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How should i begin?

  1. Aug 21, 2011 #1

    I am 14 years old and have come to the conclusion that i want a career as a physicist.
    I am amazed by the universe and i wish to learn all about it.

    I believe that i am very good at all of the math/science subjects that i have studied so far and really want to really extent myself GREATLY in scientific/mathematical areas.

    • I would class myself as an advanced C++ programmer
    • I greatly enjoy absorbing knowledge
    • I am willing to spend MANY hours on achieving my goal
    • I have 2 'good' friends that i only socialize with at school(yes i know its sad so please dont mention it) so i have no social obligations
    • I only do cross country after school on one day of the week
    • I am in semester two of year 8 and still have not received much homework so i have plenty of time

    So, how should i begin by pursuit of this goal
    Any books i can read?
    Could anyone place down a rough, ordered list of what i might want to study Ex. 1.basic trigonometry, 2.quadratic, 3.more advanced algebraic geometry etc.


    FYI: I live in Australia if that affects anything.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 21, 2011 #2
    Well, what do you already know??

    Basically, you should start with basic things like algebra, trig and geometry. You should make lots of exercises on those things to make sure you're comfortable with every little detail. Here is a list of books that might get you started: http://hbpms.blogspot.com/2008/05/stage-1-elementary-stuff.html

    Once you know the elementary stuff, it's time to teach yourself calculus.
  4. Aug 21, 2011 #3
    Important steps are:

    1) Get a girlfriend/boyfriend
    2) maths maths maths
    3) play lots of soccer
    4) maths maths maths

    I think when I was 14 at school we were getting drilled in Algebra pretty well. If you are very, very comfortable with algebra, start looking at calculus.
  5. Aug 21, 2011 #4
    Assuming schools in your country adequately prepare you for university then there is no point in learning school and university curriculum ahead of time just for learning it ahead of time. It'll merely increase the amount of boredom in maths and physics classes that anyone with a bit of talent for the subjects experiences, anyways (except if you're at a really good and/or elitist school that can afford to offer demanding math and science classes). I believe you're better off by playing around with a few projects you find interesting, instead.

    If you want a random proposal for such a project: write a program that simulates the motion of a number of hard metal spheres in a two-dimensional box with a gravitational attraction pointing downwards for different temperatures or different total energies and play around with it, perhaps see if there is some kind of phase transition to be seen. In a second step, you can add some attraction or repulsion between the spheres. Of course I cannot guarantee that you find that interesting, but such a project is feasible for a 14 year-old with adequate programming skills (you can always learn the skills you may be missing) and will probably keep you occupied for a few weeks, at least if you write the thing from scratch.
  6. Aug 22, 2011 #5
    Thanks for the suggestions guys, i looked into some of the books you suggested and they look great. I will be revising algebra I covered a while ago, and then start procalc

    Thanks Again
  7. Aug 22, 2011 #6


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  8. Aug 22, 2011 #7
    Honestly, the best thing you can work on before you go to University is your social skills. You said don't mention it, but social skills will get you farther in life than any skills in mathematics or physics will. If you are a very sociable person, chances are you will meet people who know people who just may be able to get you that job in that field that you've always wanted to work in. Social skills are what make you stand out as a person over all of the other people who bury their faces in books for their entire life.

    Don't spend too much time preparing for University. Like Timo said, you will just get bored once you actually get there. Instead, spend time picking up non-academic skills and do things which you find interesting. I suggest you start running more than once a week, staying physically active is a great habit to pick up early in life as you will keep it for the rest of your life.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you shouldn't try to expand your knowledge of math and physics. Just do it in moderation. You will have plenty of time in your life to teach yourself these things.

    Sorry if this isn't the answer you are looking for.
  9. Aug 22, 2011 #8
    Maths maths maths. There is no point in learning any physics at all unless you are extremely comfortable with maths.
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