I am a layman in physics. I am a programmer. I am not looking for a career in physics. But I do want to understand physics. I know it's not really possible if I can't read the math. I feel that if I could just read the equations, ie at least know what the symbols represent then I could begin to sit with them and begin to actually understand them. Like reading philosophy texts... You don't necessarily have to understand it on the first read, but you begin by first at least knowing the language it is written in. So I want to at least understand what mathematicians write, or read about string theory and try to understand what is really meant in the words by reading the accompanying equations. I realize this might take time staring at an equation - maybe even for several days. That is OK. What I want to know is: is this even practical/possible for a layman? If so, where to begin to learn?