods that would help.

    Thanks to everyone who replies.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 29, 2012 #2
    Maybe take a look at the physics program where you did your engineering degree? That might give you an idea of what sort of sequence to follow and what sort of math courses the physics students take that you wouldn't have taken.

    Then it would be a matter of getting math/physics textbooks, finding online lectures, and slowly working your way through the material. If you're just working on this stuff in your spare time, I suspect that learning all the physics that an undergrad in a physics program would learn and actually understanding it well is going to take quite some time.
  4. Oct 29, 2012 #3
    Okay cool I will look into it, I dont know where I would find out about the physics course as it was a long time ago.

    I was really hoping there would be a basic book with questions that has all the topics in I could work through.

    I realise it will take time but im interested I wanted to do a physics degree but I wouldnt be able to afford to do one now plus the knowledge is more important than a certificate
  5. Oct 29, 2012 #4
    If you were to study electrodynamics, quantum mechanics, mechanics, thermodynamics and possibly optics, you'd pretty much have covered the undergraduate curriculum.

    The most popular electrodynamics and quantum mechanics texts are by Griffiths, and I recommend them highly. Hecht is common for optics, and Kittel/Kroemer for thermodynamics, but they're just good at best. The situation is murkier for undergraduate mechanics.

    Hope this helps.
  6. Oct 29, 2012 #5
    I will look in to those books thanks.

    To be honest the topics I am interested in are electrodynamics, relativity, quantum mechanics and thermodynamics. Mechanics is something I have done a fair amount of.

    If anyone can suggest some more or even some online courses that would be great.

    Its a shame the feynman lectures don't have questions and solutions because I have them.
  7. Oct 29, 2012 #6
    Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics?
  8. Oct 29, 2012 #7
    Ah yea that would be a no on that front so they need to be in there.
  9. Oct 29, 2012 #8
    You should really learn a little about these before you start quantum mechanics. It will make the mathematics much clearer.

    As for relativity... there really isn't much to it. You don't touch general relativity at all as an undergraduate, and a decent chapter from any standard undergraduate textbook should be all you need.
  10. Oct 29, 2012 #9
    I am actually looking at doing the same sort of thing, I am currently an undergrad student and would frankly rather learn the material on my own.

    Any interest in summing forces? Our goals are essentially the same.
  11. Oct 30, 2012 #10
    Yea sure why not, we just have to find a good way of going about it.
  12. Oct 30, 2012 #11
    we did GR in undegrad
  13. Oct 30, 2012 #12
    OK, you don't *usually* touch GR in undergrad. :smile: I've seen some courses that use Schutz's book, but it's not really a part of the standard undergraduate curriculum.
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