1. PF Contest - Win "Conquering the Physics GRE" book! Click Here to Enter
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How to get there? (learning physics)

  1. Jan 7, 2016 #1


    User Avatar

    Greetings folks!

    I am studying Industrial Engineering and that's my freshman year, I have some questions :

    Physics is kind of my hobby although my curriculum hasn't a lot to do with physics I would like to advance on my own.

    As math skills are crucial I have to briefly introduce my condition,I am currently taking calculus course, next midterm I will be taking linear algebra and multivariable calculus and differential equations next year. However, I dont want to wait for them I'd like advance on self-pace.

    ->So what titles should I add to my arsenal for advanced physics? I know that might be an early question but I have to make a mindset for myself.

    ->Is it possible for one to advance in physics on his own? If yes is there any source you can advise or track should I follow?

    ->Quantum mechanics amazes me but as I am completely beginner I just skim the sources. How should I study for that field? What are the required skills for to study and understand the subject properly?

    Thanks a lot!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2016 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    To get your feet wet, you could consider Leonard Susskinds videos online and his books on Classical Mechanics and Quantum Mechanics,. The math is heavier than conceptual physics approaches but not as heavy as what you'd get in a undergrad course. He calls it the theoretical minimum.

  4. Jan 9, 2016 #3
    This is good (and free)
    Teaches Calculus I, II, and III, which should be enough for most engineers, though complex calculus can also be of help, e^iwt is just magical.
    You should also get acquainted with differential equations, sadly i don't have a book for that (the book i used is in Spanish, and isn't a translation)
    I'd honestly wait on physics if you're not being taught so right now, getting all the tools before starting to use them is important, this opinion is not a popular one though.
    Good luck
  5. Jan 9, 2016 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I would strongly agree with what jedishrfu suggests. I have already watched a lot of these lectures in various fields and if you try hard enough to follow, you'll definitely learn a lot and be prepared for more advanced stuff. Also, it's a great idea to dig the insights here in the forum and find many relevant posts. If you are really having the will to learn then impossible is nothing!
  6. Jan 9, 2016 #5
    I would learn calculus 2 before attempting to learn linear algebra. Calculus is not really needed to learn linear algebra. However, Linear Algebra can be abstract and completing more math can help better understands different types of mathematics.

    Do not use solutions manuals. They do not allow to exercise your brain properly. Give an honest attempt in solving the problems. If all else fails, post questions here.

    You can try to read Anton: Elementary Linear Algebra. It is a mixture of theory and applied linear algebra. If it is too hard, try Paul Shields: Elementary Linear Algebra. Shields book stays in R^3. It offers great intuition. Very easy book, but a good book. If you understand Shields, then you may even skip Anton and go to a book of Friedberg's level right after.

    After learning calculus 2, you can start learning Ordinary Differential Equations. There are two books I recommend, Ross: Ordinary Differential Equations and Zill: First Course in Ordinary Differential Equations. Any edition will do, find the cheapest.

    Ross is very informative and Zill can be used as supplement and for problems. I found problems in Ross to be fairly easy, my only complaint of this book.
  7. Jan 11, 2016 #6
    For "advanced" physics(graduate-level EM, QM...) calculus is a basic pre-requisite, if you wanna study these subjects at this level you will gonna need some more, First, study with a good and rigorous book in linear algebra, like Linear Algebra Done Wrong by Treil, Second study from a Mathematical Physics book for the enough base to understand the subjects(Fourier analysis, Complex Calculus, Variational Calculus and many other cool things) i like Boas' Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences
    for a basic understanding, and after that you should study Ordinary Differential Equations with a rigorous book too, and so with Partial Differential Equations(if you want learn advanced EM with Jackson you WILL need a rigorous book on PDEs), and for more advanced fields there is a lot more pre-requisites...
  8. Jan 11, 2016 #7
    I don't agree. If you want to do Jackson, you will need to have a good knowledge of PDE, sure. But a mathematically rigorous book on PDE is unnecessary.
  9. Jan 11, 2016 #8


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    While I like Boa's book, it's probably not going to help you study graduate level physics. If you made it that far, you've probably already seen the majority of Boa's in physic classes. Byron and Fuller is better for that.

    You also don't need rigorous treatment of PDE's for Jackson, the only thing that will help you with that book is a good instructor.

    I also seriously doubt the OP is talking about Jackson/Goldstein/L&L/whatever, to be honest, anyway.

    OP, continue your math. if you don't need to do the basic introductory physics sequence for your major pick up Physics by H&K 4th/5th edition. Go through volume 1 for mechanics. After that, you can either pick two paths -> go through volume 2 for E&M or go through K&K for a more rigorous treatment of mechanics. If you go the K&K route, pick up Purcell for E&M after you finish K&K.

    Since you're doing this in addition to your degree, just going through volume 1 of physics will probably take anywhere from 6 months to a year. The path above is the starting point for most physics majors, and will keep you busy for a while. After that you can get some additional advice here if you decide to continue to study as a hobby. Good luck.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads - learning physics Date
How do i learn math and physics from the ground up? Jan 12, 2018
Studying Learning Math/Physics with ADHD Dec 10, 2017
Admissions Computational physics career change Oct 9, 2017