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Looking for physics book recommendations after HS

  1. May 30, 2017 #1
    Hello I'm new here. I don't know if doing this here is right or not but can someone please recommend good physics books to read? I've completed high school but I want to learn about interesting theories. My recent interests are astrophysics and quantum. If some can please recommend some amazing and interesting books, that
    would be great! Also, it's been two years that I've developed interest in physics and high school physics was kinda limiting (rants of an A Level student)
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  3. May 30, 2017 #2


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    Do you want to learn physics or do you want to learn about physics?

    The first thing you need to do if you want to learn physics is to learn some introductory university math. You will need to know single and multivariable calculus, linear algebra, complex analysis, and partial differential equations before your physics can start getting "interesting". Math is the language we use when we do physics and it is necessary to understand the math before you can start understanding the theories. I would suggest picking up textbooks in these subjects.

    If you just want to learn about physics you can essentially pick up any popsci magazine. You will learn allegories and popularisations that may be better or worse descriptions in "human language" terms, but you will not learn how to actually use the theories to make predictions.
  4. May 31, 2017 #3
    As I said, I'm a beginner so please forgive any silly comments. I want to learn ABOUT interesting theories rather than derive stuff and get into university level calculations. I want to read books that are easily understood by high school students without any complex calculations just to have knowledge about some interesting concepts and the idea behind those concepts. I haven't read "A Brief History of Time" but I've been introduced to it and it feels like it'll be just the thing I'm looking for. So books like this one. And thanks for your time!
  5. Jun 2, 2017 #4
    If you want to learn about physics, I believe you should start with Richard Feynman's "QED - A Strange Theory of Light and Matter". It's is available in the form of lectures in you tube, but I prefer you read the book. It has no equations, but beautifully describes the theories of Quantum Field Theory. Once you get a brief idea about this, you should start with Quantum Mechanics, a very important and integral part of Physics.
  6. Jun 2, 2017 #5


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    You could take a look at the Feyman "Messenger" lectures at Cornell:


    These are aimed at a non-mathematical audience. Note, however, that the second lecture deals with the relationship between mathematics and physics and Feyman is characteristically honest about how little the non-mathematical student can ultimately know about physics.

    You can certainly entertain yourself with popular science books and videos, but the ideas themselves are watered down, to say the least, if you can't face mathematics.
  7. Jun 2, 2017 #6


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    Well, there's no free lunch. To really understand physics you need math, but I never understood, why this is considered so bad. Math itself is a very fascinating subject. Only school teachers have the tendency to hide this fact very successfully from their pupils :-(. So the best thing is to look at introductory university textbooks for experimental physics (the standard ones are Haliday, Resnick, Walker; Tipler).
  8. Jun 2, 2017 #7
    Maths is not bad, and not all teachers hide the beauty from students. One of the teachers in my school encourages us a lot, and many of my friends have discovered theories by themselves and got them certified by the Indian Statistical Institute.

    However, to understand pure maths, you need to have that intelligence. If you don't have it, you'll never be able to learn it. You'll have to be born with that mindset of thinking critically.
  9. Jun 2, 2017 #8
    Who discovered which theory ?

    Understanding Maths is easier than most other subjects. Anyways Vanhees was talking about Applied Maths not Pure Maths.
  10. Jun 2, 2017 #9
    I'm not at all bad at math. In fact I'm at the top of my class. I was just looking for something simpler. And thanks for those suggestions! I'll definitely look into them!
  11. Jun 3, 2017 #10
    A good book in astrophysics I enjoyed was the black hole war by Leonard Susskind it talks about how quantum mechanics helped with solving the question if black holes do or do not release information and it only contains one simple equation that is only talked about briefly
  12. Jun 3, 2017 #11
    My friends have discovered some, but I never had the interest in asking them, so can't tell.

    Applied maths is much better than pure maths from my point of view.
  13. Jun 3, 2017 #12
    Being the topper of the class doesn't always mean the student has great knowledge. I believe exams can never be an estimation or any near approximation of knowledge of a student. One cannot test a student only on a day's performance. It's a very wrong system.
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