1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I've finally figured it out.

  1. Sep 26, 2009 #1
    Hello. Demoniac here. Some of you may know me as the person who make 2 or 3 threads asking about Physics help. Well I've figured out the best way to ask my questions.

    What you should know:
    1. I like space.
    2. I like airplanes.
    3. I like phsyics.

    My plan for life:
    I am currently in a high school that gives you two certified FAA licenses as aircraft airframe and power plant mechanic. Airframe being the actual body of the airplane and power plant being the engines/propeller/turboprop. I want to work at the airport and go to college. While in college I want to get a degree in physics.

    I am currently 15 and mostly interested in space,airplanes and physics.
    I want to know how I should study physics as a teenager so I can learn a lot of information about physics but also space. I watch NASA every now and then. I have an open mind so I won't turn my nose down on different ideas and beliefs.

    I know the three laws of motion,the Coanda effect and Bernoulli's principle.

    That is all.
    Thank you for all your help guys.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2009 #2
    First you'll have to get your maths down, up to about Calc I level, then I would start working through a University Physics book of some kind. A self study sequence might look something like this:

    1. Basic Algebra
    2. Basic Geometry
    3. More Advanced Algebra with some trig.
    4. Calc I(single variable integration/differentiation etc.)
    5. Mechanics
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009
  4. Sep 26, 2009 #3
  5. Sep 27, 2009 #4
    Can I get some more answers please?
  6. Sep 27, 2009 #5
    Get a solid foundation in Math. Even if your scientific interests change, your time will not be wasted. And if you stick with physics, math is the language of physics. Without it you will not go very far.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  7. Sep 28, 2009 #6
    Thanks. I know Algebra and I'm taking Geometry this year.
  8. Oct 5, 2009 #7
    Can someone please some more answers? It's been a month now and I haven't started studying some physics because I don't know where to start :(.
  9. Oct 5, 2009 #8
    We told you start by learning the math. If you know algebra start on trying to learn some basic calculus along with Newtonian mechanics from any intro to physics book.
  10. Oct 5, 2009 #9


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Here's another suggestion: Start surfing the web-sites of colleges and look at their degree-offerings, and take note of their entrance requirements.

    At your age, I was stuck in a local rural HS with hardly any advanced courses of any kind, and NO academic advisors. I turned down a scholarship to the University of Arizona to attend the University of Maine in Chemical Engineering. Later, I found to my chagrin that UA was a great school for astronomy and astrophysics. I was scared off by the fact that travel from Maine to Arizona was extremely expensive at the time, and the fact that out-of-state tuition was more expensive than the local college, even with the offered scholarship. My family had very little money, and I had to work all the way through school to keep it paid for.

    The school is engaged in cutting-edge astrophysics and research with heavy cosmological implications. A young friend of mine from Mongolia got an astronomy scholarship to UA, and got immediate placement as a telescope operator for the campus' scopes, and got tapped to help build equipment (along with some grad students) for larger professional-grade instruments. Excel and come in well-prepared, and you could do well. My friend has worked and has returned home only rarely (air-travel to Mongolia is $$$$), but last year when his mother visited him, he was able to take her on a private tour of the Large Binocular Telescope.

    Not a lot of airplane-related stuff, but if you like space, astronomy, physics, research, etc and would enjoy NASA tie-ins, UA is like a candy-store of choices.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2009
  11. Oct 13, 2009 #10
    Hey demoniac, it seems that you and I have quite similar interests. I am also 15, and started my sophomore year this school year (also an aspiring physicist). I'm taking Algebra 2 & Trigonometry (adhering to more or less the same timeline that Lubuntu proposed), and am also taking AP Physics B (a heavily algebra based class). I've learned that Calculus is a MUST for anyone going into any field remotely near physics. If your school system is anything like mine, there are several courses that everyone takes, regardless of their interests, so I know there isn't a lot of room for a flexible schedule. I highly recommend striving for the most advanced math class you can take. My approach to Physics as a class was a bit unorthodox, so I don't expect you to follow the same course of action.

    It is perfectly within your grasp, as a student taking Geometry, to comprehend the multitude of books written by a plethora of physicists that deal only with concept, regardless of mathematical ability. I'm doing this at the moment, because more advanced books on physics require a thorough knowledge of calculus.

    My short list of things you can easily read to expand your concepts is:

    1. Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time
    2. Leonard Susskind's The Black Hole War
    3. Michio Kaku's Hyperspace, Physics of the Impossible

    as well as many, many more.
  12. Oct 13, 2009 #11
    Hey there!

    By the sounds of it, the subject you're interested in isn't actually Physics, its a field called Aerospace Engineering. Now, I apologize if you are already aware of the different possible fields you can go into when you're older, but I wasn't at your age, so, here's a brief overview of the differences between Physics and Engineering.

    Physics studies the science behind, the causes of, physical principles, and seeks to understand why things are the way they are. Engineering seeks to employ physical principles to design and construct vehicles, structures, etc, in the real world. There are myraid fields of physics-- astronomy, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, the list goes on and on. Similarly, there are different fields of engineering-- mechanical, civil (think roads and bridges), electrical, and, of course, aerospace.

    I say aerospace engineering is what you're looking for because it is wholly concerned with designing vehicles which fly, both in and out of our atmosphere. If you want to work with flight vehicles, planes, spacecraft, satellites, etc, aerospace is where you want to be. Exciting stuff.

    The important thing in high school, as others have said, for either Physics or Engineering, is to learn as much math as you can, and go to college. Take calculus and physics before you graduate HS (if they offer it), and you'll be well served as an incoming freshman. That's what you should focus on now.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook