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Independent Study High Energy - Particle Physics

  1. Mar 22, 2013 #1


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    I, like many others, am interested in studying physics on my own as my school doesn't offer any kind of physics for ninth graders. (The tenth grade physics class isn't very in depth either; I took part of it in 8th grade). I have exhausted what Khan Academy has to offer, and I am wondering if anyone here could refer me to some good, free, online resources to further my education in high energy/particle physics.

    The majority of what I know comes from last summer, where I stayed up all night, every night on a laptop. One tab was up with these forums, several others up with wikipedia, trying to make sense of everything they said. I watched Khan Academy during the day. After doing this all summer, I can easily understand almost all of the posts in the high energy and particle physics section, with my one blatant weakness being calculus.

    As you can imagine, staying up all night didn't help in making it an efficient study. Studying on my own didn't really leave me with strong roots in the subject, so I feel the need to take a full out course from beginning to end, with a curriculum to fill in the gaps I have probably missed. I think it will make for a good, thorough review as well.

    The quicker the better, I don't know how long this hype of physics will last, even though it has lasted longer than my hype of: Ham Radio, flying planes, flying model planes, programming, guitar etc.

    So when I proudly say "When I grow up, I'm going to be a physicist!", don't listen.


    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 22, 2013 #2
    Hi, I know exactly how you feel. So I'm not going to give you some kind of advice like " you ought to study the basics first" cause I know it seems really boring and this can demotivate you.

    I would suggest you to keep reading (not too advanced) about particle physics to keep your interest awake. But from experience, I would suggest you to learn a bit about functions and a little calculus. Then move on to classical mechanics and apply what you learnt about the mathematics there. Trust me, it won't be boring at all. Plus find someone who could guide you in your ambition.

    Best of luck.
  4. Mar 22, 2013 #3
    At your level all you could learn is the name of things and regurgitation ala history. I would work through math reqs and classical mech including lagrangians.
  5. Mar 25, 2013 #4
    Without knowledge of the mathematics required, ex. Calc I-III, linear algebra and ODE, you won't be able to get too far. You can definitely still learn a lot on the qualitative side, but as you go deeper into the subject, you'll NEED higher math to understand how the theories make sense, ex. quantum mechanics. So my advice would be to study the math courses I've mentioned.
    You don't need a deep knowledge of these to understand the physics, but you need to understand the derivations for crucial concepts, or else your "understanding" will be superficial.
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