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Free knowledge through internet

  1. Jan 13, 2007 #1
    hi everyone im a new member to this forum and i study physics.. i would like to know if you know any sites with free e-books about physics :confused:
    thanks a lot
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 13, 2007 #2


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    Welcome to PF! The hyperphysics site is a good online resource, which I would recommend. What, specifically, are you looking for? What level are you looking for (as in, at what stage of your education are you at?) If you're more specific, then you'll get better recommendations!

    Please note that is you are looking for copies of textbooks online, then we (probably) cannot discuss that here, due to possible copyright infringement.
  4. Jan 13, 2007 #3
    On the contrary, there are several free and legal physics textbooks on the internet. The below have been made available by the authors.

    Light and Matter - 9 total
    Motion Montain - The Adventure of Physics

    These are just general ones; there are a lot more (both books, websites and video lectures), although I would need to get some more information about what level and subject area you are interested in.
  5. Jan 13, 2007 #4


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    Hi crazyscientist and welcome to PF. You should browse our tutorials sections. We have many links to ebooks and the like. Also check out my website [link in signature].
  6. Jan 13, 2007 #5

    Chris Hillman

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    Watch out!

    crazyscientist, I like the fact that you are seeking information!

    However--- even though you have probably heard this before--- I must caution you to be very very careful about "free books", particularly ones which have not been referreed, as textbooks published by reputable publishers generally are (for example, I happen to know that many academic publishers referee advanced textbook manuscripts submitted by prospective authors, even in the case when the author is a highly respected expert, and this is indeed useful and appropriate since even experts can make a goof which could damage the progress of students too inexperienced to recognize a problem).

    In particular, without naming names, I have grave reservations about at least one of the websites which someone has already mentioned above. Unfortunately, the author of this website is rather notorious for self-promotion of his highly idiosyncratic website, which I would consider to be seriously misleading with sufficient frequency to mitigate its possible usefulness.

    On the other hand, I do know of some excellent course notes on various specialized topics which were later published as now standard textbooks, and these would be reliable sources of information. However, in general, if you want to learn a subject strongly enough to be willing to put in the effort required to master a subject in physics, you should probably be willing to purchase one of the best standard textbooks available, and use that as your main resource. Then you can use on-line resources as secondary sources, with due caution if you are not sure you have good reason to trust them.

    Many years ago, while I was still a graduate student, at the dawn of the Age of the World Wide Web, I put together some websites which were aimed specifically at helping students find reliable sources of information on some specific subjects in math/science. In those days, the web was young, and many of us had great hopes for how it would develop in terms of making good information freely available to anyone anywhere at any time. Unfortunately, to say the least, things have not turned out as we hoped! Today I would not attempt to put up such a website, because I feel that as things have turned out, there is almost no reliable information available on the web, compared to the overwhelming quantity of well intended misinformation, outright crankery, and worse.

    Let me "pre-emptively" add one additional specific caution: be aware that while it is apparently now common practice by students, teachers, journalists, jurists, voters, and policymakers to pretend that the Wikipedia is a stable and reliable source of information, this is not at all true.

    I know of hundreds of physics related articles in the Wikipedia which contain serious misstatements, even articles written entirely by cranks which have remained essentially untouched to date by the alleged "army of watchful eyes". To be sure, I could also list versions of WP articles which were thoughtfully and well written by editors who possess a thorough knowledge of the subject at hand, but even here there is the problem that an article which is good today be much worse tommorrow.

    Wikipedia does often offer good information--- the trouble is that it can be almost impossible for a non-expert to reliably tell the good (versions of specific) articles from the bad ones! In particular, be aware that I have seen some articles which would fool most intelligent readers who were not experts, but which were nonetheless a farrago of misinformation, so you really need to be very cautious in using Wikipedia.

    I should probably add that while I feel that Physics Forums is currently moderated rather well (in comparison to some similar sites), I have spotted quite a bit of misinformation here, only a tiny percentage of which I have attempted to correct.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2007
  7. Jan 13, 2007 #6


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    Well the usual caveat applies: don't believe everything you read in a book. If you consult one source, you almost inevitably won't get the full picture. It is probably different with refereed textbooks though, but nevertheless being cautious can only help.
  8. Jan 13, 2007 #7
    Some good courses are available from MIT OpenCourseWare at http://ocw.mit.edu/ . You'll need RealPlayer to view lectures but I think it's well worth it. The video lectures from Prof. Walter Lewin's physics courses are really good, he's an excellent lecturer.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2007
  9. Jan 14, 2007 #8
    :approve: thanx a lot for ur replies and for the time that u have spend to write them!! well its my first year in a greek university where i study physics
    to be more specificate i wanna know more about electomagnetism but i dont have a lot of money to buy a book wich refers on it that's why i choose internet well if u know something i would like ur help! thanx a lot guys u re great!!!!:approve:
  10. Jan 14, 2007 #9


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    a good distinction is being raised here. Information is basically always free. Knowledge on the other hand has a price - one must do some hard thinking.
  11. Jan 15, 2007 #10
    well this is a truth! well which book good be the best about electromagnetism?
    thanx a lot
  12. Jan 20, 2007 #11


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    I'm going to repeat a question that you must have overlooked, from the second posting in this thread:

    In particular, how much mathematics have you studied?
  13. Jan 20, 2007 #12
    I need to find algebra 2 books online... Its somewhat hard because i think its also called intermediate algebra and the e books are practically nonexistant
  14. Jan 20, 2007 #13


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    Do you know the specific details of what's included in the course?
  15. Jan 20, 2007 #14
    Linear equations, matrices, quadratic functions, radicals, etc.

    Edit: found it buried in the mathmatician thread. thanks mathwonk
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2007
  16. Jan 21, 2007 #15
    The ocw.mit.edu website is awesome.
    The only thing, I want to put a lecture or two on a DVD to watch on TV instead of on the computer because computers hurt my eyes. I have no idea how to do this. I think they did something to the files to stop people selling them or something, but I just want to watch them at home.
    Any ideas?
  17. Jan 21, 2007 #16


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    If you don't mind the quality loss, get a video card with a tv-out and use a DVD recorder, and obviously don't go and do something stupid or illegal now.
  18. Jan 21, 2007 #17
    Thanks for that. Keep an eye out on eBay. Ha, not really.

    I found out a way to download it anyway. I just went to the FAQ section and it said how to do it, so it's cool. Now I just need to change the format so I can put it on the DVD player.

  19. Jan 21, 2007 #18
    Edit: You found it yourself. I took to long to make the post.

    You probably downloaded the 1kb or so 'shortcuts' to the video lectures. Even if you save the link as in the list of video lectures, you are still streaming them online via the shortcut you downloaded.

    For people with a slow internet connection or people who want to have the entire original file just in case, OCW provides a way to download it.

    View the help section for more information:

    http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Global/OCWHelp/help.htm#26 (how to download the videos instead of the shortcuts

    Also note that the RealPlayer format may not be ideal to copy to a DVD and play on a DVD-player.
  20. Jan 21, 2007 #19
    I don't intend to turn this into a tech support thread, but do you know how to change realplayer format .rm to .avi?
  21. Jan 21, 2007 #20


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