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Need a bit of help finding a good textbook

  1. Jun 16, 2010 #1
    I am currently (considered) a junior in high school having just finished my sophomore year. I will be taking AP Calc BC, Physics C (both units), along with Computer Science 1 and 2 at a community college. I have a strong background in computational problem solving and am fluent in C++, Java, Python, and Lisp. Naturally, two of my top choices of college majors are Computer Science and Computer Engineering, but my whole life has revolved around the sciences. Mainly chemistry, until I was about 10 years old and realized that chemistry was basically applied physics, and became curious. I have read a lot of popular science literature in complete awe, and have wanted to dive deeper and gain a more technical knowledge of physics for a long time now. Alas, summer is here, and I don't really want to wait until next year for Physics C when I could get a good head start now. My high school is extremely small (4 kids per class on average) and know the teachers very well so if I pull ahead now I could get in to much more advanced topics in the class. I have a good understanding of single and multivariable calculus from teaching myself using the wonderful lectures from MIT Open Course Ware, and will probably work quite a bit on differential equations and linear algebra over the summer.

    My current resources allow me access to Feynman's Lectures (all volumes) and a variety of entry level college textbooks, along with works on specific subjects. I plan to also watch Walter Lewin's (from MIT OCW) lectures on physics in order to fortify my understanding of what I'm reading. I have heard from several sources that Feynman's Lectures are best used as a supplemental text and not as a main textbook, so if anyone can reccommned a good main textbook for me to use I would be greatly appreciative.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 16, 2010 #2
    Halliday and Resnick
  4. Jun 16, 2010 #3
    Agreed. It's not the endall of physics texts, but I really enjoyed the balance between intuition and rigor that the authors went for.
  5. Jun 16, 2010 #4
    Looks like a great text. Definitely will check it out. Unfortunately, I only have access to the 8th edition but it shouldn't be much of a problem. Thanks again.
  6. Jun 16, 2010 #5
    Don't ever worry about editions (unless we are talking a difference of decades or if your instructor requires a certain edition). The material is exactly the same. I have the 7th, but in the class I took, students had both the 7th and 8th due to a mixup. There were no issues except that the numbers of the HW assignments were different. Same exact problems, but just remixed. That is what a new edition is usually. New pictures and different ordering of the end-of-chapter problems. It's just the publisher's way of cash raping the student.
  7. Jun 16, 2010 #6
    Definitely agree about Halliday and Resnick, I would also suggest getting the student solutions manual - very explicit and always answers that "but how did you get from there to there, and why?" The manual is for all the volumes (3 in totality) 1) being mechanics, and 2) and 3) being E and M and little bit of 20th century physics towards the end.
  8. Jun 16, 2010 #7
    Since you sound like a smart guy, I would recommend:

    "Introduction to mechanics" by Kleppner&Kolenkow. Beware though, it is on a whole higher level than halliday resnick stuff

    If you want a theoretical mechanics textbook, Landau Lifgarbagez vol.1 is great. (you need multivariable calculus and a s***load of insight to understand it though).
  9. Jun 17, 2010 #8
    Thank you for the recommendations. I would like to take this one step at a time, since I feel that since I don't have an actual lecturer I might be more prone to not fully understanding important concepts if I am not careful. If I can find a copy of the Kleppner & Kolenkow book, then I will use it as a supplementary text to take concepts I feel very comfortable with one step further. I'm not on the level where I could understand mechanics (or any field of physics) on a purely mathematical level, so the second text is probably out of the question for now, but I will keep it in mind for later.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2010
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