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Studying I want to learn a lot about science

  1. Jul 14, 2017 #1
    Hello. I'm not very good at reading, but I want to get better. I like science a lot, so, I want to maybe get some science books to enlarge my knowledge base and improve my reading capabilities. I'm looking for some recommendations for good science books.

    Some books I'm interested in: General Science, Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry.

    BTW, I'm a beginner with science, so I really have no idea about anything in science.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2017 #2


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    How old are you? Where are you in school? What math have you taken?
  4. Jul 14, 2017 #3


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    In my opinion these are two contradicting goals you have there. To improve your reading it might be better to chose a field in which you're firm and which doesn't need so many secondary and third thoughts beside of what is written like science does. So novels might be a better choice with respect to this goal.

    To learn something about science, you could either read popular books, which are easier to read but leave out at least 90% of what really matters, or scientific textbooks, which are by no means easy to read and usually follow a grading, which means they assume the reader knows a lot of basics in mathematics as well as in physics.
    I you chose the first path, then the various books by S.Hawking or M.Kaku might be of interest to you. A while ago it was "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by D.Hofstadter or "Fermat's last theorem" by S.Singh. Nowadays it's more books like Hawking's "A Brief Theory of Time". However, none of those are actually science. They are written to give a broad readership an insight into science. They are very good appetizers.
    So if you chose the second path, then you must be aware that science is a marathon, not a sprint. You will have to build up a lot of knowledge in fundamental theories like calculus or classical physics, before you will be able to understand the many details at the top. To read real scientific textbooks means, that most part of it is done outside the book: sketches, auxiliary calculations, readings of additional sources and so on. This path is by far the more exciting one, but at the same time - unfortunately - the slowest.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  5. Jul 14, 2017 #4
    phinds: I'm going into 8th grade after summer. So far, Pre-ish-Algebra, Statistics, and Probability.

    fresh_42: Thanks. I'm willing to learn some calculus, but I might be too stupid. I think I'd be able to understand some basic calculus, but I'm not sure. I've been interested in technology and certain parts of science, so I'm pretty motivated to learn. I also don't just want to learn the simple things that do nothing. I want to learn as many complex things in science as possible, at my level of intelligence.
  6. Jul 14, 2017 #5
    As I said, I want to learn science so I can actually build something, or do something interesting, rather than just storing the knowledge. I'm very interested in Astronomy and Aerospace, (this is why I made it bold in my first question) so, I'd like to actually build a rocket, or a satellite with an Arduino or something like that.
  7. Jul 14, 2017 #6


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    Well, before you become an engineer or an expert in aerodynamics, I think you will have to store a lot of knowledge. Aerodynamics probably involves some higher mathematics as well as engineering does.

    Also our insight articles (see selection menu on this page and the extra search function there) offer plenty of opportunities to read. However, their degree of complexity and preconditions vary. Here are two (actually four) which I've found on a quick search.


    We have even a selection there on "How to self-study calculus / linear algebra / ......."

    In astronomy there are really a lot of possibilities online to learn something, e.g. the Wikipedia entries on the many astronomical objects and many other websites, too. NASA's Hubble pages alone probably offer plenty of stuff. If you meant more of cosmology, then Hawking's books might be a beginning or an appetizer. At least they can make you curious to ask the interesting questions. The way to get them answered will lead you automatically to more and more advanced stuff. But you can achieve this without such a book, too.

    It is difficult for us to name certain books, as this depends on so many unknowns (see my post #3). As I said before, it's a marathon and the road isn't always funny and easy. I don't think one can start to become an expert in any of the fields without knowing what differentiating, integrating or differential equations are, or without knowing what already Galileo, Newton, Copernicus and Kepler found out. And these are only a few methods and names. On the other hand, those results cannot be found in easy to read books. What you can do is, get a book about the night sky, the milky way or similar. This way you can improve your reading and your knowledge. And of course, at best in your native language.
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