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Jumping into physics - what to learn?

  1. May 7, 2007 #1
    Hello again.

    I'm a noob pretty much to physics and mathmatics but would eventually like to be able to understand basic conceps of GR (and hopefully further). I figured it would be best to start learning SR first, but with having no real background of mathmatics (just GCSE level) what level and types would I need to 'get to grips with' to aid my understanding of SR? As well, what other areas of physics would I need to learn along-side SR to get the best understanding possible? I am not studying physics or mathmatics in college so my learning will be soley independent for the sake of wanting to learn out of interest. If you could give me some guidance by answering my questions... maybe even reccomend me books or pdf's, I would be greatful.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 7, 2007 #2
    It depends on how much you want to know about SR, i.e. how deep into the mathematical structure you want to understand.

    But I would suggest you learn some Linear Algebra: Matrices (have you learned that?), Matrices in transformations (this will help you understand Lorentz transformation), vector spaces etc. Eventually when you go to GR you will deal with tensors etc so your foundation with linear algebra should serve you well.

    Do you already have basic Newtonian physics? If so learning Galilean transformation should be straight-forward, which will help you to appreciate Lorentz transformation too.

    Perhaps some electromagnetism will help too.
  4. May 7, 2007 #3
    Ok, thankyou. I think I have touched on Newtonian physics but that is about it.

    Personally, I'd like to learn as much as I can possibly learn about SR. But with barely having the fundamental mathmatics down yet, it will be a long journey.

    I will be going to the library sometime this week so I will have a look around for such related books of the areas that you reccomended. :)
    Last edited: May 7, 2007
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