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Studying How can I teach myself physics?

  1. Dec 11, 2016 #1
    So, I am majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in physics at San Jose State University. I want to learn as much as possible with physics by reading books and taking my future courses at SJSU, but I don't know what books to read. Any recommendations? I want to get pretty close to becoming a theoretical physicist, physics fascinates me and I want to become as knowledgeable as possible with the subject. Please help. I am very good with calculus, it comes very easily to me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 11, 2016 #2
    What kind of (specific) physics/mathematical background do you have? It depends on where you're starting from.
    For intermediate physics, I learned using "Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems" by Thornton and Marion.
    For electricity and magnetism, "Introduction to Electrodynamics," by Griffiths.
    For quantum mechanics, "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics," by Griffiths.
    All of these books have been very helpful for me. I find that the most effective way to teach yourself is to read the book, work problems, and ask your professors questions (but this should come as part of your classes as well).

    I do have one other question, though. Why not just learn from your physics courses? Extracurricular learning is great, but you ought to have a full plate with your classes in Mech E and physics. Save the extra load for when you're done with your physics classes or for when you're sure you'll have free time. Most of these books are significant investments (expensive textbooks), so you'll want to be sure you will derive some benefit from them before buying.
  4. Dec 11, 2016 #3
    I'm not taking a physics course yet, not till next semester, so I'm roughly a month and a half away from taking one. And I just find a huge passion for physics like I want to know nearly everything about it. I want to not just learn physics, I want to perfect it. That's why I want to go over books and learn a lot. @anlon
  5. Dec 12, 2016 #4


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