# New to physics

1. Mar 27, 2013

### Hacker4life

hello I am totally new in physics, and new to this forum, and I want to learn it. We do have physics in school and the next school year is the last. But still, I have bad grades in it and never listen to it, but I am interested in it. Please guide me.

P.S I'm not really a hacker I just use this username everywhere

2. Mar 27, 2013

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
Hum... so you "never listen" to your lessons in school, but you would listen to a bunch of strangers on an internet forum?

Zz.

3. Mar 27, 2013

### micromass

You should start by paying attention in class and by getting better grades. Physics is not for slackers. Also, start self-studying mathematics and physics. Maybe start by reviewing your mathematics, because you'll need it and I guess you can use a review.

Physics is a very difficult major. You will need to work very hard. If you never listen to your professors and get bad grades then that's a big red flag.

4. Mar 27, 2013

### Hacker4life

I have been competing in mathematics, and programming and physics before. I lost interest and forgot everything I knew about physics. My teacher didn't explain things well and for paying attention in class is too late since I don't know even the basic things so I can't understand the more advanced things. Since everything I know I remember like a fog I decided to start all over again. I don't care about my grade in physics, I don't care about my class. I care about learning physics all over again. I also know more advanced things in physics ahead of my class but I don't know the beginning of it. For example I understand the basics of "quantum teleportation" but I don't remember acceleration

5. Mar 27, 2013

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
What you mean by "understand" is debatable.

You never clarify if you are learning physics just for "fun", or are you going to make a vocation out of it. The latter requires a formal education, because that is the most common way to prove that you do know such things. Just saying you know something isn't sufficient evidence.

Zz.

6. Mar 27, 2013

### Hacker4life

Well, let's put it this way, I plan on being a programmer, and I want to learn physics for "fun". I want to learn more than what my class learns, not because I want a good grade or impress people with what I know, but because I'm filled with curiosity and I will surely move faster than they do.

7. Mar 27, 2013

### micromass

I think you should realize that you don't understand quantum teleportation. Remember: watching a pop-sci documentary has nothing to do with actual physics. Actual physics is not just musing about teleportation, black holes, time travel, etc. It is very difficult and tedious mathematics.

Blaming your teacher for not explaining things is not a good thing. In sciences, you are expected to be able to self-study a lot of things. I've had some horrible classes and very bad professors, but I managed to ace the classes nonetheless by self-studying. Don't rely on your teacher alone!!

Grades are very important in college. So you better start caring about them.

8. Mar 27, 2013

### micromass

So it's just as a hobby? I recommend reviewing mathematics first. Get "Basic Mathematics" by Serge Lang and work through it. It'll be a very decent review on a level that is higher than the usual high school books.
After that, you should learn calculus I and II (calculus III can wait). After you know calculus, you should get a basic calculus-based physics book and work through that. I suppose that'll keep you busy for some time.

9. Mar 27, 2013

### Hacker4life

I did not watch a movie about it, I went to a science camp here and a professor explained it to me. He explained in detail with all formulas, but first of course explain about qubits, bell states...
You are right, I can't blame the teacher, I take that back, it's my fault for not being interested in it.

10. Mar 27, 2013

### Hacker4life

Mathematics isn't a problem, I'm currently in a special mathematics class so I know a lot about it. The last thing I learned is about limits and currently learning about integrals. So that isn't the problem I think.
And as "special" I mean we learn much more than other schools.

11. Mar 27, 2013

### micromass

OK, if you think you are comfortable with mathematics, then you should try to work through some physics book. I recommend that you first learn a bit about differential equations (not a lot, just make sure you are able to solve an equation of the form $y^{\prime\prime} + by^\prime + cy = e^x$. The first three chapters of http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/Classes/DE/DE.aspx should be more than enough.

After you know something about DE, then you should try to tackle Kleppner & Kolenkow: https://www.amazon.com/An-Introduction-Mechanics-Daniel-Kleppner/dp/0521198216 or Morin: https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Classical-Mechanics-Problems-Solutions/dp/0521876222
These are very challenging books but it's worth the effort!! It's a lot better than garbage like Halliday and Resnick.

Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
12. Mar 27, 2013

### Hacker4life

Well, first, why do I need math on such advanced level for things like th is one http://library.thinkquest.org/10796/ch2/ch2.htm ??? I just want to start all over and learn math along the way.
And I already know differental equations.

Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
13. Mar 27, 2013

### micromass

That link you posted is about algebra-based physics. Algebra-based physics is boring and stupid. If you already know calculus, then you shouldn't waste your time doing algebra-based physics, you should get a calculus-based physics book instead. This will be much more challenging and it will show you where things actually come from!!

14. Mar 27, 2013

### Hacker4life

I know what it will show and do for me, but I do not want to skip. I don't want to go on now knowing some simple things in physics. So if you could give me a list of that it would be good.
Thanks for the advice, but as you see, I'm not changing my mind.

15. Mar 27, 2013

### micromass

Well, I have tried to advise you what I think is best. If you don't want to follow my advice, then that's your choice. No problem though! But I'll let somebody else answer you.

16. Mar 27, 2013

### Hacker4life

I know that you wanted to do that and I probably will start learning it a few months from now, but right now, I need the thing I mention before. I appreciate your help :D

17. Mar 27, 2013

### jimmyly

I'm confused. If your Mathematics is strong you should have no problem with algebra based physics. You can easily go to a library and pick up any introductory physics textbook, learn the concepts and start tackling problems. If that's not what you are looking for then I don't know what you mean by learning physics :P

To learn physics you have to do physics. Physics isn't about teleportation, being in two places at once, time travel, worm holes, etc. Physics is about figuring things out. It's about solving problems with your knowledge. Sure those things are cool. But if you don't understand acceleration I have I hard time believing you can understand anything past kinematics. Now I may be wrong, but after reading everything it leads me to this conclusion.

So if you want to learn physics I suggest listening to micromass' advice. You do know that you will be learning about velocity and acceleration, pretty much the same stuff for at least the first two years of your undergrad right? And you will need the higher Math. Open any intro physics book and there will be kinematics

Anyways you can use resources like khanacademy, mit ocw, etc. There are many many resources to help you learn.

18. Mar 27, 2013

### jimmyly

Your really not skipping anything. You learn all the same stuff in calc physics plus more

19. Mar 27, 2013

### Hacker4life

Exactly, that's what I'm looking for, only one problem, I don't have the book to guide me.

20. Mar 27, 2013

### jimmyly

Ahh okay. In that case you should take a look at the textbook forum on here, if your feeling up for it, like micromass said, then kleppner's intro to mechanics(needs calculus). I find that most intro physics books are plug and chug. You should go to a library and find a book that suites you and your learning style

21. Mar 27, 2013

### Hacker4life

the only book I have is filled with tasks that I can't solve because I don't know the formulas and the ideas. I don't want to learn that yet because I'm pretty sure that there is a long way before I get to quantum physics.

22. Mar 27, 2013

### jimmyly

Here are a few textbooks to help U get going(some good some bad depending on the person. but like I said, most of them are plug and chug)

physics principles and applications - gioncoli
Conceptual physics - Hewitt
Introduction to mechanics - kleppner (the only one I really do recommend)
Btw I'm in algebra based physics class and I use kleppner. I find that my classes are too easy and slow so I decided to go ahead. Everything covered in my class is covered in kleppners book. I am bias towards the book but it's cause it's am amazing book that makes you think