- #1

FourEyedRaven

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Hi.

I have a background in mathematics and I want to learn physics up to the skill level of an MSc in Theoretical Physics (the background story is below, in case you have time to read that). I've been looking around for books and online classes and I've come up with this plan. What would you add, or correct? Do you think it provides a solid enough education in theoretical physics to apply to a PhD program?

The Theoretical Physics series by Wolfgang Nolting. It covers the undergraduate core courses in 8 books:

(1) Classical Mechanics

(2) Analytical Mechanics

(3) Electrodynamics

(4) Special Theory of Relativity

(5) Thermodynamics

(6) Quantum Mechanics - basics

(7) Quantum Mechanics - methods & applications

(8) Statistical Physics.

Steven Weinberg's books:

(1) Gravitation and Cosmology (general relativity)

(2) Lectures on Quantum Mechanics (preparation for quantum field theory)

(3) The Quantum Theory of Fields, vols 1, 2 and 3

(4) Cosmology

In order to complement this core material whenever needed, I already have two handbooks:

(1) AIP Physics Desk Reference

(2) Fundamental Formulas of Physics, vols 1 and 2

The Leonard Susskind lectures on the theoretical minimum

(1) Classical Mechanics

(2) Quantum Mechanics

(3) Special Relativity and Electrodynamics

(4) General Relativity

(5) Cosmology

(6) Statistical Mechanics

(1) Advanced Quantum Mechanics

(2) The Higgs Boson

(3) Quantum Entanglement

(4) Relativity

(5) Particle Physics 1 - The Basic Concepts

(6) Particle Physics 2 - The Standard Model

(7) Particle Physics 3 - Supersymmetry and Grand Unification

(8) String Theory

(9) Cosmology and Black Holes

Before I went to learn math I wanted theoretical physics. I started the PhD program in mathematics but, for several reasons, I quickly got disenchanted and quit. The interest in theoretical physics came up again, so I decided to learn it by myself. I learned 90% of math this way, so I think I can probably do it with physics too. But this time I will not have the pressure of grades ruining most of the fun of an intellectual adventure. Even if I don't go and do a PhD in theoretical physics, or even if I don't finish this plan, it's something deeply interesting that I still want to do.

I realize this kind of question comes up a lot, but please give me your opinion.

Cheers,

FourEyedRaven

I have a background in mathematics and I want to learn physics up to the skill level of an MSc in Theoretical Physics (the background story is below, in case you have time to read that). I've been looking around for books and online classes and I've come up with this plan. What would you add, or correct? Do you think it provides a solid enough education in theoretical physics to apply to a PhD program?

**BSc level theoretical physics books:**The Theoretical Physics series by Wolfgang Nolting. It covers the undergraduate core courses in 8 books:

(1) Classical Mechanics

(2) Analytical Mechanics

(3) Electrodynamics

(4) Special Theory of Relativity

(5) Thermodynamics

(6) Quantum Mechanics - basics

(7) Quantum Mechanics - methods & applications

(8) Statistical Physics.

**MSc level theoretical physics books:**

Steven Weinberg's books:

(1) Gravitation and Cosmology (general relativity)

(2) Lectures on Quantum Mechanics (preparation for quantum field theory)

(3) The Quantum Theory of Fields, vols 1, 2 and 3

(4) Cosmology

**Handbooks:**In order to complement this core material whenever needed, I already have two handbooks:

(1) AIP Physics Desk Reference

(2) Fundamental Formulas of Physics, vols 1 and 2

**Video Lectures:**The Leonard Susskind lectures on the theoretical minimum

*The 6 core courses*(1) Classical Mechanics

(2) Quantum Mechanics

(3) Special Relativity and Electrodynamics

(4) General Relativity

(5) Cosmology

(6) Statistical Mechanics

*The supplemental courses*(1) Advanced Quantum Mechanics

(2) The Higgs Boson

(3) Quantum Entanglement

(4) Relativity

(5) Particle Physics 1 - The Basic Concepts

(6) Particle Physics 2 - The Standard Model

(7) Particle Physics 3 - Supersymmetry and Grand Unification

(8) String Theory

(9) Cosmology and Black Holes

**Background story and rationale for my choices:**I have a BSc and MSc in Mathematics, which spares me the time needed to learn the background mathematics for physics, as well as computer modeling. (These are about 10 courses in a theoretical physics degree: Calculus 1, 2, and 3, Lineal Algebra, Numerical Analysis, Programming, Probability and Statistics, Mathematical Methods for Physics, Differential Geometry and Abstract Algebra). I will also not learn the experimental physics, nor the electronics and microprocessors, so it's about another 5 courses I won't spend time on. I deliberately chose only three teachers for the whole thing, so that I can have a more coherent view of the subject.Before I went to learn math I wanted theoretical physics. I started the PhD program in mathematics but, for several reasons, I quickly got disenchanted and quit. The interest in theoretical physics came up again, so I decided to learn it by myself. I learned 90% of math this way, so I think I can probably do it with physics too. But this time I will not have the pressure of grades ruining most of the fun of an intellectual adventure. Even if I don't go and do a PhD in theoretical physics, or even if I don't finish this plan, it's something deeply interesting that I still want to do.

I realize this kind of question comes up a lot, but please give me your opinion.

Cheers,

FourEyedRaven

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