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Help a newbie?

  1. Mar 12, 2006 #1
    Hi all,
    I've just registered here and am hoping some of you can help me out a bit. I am thinking of going back to school (OU) to gain either a degree in mathematics or physics. This is simply out of interest and not out of a desire to pursue a career in either of these fields. I already hold an MSc in Psychology and a BSc Psychology / Linguistics. My understanding of maths and physics is, as you might infer, quite limited.

    What I'm looking for are essential places to start - books, sites etc. Real 101 stuff. I simply want to better understand the world I live in so I think that learning one or both of the above topics is a prerequisite to expanding my knowledge. I know that I could "just google it" but I'd appreciate the input of a learned community rather than just clicking on the first things out of a search engine.

    I'd be very grateful if anyone could point my nose in a useful direction. Thanks!

    (Damn, I just noticed I posted this in Skepticism and Debunking instead of the General Discussion forum. Apologies, and if the Mods could move it..?)
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 12, 2006 #2


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  4. Mar 12, 2006 #3

    matt grime

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    OU as in Open University? If so, do you have A-level mathematics, and if so to what standard, and if you don't mind me asking when did you obtain this A-level? (This is owing to A-levels some years ago being somewhat more demanding than current ones, and hence having some 'value added' considerations).
  5. Mar 12, 2006 #4
    Wikipedia has a good mathematics section. It won't tell you how to do much, but it will give you an idea of where things fit together and what you'll need to know before you tackle various topics

  6. Mar 12, 2006 #5
    Yes, Open University. Work and family make it unfeasible to study fulltime anymore. I only have maths O-Level (grade A), but dumped it in favour of (wait for it...) Latin! Such were the choices in the 1970's!! At grad and postgrad levels (80's/90's) I only had exposure to statistics. My maths knowledge since then is strictly layman.
  7. Mar 12, 2006 #6
    Thank you.
  8. Mar 12, 2006 #7
  9. Mar 12, 2006 #8


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    Staff: Mentor

    Being from the USA, I know little about the Open University. Does it have prescribed curricula for degree in mathematics or physics? If not, you might consider looking at the Web sites of other, more traditional, universities to examine their curricula. In the USA, most university Web sites contain or have links to syllabi for individual courses, which will tell you which textbooks are common, and what material instructors commonly select from them. Often you'll also find lecture notes, but those of course are not substitutes for the textbooks.
  10. Mar 13, 2006 #9

    matt grime

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    The OU will definitely have its course on line (some of the teaching is on line these days I think). What prerequisites do the OU suggest? It may be that it doesn't assume A-level knowledge (as every other university will do), and goes over the material. However, it might be a good idea to get hold of an A-level syllabus first to see where you're at.
  11. Mar 14, 2006 #10
    the old ways...

    :approve: y dont u do it the old fassioned way, the library......the best way is,,since this is a hobby(? i think) to read wat u like..it all helps..get about 2 tough ones and 2 easy ones ..and one laymen one..like a brief history of time(only ann example)................dunno if this is good advice...just enjoy it..

    good luck...(get a physics pen pal...thast a new one :rofl:)
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