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Is this a good way to study physics?

  1. Jun 23, 2009 #1
    Hello. I'm 14. Going to be 15 on September 7th. I wish to be a theoretical physicist when I grow up. Is this a good way to study physics? Some of the stuff I have no idea what it is.

    ◦Primary Mathematics
    ◦Classical Mechanics
    ◦Optics
    ◦Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics
    ◦Electronics
    ◦Electromagnetism
    ◦Quantum Mechanics
    ◦Atoms and Molecules
    ◦Solid State Physics
    ◦Nuclear Physics
    ◦Plasma Physics
    ◦Advanced Mathematics
    ◦Special Relativity
    ◦Advanced Quantum Mechanics
    ◦Phenomenology
    ◦General Relativity
    ◦Quantum Field Theory
    ◦Superstring Theory
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 23, 2009 #2
    Be patiently curious and do not skip the things
    And you will get your dream fullfilled
     
  4. Jun 23, 2009 #3

    Pengwuino

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    If I were you, i'd take a look at a catalog of a local university and look at the physics degree. Hopefully they have a course load schedule for their students to help plan their courses out. The track is pretty standard. Like one of my professor quoted, "The only degree that is more standardized than physics is orthodox religious studies".... or something of the sorts.

    Also, what level of mathematics are you at? "Primary mathematics" and "advanced mathematics" are meaningless descriptions. Plus remember, there's 3 stages of each course through grad school (as you seem to be planning if you're talking about QFT and string theory). You take your lower division classical mechanics, e/m, thermodynamics, QM, etc etc. Then you take them again in upper division classes specifically for each. Then you take some of them a third time in graduate school (things like GR and supersymmetry etc etc are only really graduate school subjects at a lot of universities unless a course offers a quick end-of-course section on it). For example, every school without exception im sure, has 3 classical mechanics courses (counting 2-semester, A/B courses as 1 course) and 3 e/m courses.
     
  5. Jun 23, 2009 #4
    Peng as useful as the above post is, he's 14. The level of maths he is at at the moment is largely irrelevent.

    And to the OP, there is such a thing as planning too far ahead (as you say you have no idea what some of the stuff is). Who knows if you'll still want to do theoretical physics when you actually apply for University. Trust me as set as you seem on this, things can change in a few years. Up until leaving 6th form I was dead set on doing chemistry, after my first year at university I switched to engineering.

    For now, just concentrate on doing as well as you can in your science and maths classes, dont bother thinking about exactly what you want to do at univerity and beyond for at least a couple of years yet.

    (EDIT: i'm assuming you are a he OP, apologies if you arent)
     
  6. Jun 23, 2009 #5

    Pengwuino

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    On the contrary, I feel it is completely relevant! There are 14 year olds that definitely know calculus and can get into what a typical undergrad sees in the first year or 2. Then again there are 14 year olds who still haven't taken high school algebra and geometry. If the OP is the latter, there is indeed no chance of beginning to study what he wants to study. However if he is the former, he can certainly dabble into a couple of those subjects.
     
  7. Jun 23, 2009 #6
    At 14/15, he's at least 3 years from University.

    Direction is important, but he shouldn't be troubling himself over the details of what to do. It's totally unrealistic to expect that the OP can make any kind of informed decision about what he wants to do at that age, by his own admission he knows nothing about certain subjects.

    So whether he can do the subject in the future, depends wholly on what he currently knows does it? The basics of what he wants to study should be beoing taught to him in science and maths.

    This is not to say that he should not take an extracurricular interest in the subject, but jumping in at the deep end when you are just learning to swim is never the best idea (of course it works for some, but i'd say thats the exception rather than the rule).
     
  8. Jun 24, 2009 #7
    I am just an undergrad but I think it looks good, except there should be a a lot more math in between. Also I think you should start with ministring theory then string theory before finally going to superstring theory.Or you can just follow the usual course sequence of a physics major.

    Sorry, maybe I am a little upset because I had no clue what most of that stuff meant when I was 14(or even now).Anyway good luck.
     
  9. Jun 24, 2009 #8
    Uhm...Can someone tell me some physics that I could study without knowing crazy hard math?
     
  10. Jun 24, 2009 #9
    Dont you study physics in science class? (this question isnt trying to be condescending, just curious)
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2009
  11. Jun 24, 2009 #10

    Pengwuino

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    What level of math do you have under your belt? Most of your list is probably out of your reach outside of popular science books that don't actually teach you much if you consider anything "crazy hard math".
     
  12. Jun 24, 2009 #11
    I have taken Math A. I have to take Earth Science next year to take the Regents. After that if I get high enough grades in Math and Science I'll take physics in Junior year.
    What does condecending mean:confused:?
     
  13. Jun 24, 2009 #12
    It means I wasnt asking the question to be a tool, just interested in what you are doing. I also spelt it wrong... damn.
     
  14. Jun 24, 2009 #13

    thrill3rnit3

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    What topics does "Math A" cover? Algebra? Trigonometry?
     
  15. Jun 24, 2009 #14
    I am 14 and I am learning physics and not for college, but for the Physics Olympiad. I am already in the Math one, but physics seems a lot more fun and challenging. From my novice experiences you really need to learn basic trig and algebra. Calculus only comes in handy sometimes, although I only know the basics of it. A question is learning from The Fundamentals of Physics-Halliday Resnick Walker good enough material to learn to do well? And what book should I try after this?
     
  16. Jun 24, 2009 #15

    thrill3rnit3

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    For Physics Olympiad, make sure you work out the exercises in the FoP book, plus get one of those physics problem solving textbooks, preferably Irodov's.

    But to do the problems in Irodov's you'll need to know mostly single-variable calculus, plus some differential equations and vector calculus (for electrodynamics).
     
  17. Jun 24, 2009 #16
    I have done a little bit of the beginning of Irodov. The beginning is not too calculus orientated I think.
     
  18. Jun 24, 2009 #17

    thrill3rnit3

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    Yes the beginning isn't too calculus-based since it's only about classical mechanics. But if you want to move further through the book you have to learn the necessary maths as well.
     
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