1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    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!

Studying I want to study real physics as a beginner

  1. Jan 20, 2016 #1
    Physics has always intrigued me and being that I love science, I think this would be a great opportunity to gain knowledge. I am currently a freshman in high school and I find that most of the things be taught here, how should I say this? Boring. Since I want to start physics and being that I am a beginner it would be great if this community would point me at the right direction as to where to start. My goal currently is to find a few books to read and learn about physics as a beginner.

    PS. I have no knowledge of calculus
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2016 #2
    If you want to study real and actual physics, you better start by getting good at math, particularly calculus. So what math are you comfortable with and what math not at all? Do you know trigonometry, geometry? If so, you can start studying calculus.
  4. Jan 20, 2016 #3
    I have done SOME geometry and trigonometry, I am currently doing honors algebra and most likely moving up to honors geometry next year when I am a sophomore.
  5. Jan 20, 2016 #4
    Well, you need to be extremely comfortable with trigonometry. So you might want to fix that first, and then you can do calculus.
  6. Jan 20, 2016 #5
    Where shall I start then?
  7. Jan 20, 2016 #6


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Do Geometry, then take Trig or Pre-Calculus.
  8. Jan 20, 2016 #7
    Is there a possibility I can read any books? for beginners?
  9. Jan 20, 2016 #8
  10. Jan 21, 2016 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    What is "real physics"?

  11. Jan 21, 2016 #10
    That was my first thought, too. Maybe experiments - as compared to "virtual" pen&paper calculations or computer simulations. But experience tells me that is not what the average person on the Internet considers "real physics".
  12. Jan 21, 2016 #11
    Is there anything I can read on? Without knowing calculus or any of the above I haven't started yet?
  13. Jan 21, 2016 #12


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    There are plenty of pop-science books that you can read, and most of them don't require a lot of math. But that is no different than trying to learn French but by reading an English translation.

    I still want to know what you mean by "real physics". As a physicist, I want to know what someone like you deem something to be real physics.

  14. Jan 21, 2016 #13
    Sure, there's a lot you can read on without requirement basic high school math. But I wouldn't count any of it as real physics (whatever that means to you, I don't know). You can probably have quite a bit of fun with some experimental physics and chemistry though. They sell quite a lot of experiment kits where you can learn quite a bit of things with. No math required.
  15. Jan 21, 2016 #14
    Do you recommend any books?
  16. Jan 21, 2016 #15
    Books on what topic exactly? Did you see my link in my previous posts?
  17. Jan 21, 2016 #16
    Meaning is there a possibility that I can understand physics without the calculus? That may seem a little odd. Are there any physics books like that?
  18. Jan 21, 2016 #17
    Calculus was invented exactly for the reason that it was a logical method for making observational/empirical physics understandable.
  19. Jan 21, 2016 #18
    So there's no way of me understand physics if I don't learn calculus/ the basics first correct?
  20. Jan 21, 2016 #19
    Nivek study nyc regents physics if you want real physics with no calculus.
  21. Jan 21, 2016 #20


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Learn the basics, then take AP physics in high school. If it isn't offered, enroll in a CC while in high school. There's no point rushing, learn what needs to be learned at the moment.
  22. Jan 24, 2016 #21
    I note that Student100 advises: Learn what needs to be learned a t the moment. The OP (original poster) does not say what science the student is currently taking in school. I second S100's advice. When you apply to college, they are going to look at grades in biology, chemistry and or earth science as well as physics. In addition you may want recommendations from the biology teacher (I remember I did). Try to develop interests in all sciences. Most successful scientists are pretty well-rounded.

    You (the OP) brings up an interesting point. I think many responses suggested that studying what has pejoratively called "pop" science usually before the college level is not worth anything. Perhaps this is true if you are trying to get college credit. However I contend that your exposure to "pop" science at the elementary level can enhance your interest, and sustain you later in life. Looking back, when I was having a hard time doing difficult problem sets in physics from graduate and upper undergraduate textbooks, I would ask myself, "What am I doing all this hard work for?" Most often I thought back to how I felt when I started out learning the "pop" physics as a pre-teen and teen.

    I can recommend Matter, Earth and Sky, by George Gamow. Mr. Tompkins by George Gamow. Non-fiction books by Asimov. Perhaps, Conceptual Physics by Hewitt. Some of these might be hard to obtain. I know Matter Earth Sky is really old. Intelligent Man's guide to physical science by Asimov is even older.

    Nivek suggests the New York State Regents Book for Physics is physics without calculus. I just took some exams after finding the book in the store. I think the topics introduced in the blue book accompanying the test book is quite good.
  23. Jul 1, 2016 #22
    You may want to try Basic Physics by Karl F. Kuhn. It's "real" physics with easy math.

    Try downloading free books from www.ck12.org. The site has free conceptual and "real" books. You have to sign in as a member (free signup using your email address). National Council of Educational Research and Training also has free books for download. I forgot the exact site for download. Kindly google "NCERT."

    You may want to try the Demystified and For Dummies books. You have to try and err before you can find the book that suits your need and level of understanding.

    I always make it a point to read more than one book (different authors and publishers) because my favorite book may be weak at explaining a topic that the other book/s can explain well.

    Good luck.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted