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  1. Nov 21, 2011 #1
    Well, I have become interested in physics and its relationship to philosophy and the mystery of the human conscienceness. I am 17 years old and love to learn new things for myself. I am becoming quite the self-educator lately and I am beginning to learn more about math and science than I ever will in high school. I do need a little help with this self-education as I do not really no where to begin. For someone who has never had a physics or calculus class; what would be the best place to begin. If there is a certain order to learn things in that would allow me to build off of concepts that I have previously learned please let me know. I feel as if I can learn anything if I set myself to it I just need kind of a checklist of things to learn as I go along. If anyone can help I would greatly appreciate it.

    Best Regards,
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2011 #2


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    Welcome to PF! If you are really interested in learning I suggest getting through high school and planning to go to college first. Until then just read everything you can really.
  4. Nov 21, 2011 #3
    Haha, wow I really can see how I came off that way. No way, of course I plan on finishing High School and attending college; I just prefer to learn on my own time. But yeah you are probably right I will just have to start jumping into the various parts of Physics and Calculus. I was just wondering what the basics of each were so I can go ahead and get a basis to start understanding a lot of things on this forum.
  5. Nov 21, 2011 #4


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    Ideally one would take introductory courses in calculus and physics in high school, but sadly, this is not universally the case. Before calculus, one usally masters pre-calculus topics such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, matrices and some basic linear algebra, series, . . . . The intro calculus would have one learning about limits, derivatives and integrals, and some simple ordinary differential equations, and hopefully, one would use these in conjunction with introductory physics, particularly statics, kinematics, and some basic mechanics/dynamics. Also, it would be helpful to learn introductory chemistry at the same time.

    Part of one's education is to learn how to self-educate, i.e., learn how to learn. Much of my learning was done outside of instruction or classroom.

    PF is a good place to get a feel for what's going on.

    Hyperphysics is a good site for looking at topics and the mathematics or physics involved.
  6. Nov 21, 2011 #5
    As mentioned by Astro, it is absolutely essential to master algebra, geometry and trigonometry first. Without it, you have no chance in physics and calculus. The book "Basic Mathematics" by Serge Lang is a very good book on that subject. However, it is not the typical high school book, but rather a real rigorous math book. So expect no fluff or funny pictures :biggrin:

    If you're ready with that, you might want to start calculus. I recommend books like "Practical Analysis in one variable" by Estep. Things like Thomas calculus are also good for a first course.

    The free videos on Khan Academy should also be a huge help.
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