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Need something to do this summmer any book recommendations?

  1. Jun 5, 2008 #1
    Either Calc III or some Physics book (not textbook). Someone recommended "Universe in a Nutshell" by Steven Hawking.

    Background: AP Calc BC (wholesome/very good understanding) and AP Phys. B (last year, got a 5).

    If Calc III, then please no expensive textbook suggestions. Just need a fairly cheap way to learn it.

    I'm entering college this August, just need something to do this summer besides playing games...
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2008 #2
    I assume you used Stewart for AP calc. That book has calc 3 stuff in it.

    Maybe you could go talk to a professor at a university nearby and see if he or she has a small project you could work on. It would be a good way to get some research experience. You could possibly volunteer.
  4. Jun 5, 2008 #3
    Calculus on Manifolds by Spivak, actually not too expensive (i think $40). Although maybe for the size it is expensive, it's only like 150 pages, really thin book. But if you study out of this for the summer and even understand some of it, you'll be so much better off.
  5. Jun 5, 2008 #4
    I don't have any specific suggestions right now, but you might want to check out your local library. They might have something good...ours has at least one decent book on most topics in calculus. Plus, it's free! Calc III is mostly vector calculus: some electromagnetics texts might even offer a decent intro to those topics.
  6. Jun 5, 2008 #5
    I suggest you play games, you don't really get a chance to much once you are in collage, I would take one last summer off.
  7. Jun 5, 2008 #6


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    how about a good cookbook?
  8. Jun 5, 2008 #7
    How is MIT Opencourseware?
  9. Jun 5, 2008 #8
    nevermind about Opencourseware, they don't have video-recorded lectures.

  10. Jun 5, 2008 #9
  11. Jun 5, 2008 #10


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    They have a few.

    I second mathwonk's cookbook idea. Would you rather enter college knowing calculus you'll learn anyway or knowing how to make something other than ramen?
  12. Jun 5, 2008 #11
    I love opencourseware, wonderful resource and Walter Lewin is a great physics professor. I am currently going through some of the linear algebra lectures myself.

    For popular physics books I would recommend https://www.amazon.com/End-Time-Next-Revolution-Physics/dp/0195117298. It's pretty out there and I don't know how sound all his theory's are but I found it extremely interesting.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  13. Jun 6, 2008 #12
    Knee-jerk book recommendations tend towards Feynman's Lectures and/or QED...but it couldn't hurt to dedicate some time to things like developing cooking skills.
  14. Jun 6, 2008 #13
    Do some old-school Greek math.

    Euclid's Geometry:

    Archimedes Geometry:

    Ever wonder why Pythogoras's theorem was true, or why the area of a circle is pi x r x r? The greeks had it all down. And their proofs are so beautiful, unlike the crap we see in linear algebra. They practically invented calculus too, and you'll see that Newton was not all he is cracked up to be. He borrowed heavily from the Greeks.

    This will sharpen your logic, and show you the brevity and elegance that mathemticians strive for. And it will be a break from all the physics stuff you'll be doing in school anyway.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  15. Jun 6, 2008 #14
    It's better to have some computer skills. You can learn many free software such as octave or gnuplot. I think it will help you alot in your research and lab works.
    I agree if you read and do some cooking. It doesn't hurt and it's fun.
    You won't get a lot of time when you're in college. Basically, you always have something to do. It just never ends here in my university. Maybe because I was doing 23 credit hours (7 core subjects).
  16. Jun 6, 2008 #15
    ??? I cant understand why everybody tries to talk the guy into buying a cookbook ! Certainly where he studies there should be a canteen ? McDonalds, Burgerking, Pizza ? I never held a stinkin cookbook in my hands during my whole life, and I have no intention to do so in the future !

    On a more serious note, I would suggest "The Road to Reality" by Roger Penrose. Just skip the formulas and read the text, it will provide a great overview of modern physics and very deep insights. I absolutely love it. However, not everybody seems to be as enthusiastic about it as me, so make sure you dont order it by mail, but get it from a library instead. Or at least browse through it in a bookstore to see if its the right thing for you.

    Here is a discussion of the book in this forum: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=125406
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2008
  17. Jun 6, 2008 #16
    So he won't graduate college weighing 300 lbs and having poor health, maybe? I think you just demonstrated the point.
  18. Jun 7, 2008 #17
    Mining the Sky by John S. Lewis. Here's a few reviews.


    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
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