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Need tips on how to teach myself mathematical physics aside from school

  1. Jul 2, 2009 #1

    Entropee

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    Yeah i wanna learn some mathematical physics, since i cant just jump from my classes to that different section yet, but perhaps there are books or guides out there for beginners?
    If anyone knows of anything please let me know, Hawking and Greene can only take me so far lol.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2009 #2
    Do you have access to a university library? The road to a self-taught knowledge of physics is paved with mathematics. At this early stage you will want to read all the math books you can get your hands on. If you have had two or fewer courses in differential and integral calculus, then my advice is to concentrate on those subjects for at least a year. Borrow books ranging from intro to calculus, multi-variable calculus, vector calculus, advanced (rigorous) calculus, the calculus of variations, and differential equations (which is really just calculus). Then you will be ready to learn classical physics, mechanics and electromagnetism. Then you go back to math to learn concrete linear algebra (matrices, vectors), and abstract linear algebra (linear transformations and vector spaces), then ideally some mathematical analysis, then you are ready to learn basic quantum mechanics.
     
  4. Jul 3, 2009 #3
    MIT's Open Course Ware (OCW) is pretty cool.
     
  5. Jul 3, 2009 #4
    As arehttp://oyc.yale.edu/physics/fundamentals-of-physics/content/class-sessions" [Broken].

    Though I think the professor goes a little crazy with the maths sometimes. Perhaps I need to heed Civilized's advice myself and get cracking on some more calculus.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Jul 3, 2009 #5
    No doubt about it, calculus is far and away the most important mathematical component of physics. Even at the highest levels of mathematical physics, you are still looking at derivatives, integrals, and the exponential function.
     
  7. Jul 9, 2009 #6

    Entropee

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    oh man yeah sounds like i need to learn calculus...
    but i know what you listed for QM, i wonder if you should know calc for that too...
    thanks though guys :P
     
  8. Jul 9, 2009 #7

    daniel_i_l

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    One of the biggest problems with self-studying is the lack of mandatory HW and tests. Simply reading through a calculus book will not teach you calculus. That's only the first step. Using what you've read to solve different kinds of problems is at least as important.
     
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