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Independent Study: MIT OCW-Based Relativity/ Special Relativity

  1. Feb 8, 2014 #1
    Hi, I am a Junior in high school and if I can, I would like to do Independent Study next year based on either the OCW for 8.20 - Intro to Special Relativity or 8.033 - Relativity. I wanted to know if they most likely would be possible for me, if I would need to learn more math for them, and which one I should take and the difficulty of each math-wise. The textbooks they both use are A.P. French's Special Relativity and also Resnick's Intro to Special Relativity. Just to give you an idea of my academic level (and math level), I will list the college and AP courses I've taken/taking that are related to science/engineering/math.

    • AP Chemistry - AP Score: 5
    • AP Physics C (Class will cover both exams) - Currently taking (have A in class)
    • Calculus 1 - A
    • Calculus 2 - A-
    • Calculus 3 (Multivariable) - A
    • Differential Equations - Currently Taking
    • Engineering Materials - A (and currently taking lab for it)
    • Statics - Currently Taking
    • Physical Chemistry 1 + Lab (Just covers Thermo)- Currently Taking
    • Organic Chemistry 1 - A-

    Also, I will be, if I can be taking Linear Algebra and Number Theory with Cryptography (depending if I get accepted into the summer program or not).
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 8, 2014 #2
    AP Physics C isnt perfectly equivalent to college calc. You should over the prereqs 8.01/8.012 8.02/8.022 first
  4. Feb 10, 2014 #3
    Go for it, A.P. French's Special Relativity was the recommended text for my first course in special relativity, and I remember it as being very clear & straightforward.
  5. Feb 10, 2014 #4
    Okay thanks, do I have enough math? And will I need linear algebra?
  6. Feb 11, 2014 #5
    Yeah, you have enough math. As you've aced calculus 3, this book will seem like a walk in the park.
  7. Feb 11, 2014 #6
    Okay, thank you. One last thing, my school won't end up letting me do independent study for it afterall, so if I don't start soon, I doubt I'll get around to it next year (except maybe summer), anyways do I need E&M for it or can I safely start while my AP Physics is just starting E&M?
  8. Feb 11, 2014 #7
    Dig around on the MIT site and you'll usually find prerequisites listed, and we find:

    "8.20 is open to all MIT students who have completed or placed out of 8.01 (Physics I - Classical Mechanics) and 18.01 (Calculus I). Anyone in the MIT community who is familiar with elementary mechanics and who has a good knowledge of algebra (and a little knowledge of calculus) will find the course accessible."

    Your school doesn't get to say what you can do for *truly* independent study. Be a rebel, do it anyway, you will not regret it. It would make a good summer project, this is as near as a physics textbook gets to a beach novel.
  9. Feb 12, 2014 #8
    Okay, will do, I just wanted to make sure I'd be fine without E&M. Just so you know, it's more out of interest than anything else, as it will have almost no application to what I want to go into, chemical engineering. Anyways, thank you fr your help, I will work on it the soonest I can.
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