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Interesting topics in Physics to learn

  1. Aug 14, 2013 #1
    Hi guys,

    I'm just wondering if you guys have something that can be described as your entry-point in learning Physics. It's because I'm planning to do self-study using University Physics books before entering university and the problem is I can be quite bored with some of the routine topics if I started from the beginning chapter on. (e.g vector addition, units analysis) It's not that I'm saying that I've mastered all of them to their smallest detail, it's just I want to learn physics for fun, and I have no problem to go back to previous 'routine' topic just to understand some of the interesting bits. Hopefully I will be more motivated to learn all of the previous topics in the process.

    It's like when someone get a bit bored and started to search for random articles in Wiki, and then from then learn all of the nice interesting things that lead to that particular article. I want to know if you can recommend me this entry point so to say.

    Thank You
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2013 #2

    Claude Bile

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    What do you have a natural interest in? Are you more into theory or applied physics?

    Offhand, I think astronomy is fascinating (as a non-expert) - also, learning some basics of how telescopes and microscopes work could pay off in the long run, as chances are you will use them at some point if you study physics at uni.

    Also, keep an ear out for any public physics lectures that might be on, university open days, etc. Talking to people that do physics is so much more inspiring that just reading about it!

    Good luck.

  4. Aug 16, 2013 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    I liked mechanical energy. It felt nice to be able to easily solve problems which would have been very difficult to solve with forces.
  5. Aug 16, 2013 #4
    I guess I am more inclined to do theory but I take it that's because I have few experience with applied physics. I agree with you that astronomy can be fascinating, it's the natural place to go after watching all of those classic sci-fi. I've played Orbiter too for some time in the past. Do you have some books to recommend, or even websites?

    Is this related to Lagrangian mechanics?
  6. Aug 16, 2013 #5
    The Lagrangian is kinetic energy minus potential energy, where the mechanical energy is kinetic plus potential, a change of a sign, but it makes a difference.

    Various people find various topics interesting. I personally found mechanical energy to be the most interesting part of Newtonian mechanics as well, along with momentum.

    Your typical first year physics class tends to be pretty boring. If you're interested in really getting to know Newtonian mechanics, I would suggest using a book like "An Introduction to Mechanics" by K&K.

    I personally find EM to be much more interesting than classical mechanics, but it's all personal opinion.
  7. Aug 16, 2013 #6
    I think energy was one of the most interesting parts of mechanics but find EM to be more interesting in general.

    However, that being said I found Thermodynamics rather boring but found my class on Climate Physics (heavily based in thermo) very stimulating.

    I'll agree that it can be boring to start at the beginning - the beginning is usually rather dry (vectors or a review of basic algebra required etc.) but I think of you jump in most places you'll find something of interest pretty quickly.

    Optics might be a fun place to start.
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