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Need some guidance on self teaching. From the beginning

  1. Mar 11, 2009 #1
    Recently, I seem to have been stricken by a learning bug. I have just been craving knowledge of all sorts. I currently am not in college, and it has been several years since I took a math class. I had Intro to Astronomy last semester, and that was pretty decent. However, I currently am wanting to just do some self-study, and am wondering if anyone has any advice on which materials may be of the most use.
    I remember being pretty good in math back in high school, but due to my apathetic nature at the time, did not do anything with it, nor did I try to excel at it while I was there. So, I would guess that the most recent math studies I have done would have been the basic high school trigonometry and slightly into pre-calc. Lately though, I have been getting interested in the idea of math theory, though, I don't know that I have a strong enough foundation in math to start with any of that. If anyone could help me by suggesting materials that are concise and well written that would help get me up to speed, that would be grand, and much appreciated.
    Also, I plan on trying to learn some physics as well, and the same sort of help on that line would also be appreciated. I do not know that I am planning on making a career of anything I learn, and am not planning on attending school anytime soon, due to the financial burden it would be. But libraries are free, and I have access to University libraries as well. This is all mainly for the joy of learning, and the personal gratification I can receive from that.
    Thank you in advance for help with this.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 14, 2009 #2
    Hi KelCatrell. Welcome to PF.

    Since it's been awhile do you still have good knowledge concerning algebra, geometry, and trigonometry? If not, you could start there and refresh yourself. Afterwards, you can move on to a calculus text and/or linear algebra text. After you have some good experience with calculus, differential equations may be of interest.

    As for physics, you have algebra-based or calculus-based textbooks. Although it might sound difficult, the latter is not that much of a jump compared to the former.

    Steward or Larson/Hostetler have quite a few editions out for college level calculus, and likewise, Halliday/Resnick for calculus-based physics. I own editions of these books and they do a good job overall of explaining the content. Other people on the forum may have other recommendations. If you want to buy texts, go with the older editions because you can get them much cheaper. You could probably find some good deals at Amazon.

    Let me know if this helps or if you have any further questions.
     
  4. Mar 14, 2009 #3
    Hey thanks for the reply!
    I picked up an old edition of Blitzer's College Algebra, as well as his Precalc book on Amazon for like 4 bucks each. Also I got the second edition of Ohanian's Physics for about the same price. This was a couple days ago when i was just poking around, and I couldn't get myself not to buy them for the price.
    As far as the older math's go, I have been looking at some online stuff, and most of the algebra is coming back, and the basic trig stuff, as well. I haven't really looked into Geometry a whole lot.
    I think I am actually going to be taking a Pre-calc class this summer, and I found out that, through my stepdad who teaches at the local university(U of Akron, in OH), I can get free tuition if I choose to go there. So, it's lookin like it won't be quite as much self study. As of right now, I'm thinking I am going to declare physics, and applied mathematics as my majors. If I get the precalc out of the way this summer, I should be able to enter the honors program for the math.
     
  5. Mar 14, 2009 #4
    Have you looked at the course checklists for each major yet? The checklists usually suggest key time frames when to complete certain courses by. You will probably complete Calc I and II and Physics I and II during the first year. You could get a jump start with these subjects now, which should also help refresh you with past mathematics (e.g. physics will rely on a lot of trigonometry to compute angles and distances). Good luck to you.
     
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