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How can I learn Physics and the necessary Mathematics?

  1. Mar 16, 2015 #1
    I joined this forum recently in the hope that I could get advice on how to start learning Physics and the necessary Mathematics. I also joined in the hope that I could find some like minded people who are also curious about the world. As of now I have no idea about how I will start learning Physics. I have considered going through Khan Academy's courses ,but I doubt whether or not they are actually effective at teaching. I have not learned an ounce of Calculus yet ,or even some of the most basic concepts of Physics. I hope some of the like minded people out there could give me some advice about how to start learning Physics.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2015 #2
    Well tell us more about your background. What types of mathematics are you intimately familiar with and what types of aspirations do you have for your study of physics?

    For example, are you quite comfortable with trig identities? Do you know anything about complex numbers or have any exposure to linear algebra? Do you have a background in statistics? Have you achieved a competence in senior high school "pre-calculus"? Any information is useful to us here.
  4. Mar 16, 2015 #3
    Well I am in 8th Grade at the moment and I am pretty familiar with a good portion of Algebra, Geometry, and Arithmetic (To be honest I do need to review a lot of the concepts).I want to learn Physics because I find that it is one of the most fulfilling subjects that I can learn. I am intrigued by Physics and how it has evolved over the course of human history, but yet I do not even have a basic foundation in it. I do not want to rely on the school system to teach me Physics and other fields in science. At the moment I want to get a basic foundation in Physics and the Mathematics required.
  5. Mar 16, 2015 #4
    I would strongly recommend that your main focus (but not only focus) be on achieving excellent grades in all your science and mathematics courses in school. Pay special attention to mathematics when in secondary school and take any stand-alone physics courses you can. Also study chemistry.

    Apart from those obvious solutions, I would highly recommend you make friends with the following websites.

    Simple English Wikipedia - http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

    Mainly for the science articles. Go click-crazy. Very few mathematics are involved and many of the science articles are written quite well and intelligibly for the layperson or the inexperienced.

    Hyperphysics - http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html

    This is a WONDERFUL website that I still consult as a senior physics major. It is a great resource for explaining basic concepts and even delves into not-so-basic stuff. You'll also find plenty of mathematics to chew on.

    I would also advise you to get subscriptions to science magazines if you can afford them - Scientific American is a good one, or Physics World, or Physics Today. I'd also recommend to subscribe to Youtube channels like "Minute Physics", "Veritasium", "Numberphile", "Computerphile", "Periodic Videos", "Objectivity", "Sixty Symbols" and others that pique your interest. Also, read pop science books by people like Michael Green or Sean Carroll or Michio Kaku. Some of the greats even wrote not-so-technical books like Einstein's "Relativity" or Schrödinger's "What Is Life" or "My View of the World".

    You could also stand to try your hand at high school level algebra/geometry/trigonometry by using Youtube judiciously.
  6. Mar 16, 2015 #5
    Furthermore, be sure to read PhysicsForum every day, and start threads to ask questions and clarifications. The people here are extremely happy to help anyone who asks politely and with the intent to understand. PM me if you need more help or some more specific direction.
  7. Mar 16, 2015 #6
    Thanks for the advice! I greatly appreciate it.
  8. Mar 16, 2015 #7
    In addition to what has been mentioned in the previous replies, I strongly recommend a book called Conceptual Physics by Paul G. Hewitt. It's a very very sound physics book for beginners, and it hardly uses any math.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015
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