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Learning Physics

  1. Jan 20, 2009 #1
    Hi, guys. I know that there was a person who asked the same question as me, but the content that I want to learn is in the realm of Astrophysics. I was wondering what would be the best way to start learning about this subject in terms of what texts to buy. I don't have much of a science background to speak of so I guess I just really need to know where I can start.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2009 #2
    Learn high school math, then learn calculus, then if you get that far come back and ask for more advice.
  4. Jan 20, 2009 #3
    Ok, but what would be a book in the realm of physics that you recommend I start out with?
  5. Jan 20, 2009 #4
    You don't have to buy anything. You have an internet connection- my friends here can provide you with copious links to all the material you'll need.
  6. Jan 20, 2009 #5
    My point was that trying to learn physics without a math background will get you nowhere. Best start with math.
  7. Jan 20, 2009 #6

    That's true. Thanks for your help!
  8. Jan 20, 2009 #7
    Thanks! I guess my first question would have to be, do you know any good sites for calculus?
  9. Jan 20, 2009 #8
    If you're mathematically inclined and want a challenge, may I recommend the book "Calculus" by Tom Apostol. I learned calculus from this book. You can get it pretty cheap if you look around used book sites on the internet. If you want to work on your pre-calculus skills, or try a different book to learn Calculus, Mathwonk has a lot of good advice in his thread "Who wants to be a mathematician".
  10. Jan 20, 2009 #9
  11. Jan 20, 2009 #10
    any one got a good free book for algebraic geoometry?
  12. Jan 20, 2009 #11
    You're fourteen years old and haven't done any math, and you want to learn something fancy like "algebraic geometry"? At the University of Arizona, they don't even teach that at the undergraduate level... meaning only Master's and Ph.D math students (or advanced undergraduates) have enough background to take it.
  13. Jan 20, 2009 #12


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    Staff: Mentor

  14. Jan 20, 2009 #13
    I dont know if you ment learn astrophysics for fun or do you plan to pursue the subject in college?

    If you just want a conceptual understanding of the subject there are many popular books written for the layman. But if this is a lifelong educational goal then yes mathematics is a good place to start.
  15. Jan 20, 2009 #14


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    Staff: Mentor

    Do you mean "analytic geometry?" That's where you study coordinate systems (especially rectangular/Cartesian) and the equations for straight lines, circles, ellipses, etc. I remember taking an analytic geometry course in 11th grade, after traditional geometry (10th grade) and before calculus (12th grade).
  16. Jan 20, 2009 #15
    Don't let anyone discourage you, I assume someone your age being interested in physics has lots of ideas and theories about the universe and physical phenomena seen and unseen. Don't let the math daunt you, people of past generations took on university level courses at ages 12-15, all that's required is a passionate desire to learn and you will learn. My suggestion is to "self-teach" yourself, this is accomplished via reading a textbook in a certain subject area, attempting end of the chapter problems, and then discussing problems you have trouble with.
  17. Jan 21, 2009 #16
    I'm serious about it, but it's not really possible for me to go to school for it. I'm 22 and I'm about to graduate with a degree in Audio Engineering, so I can't really spend any more time in school. I need to start being able to support myself. I figure I'll just teach myself in my free time and see how far I go. Maybe somewhere down the road I'll be able to go to school for it. We'll see.

    Thanks for all of your input guys, it really means at lot!
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