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Logic Order of All Physics- Help!

  1. Apr 7, 2009 #1
    Can someone tell me what order someone should learn physics until they can say that they totally know physics (please don't write something like you can never learn everything in physics)

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2009 #2
    you can never learn everything in physics
  4. Apr 7, 2009 #3
    Learning everything is indeed impossible, but if you want to self-teach yourself some physics, starting with the real basics, I shall recommend:

  5. Apr 7, 2009 #4
    I'll start off by saying that it's very rare for someone to be able to learn physics in a vacuum. Yes, it's possible, and people like Issac Newton are examples. But such people are exceptional cases, and even most of the famous physicists studied formally (in thinking of examples, Newton was the only one that came to mind, and even he had a Bachelors degree when he formulated his laws of mechanics). When you don't have a professor and the stress of grades pressuring you to study for exams and do homework, it usually just doesn't work out. But hey, maybe you're that exceptional case, so I'll just list off the order of coursework that most physics programs take you through.

    Basic, calculus based classical mechanics
    Basic, calculus based electrodynamics
    Optics, wave mechanics, basic thermodynamics, and special relativity
    (By this point you'd better have picked up vector calculus and differential equations)
    Basic quantum mechanics
    Advanced mechanics
    Advanced electrodynamics
    Advanced quantum mechanics (you'll likely need some linear algebra before this one)
    Statistical mechanics

    This is the absolute minimum usually required for an undergraduate degree in physics. I'd say that if you can master this material (which almost always comes by going to college and taking the courses), then you're in a position such that you can pick up textbooks or papers and start learning on your own. And even then it's hard. Maybe it's just my learning style, but even in graduate school I've learned a lot just by going to class and doing my homework.
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