Little puzzeled about how to study or where to study from?

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In summary, the speaker is a physics student at Delhi University who is feeling unsatisfied with their textbooks and the exam-oriented teaching. They are struggling to find answers to their questions and are unable to concentrate in class. They seek guidance on which books to refer to for specific topics and are recommended to try different perspectives and books such as Feynman, Reif, Fermi, McQuarrie, and Hill's "An Introduction to Statistical Thermodynamics." They also discuss the flaws of the education system and the importance of developing understanding rather than just proving ability.
  • #1
little puzzeled about how to study or where to study from??

i am doing my bachelor's in physics from Delhi University, delhi. I don't really wish to comment about my college or university, but i don't really like being here..

Its been a few days that i shifted my room and now i am able to focus more on studies. And with ample time to think and imagine, i have developed a negative feeling towards my textbooks. i feel as if they don't cover the stuff i want to know and read... i tried searching the net and scanning the college library but couldn't find answer to my questions. The more I think about the queries the more profound they become and to an extent they are starting to haunt me a lot. These days i am not able to concentrate in my classes for the only reason that the stuff they are teaching in class is based on books and merely exam oriented, i started to hate the professor who i liked the most in the being of the course. It seems weird...

The moment i open my thermal book (i am referring heat and thermodynamics by Dittman and Zemansky) doubts crop up and i close it. This was the very book i liked reading in the begining. I don't really know what's wrong.
Can someone please guide me what should i do in this situation?
OR can you please tell me which books to refer for the topics: Isothermal, Isobaric processes. i wish to know how to carry them out quasi-statically.. and how to interpret the whole idea at the microscopic level (not quantum level of course)??

Any help will be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
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  • #2

You don't seem to be able to pinpoint any one thing that's troubling you- you're all over the map. Which makes me suspect that the real trouble isn't your studies, or your professor, or your thermal book, etc.

You need to find a way to clear your busy mind: better diet, go out with friends, meditate, or sleep more. Do something non-academic and the passion for your studies will resurface, and then you can approach it with clarity of mind.
  • #3

I don't think he lacks the passion for studies. He's just unsatisfied with mediocre textbooks and exam oriented pedagogy and is confused as to how he must proceed here on. I suggest you throw out the mediocrity of the school and not let it hinder your own understanding of the natural world. If you just do what your classmates do, you'll become like them: Efficient formulae regurgitating physicists getting 90s and 100s on their exams because that's their only concern; to get the marks. Throw out Dittman's book; it's crap. We were using Schroeder's thermal book, which is orders of magnitude better than dittman's in my opinion, and I still found that useless. I was using Feynman, Reif and Fermi in conjunction to keep up with class. I got a 73 in that class but hey, I believe my understanding is world class in thermal now. After all I learned the subject from Feynman, Reif and Fermi. You'll only be satisfied when your thirst is quenched fully :)

Good Luck


PS: I read your reflection blog and that's how I know that you like to gauge the depth of things; that's why this superficial exam oriented understanding will never satisfy you. :)
  • #4

Thanks SolsticeFire.
Good to hear you understand what i was saying... I will definitely try Feynman,Reif and Fermi.

(i must mention the ideas of reflection are not mine...i found them from some feynman site... he rocks truly)
  • #5

I tried to read Feynman , Statistical mechanics, but couldn't bear it for more than a few lines... it turned out to be very difficult for me.
I want to read simpler text (of the level of an undergrad with few higher order statements), which has the basic thermodynamics explained in detail, so if you know any other book then please mention.
(Well i am going to try Fermi today; though i couldn't find the book by Reif, but i will check out my college library)
  • #6

A different perspective on thermal physics could be interesting for you. Chemistry usually teaches thermodynamics quite well (better than engineering which is just looking up steam charts... did both) yet is done differently with more applications than physics. I think then you might see why you learn thermal physics - because its useful.

I'd recommend "Physical Chemistry" by McQuarrie, or if that's too easy, the BBB (big brown book) "Statistical Mechanics" by the same guy which is grad level.
  • #7

thanks. I will find this book and read it..
  • #8

I have made this recommendation before and I will.again. Hill's An Introduction to Statistical Thermodynamics. If you start from page one you will develops a good foundational understanding from the microscopic point of view.
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  • #9

Yeah, about 5th year in High School I got that, despite loving Physics, I began to hate school and in general the way it was taught...
It seemed to me that the whole thing was about proving ability rather than developing ability.
  • #10

Aero51 said:
I have made this recommendation before and I will.again. Hill's An Introduction to Statistical Thermodynamics. If you start from page one you will develops a good foundational understanding from the microscopic point of view.

Thanks i will read
this book..

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