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Interested in physics books

  1. Feb 5, 2016 #1
    i'm in middles school and am really interested in physics. i've already read a brief history of time and elementary physics. i am interested if any of you have other book suggestion that would teach me physics.

    thank you in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 5, 2016 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

  4. Feb 5, 2016 #3
    thanks a lot
  5. Feb 5, 2016 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    While the Feynman Lectures are excellent, they may be a bit much for someone in middle school.
  6. Feb 5, 2016 #5
    Hello! I'm in middle school too. Unless you're talking about a textbook, what you're looking for is not, to my knowledge, all in one book. My suggestion would be the Kahn academy physics playlist. Also, contrary to what middle schools teach, Wikipedia is a very good resource especially for someone like you trying to self-study physics.
  7. Feb 5, 2016 #6
    Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by David Griffiths
  8. Feb 5, 2016 #7
    Do you really believe this text is accessible to a middle schooler?
  9. Feb 5, 2016 #8
    Mondayman, yes. I think it depends on the person. I know some people who read this book in middle school. Some middle schoolers might get what it written in the book some might not.
    I guess you are right. But this book is interesting and can be read after you have gotten around the basics in quantum physics. Maybe after middle school ☺
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
  10. Feb 6, 2016 #9
    Griffiths' QM has three semesters of calculus and one semester of differential equations required as a bare minimum in order to even understand the first couple of chapters, not to mention the standard introductions to newtonian mechanics and electromagnetics required to get some kind of physics background so that things like forces and fields make sense. Most middle schoolers are preparing to take their first course in high school algebra.

    I'd venture to say that unless these kids are supergeniuses, it's unlikely they got a lot out of the book.

    Also, reading a textbook alone means nothing. You should be able to work the problems in the textbook. That's the important part.
  11. Feb 6, 2016 #10
    I can only echo what axmls said. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy peeking at advanced physics and math texts, but there really is nothing you can gain from them if you do not have the prerequisite knowledge. I highly doubt a middle schooler will meet those prereqs.
  12. Feb 6, 2016 #11
    Mondayman and axmls both of you are right. This book is advance for middle schoolers. And its true reading it just like that won't mean anything unless you know what exactly is going on.
    But the op can read it after taking advanced level maths and physics. I personally really like this book and am doing my a levels currently.
  13. Feb 6, 2016 #12
  14. Feb 6, 2016 #13
    Let's not make generalizations. I don't know the OP's level, and he may very well be able to understand it. I am reading it now and while it takes a while for me to understand some of it, I find it very useful. The only way the OP will know is if he reads the first few pages.
  15. Feb 6, 2016 #14
    And how do you make sure you understand what is written, as opposed to thinking you understand it while you really don't? The latter is very very common.
  16. Feb 6, 2016 #15
    Well, if OP knows something about calculus and linear algebra and a little about PDEs and ODEs he may understand the book and do some exercises to fix the concepts, and no one have to be a genius to learn from Griffith book tho.., well depends from the OP, first i ask what math are you confortable OP? Have you seen calculus already?
  17. Feb 6, 2016 #16
    The OP is in middle school, which amounts to about 12-14 years old, at most, at least where I'm from. Sure you don't have to be a genius, but as far as I know, PDE's and linear algebra aren't taught at the middle school level. The OP probably shouldn't cough up 200 bucks on a textbook that will be 99.99% inaccessible.

    George Gamow released some entertaining little books: 1,2,3... Infinity, and Mr. Tompkins. Biographies such as Genius by James Gleick or Subtle is the Lord by Abraham Pais might be interesting (I think Pais' does contain lots of technical stuff - I've never read this one myself). Sagan's Cosmos and Pale Blue Dot aren't exactly physics but they are terrific reads for anyone interested in science.
  18. Feb 6, 2016 #17
    How many middle schoolers do you know that know calculus, linear algebra, ODEs and PDEs? And you do also need some background in physics to be able to do Griffiths' text as well. So, working backwards with how long it takes to get a good grasp on that material, are we to believe this person started teaching themself calculus in the 5th grade?

    I think the OP wants more realistic suggestions than a Junior-to-senior level undergraduate quantum mechanics textbook.
  19. Feb 6, 2016 #18
    Well in my country highschool go until 17 years-old, which can perfectly learn calculus, ODEs and so on and tackle a book like this.

    And i'm highschool and i have 16 years-old, i baralely can speak english like you can see, and i managed to learn calculus and other things, yes, its possible!
  20. Feb 6, 2016 #19
    Sure, I have known quite some high schoolers doing quite advanced math and physics for their age. (Although Griffiths in middle school? No, I don't buy that).
    The biggest issue however is to know whether you're really learning something the way it is, or whether you're just telling yourself you know it without actually knowing it. It's certainly not impossible for a 16-17 year old to learn advanced math and really understand it. But I'll also so that the majority of 16-17 year olds reading advanced textbooks are just lying to themselves and don't really understand it.

    This is not a problem with age. Everybody self-studying without help will have this problem. Thinking you understand something adequately happens more often than actually understanding something adequately.
  21. Feb 6, 2016 #20
    Even after taking Calculus, ODEs PDEs, and Linear Algebra along with upper level Electromagnetism and Mechanics I still felt that I didn't truly understand Griffiths beyond simply cranking through the math...
  22. Feb 6, 2016 #21
    This might have to do with the fact that Griffiths QM is a horrible book...
  23. Feb 7, 2016 #22

    Vanadium 50

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    If someone says they are in "middle schools", it is fair to suggest books appropriate to typical middle schoolers, and not books that make the assumption that he is in the 0.00000000001% of middle schoolers who are ready for upper division college texts. This is an assumption, yes, but it is a better assumption than the alternative - that despite explicitly saying middle school, he really wants texts at the advanced collegiate level: just like it's a better assumption that because he asked in English he is looking for books in English and not Ancient Mayan.

    On a second topic, Micromass is completely right about self-studiers thinking they know something when they don't. This is particularly prevalent among the fast self-studiers: "I spent a week learning calculus, and two days learning differential equations, and I understand everything - I just can't work the problems." Uh-huh. Right. The technical forums are filled with self-studiers confusing newcomers by explaining things to them. Things that are wrong.
  24. Feb 7, 2016 #23

    George Jones

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    Too much like The Beatles' first number one hit in the US?
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