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Independent study of Physics

  1. Nov 19, 2011 #1
    I have always had a passing interest in physics, but would like to strengthen my knowledge of physics. I am looking for a good sequence of topics to begin my studies and work through physics content. I had a basic physics course in college, but would probably need to refresh my knowledge. So any advice on the order to attack physics as a hole would be great. Any suggestions of good text to use for each topic that would appreciated as well, and good online resources.

    I have a little mathematical background as well. I have taken the calculus sequence, differential equations, abstract algebra, linear algebra (matrix theory), and foundations of geometry, might be another one in there I dont remember. I assume I will need to strengthen my math with the growing level of physics I study. Any suggestions on what math I should learn as well?

    I also assume there is already a thread with this information, so even direction to that would be much appreciated.

    Thanks everyone
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2011 #2
  4. Nov 21, 2011 #3
    I think this quote indicates the limited usefulness T'Hoofts site, by his own admission:

    "Note that this site NOT meant to be very pedagogical. I avoid texts with lots of colorful but distracting pictures from authors who try hard to be funny."

    T'Hooft is a good physicist, and it's worth seeing what he has to say, but he doesn't have a very friendly attitude. I wouldn't recommend learning physics the way he says. Only T'Hooft could do that and manage to be successful.

    He has this sort of macho attitude. I think there's a place for macho, but he's macho in the wrong way, for the most part. Yeah, you should probably try to learn some stuff from a bad textbook at some point, just so you have the experience of trying to outsmart it. But, for the most part, I think it's a terrible idea. There is just too much to learn for it to make any sense to make it harder than it has to be. You don't need to throw in obstacles in your way. The CONCEPTS should be made easy. The PROBLEMS are what should be hard. But even the problems shouldn't be too hard. Just hard enough to make you struggle, but still succeed.

    So, read what he has to say. He may have some good advice. But I would take it with a grain of salt.
  5. Nov 21, 2011 #4
    Just start reading the Feynman lectures on physics. Study all math concepts that you are struggling with. There is no better way to start with physics :smile:
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