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  1. Aug 12, 2012 #1
    Hey everyone,

    Its been quite awhile since I've posted on here, good to be back.

    So I have a really simple question; what topic should I begin to study in my free time when school starts?

    I don't plan on spending mass amounts of time on it as I have my other classes to worry about, but I do want something I can play around with.

    So far I've covered Alg II and everything below that, and this incoming year I will be taking Trig/Pre-Calc along with College Alg.

    I don't really mind what it is I study as long as it has to do with math/science.

    Oh, and, I'm taking Chem and Physics next year too.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 13, 2012 #2
    Programming, philosophy, statistics, and logic all come into play and are very much related with what you mentioned.

    Programming, I believe, is the most practical short-term skill to have because not only will it help you with the problem solving skills you need for the classes you listed but also because it can be used to do your homework!
  4. Aug 13, 2012 #3
    I agree with Programming, it helped me when wanting to do research with a professor. (he had me do mostly trivial programming and watch his work as I am in High school and have little actual physics knolege.) As for the other classes I am not so sure about, logic sounds good, but philosophy sounds more like just a person interest. Though I am also not the best person to take advice from either...
  5. Aug 13, 2012 #4
    I'd say programming too. Java might be a fun place to start. From my very limited experience it seems a bit easier than C++ to get into, but teaches you methods you can use with C++ and other object oriented programs, and is stupidly adaptable. All the stuff you need can be downloaded for free, and there's tons of free information about it on the net too. Have fun!
  6. Aug 13, 2012 #5
    I suggest philosophy still because it is really good at getting you to take some idea that seems obvious and push it to the extremes to seek potentially unforeseen implications. This is obviously very important in physics and mathematics.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012
  7. Aug 13, 2012 #6
    I second philosophy as it lends itself very nicely and may be something you would otherwise never be exposed to. Programming will probably swing your way naturally but philosophy is missed by many a scientist and engineer.
  8. Aug 13, 2012 #7
    How about you just pick up some books at random, perhaps within politics, history or philosophy, from your library and then buy what tickles your fancy? Try not to treat everything you study solely - I could be wrong, but I get that impression reading your posts - as a means to end. There is joy in learning and while I'm no authority on how you live your life, I'm of the opinion that people should try to be a little less concerned about "the end" and more concerned about "the now".

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  9. Aug 13, 2012 #8
    A nice project that you could do is to read Euclid's elements. It's an ancient book, so the writing might be awkward unless you get a good translation.

    Euclid's elements is a wonderful book and is one of the very first mathematics books written. All modern mathematics are shaped in the form of the elements, for example we still have the axiom - theorem - proof structure. Furthermore, the elements raised questions which plagues mathematicians for thousands of years (and are only recently solved).
    Furthermore, it has been standard reading in education until the beginning of the 20th century. I think a motivated high schooler like you should be able to handle this wonderful book. If you want to know good translations or editions of this book, you should ask mathwonk.

    Another awesome book is Euler's "Elements of Algebra". It's a text book written by one of the geniuses in mathematics, and you notice that!! You should definitely be able to read this book now after taking algebra II.
  10. Aug 13, 2012 #9
    The version available (legally, for free) on Google books, which mathwonk linked in his thread (I think so? Just google it), looks very well translated*. Reads like a novel. Okay, perhaps it's not that fluid but it is an incredibly enjoyable read. I haven't finished the whole thing, but I do intend on giving it the attention it deserves at some point.

    *Not that I've read the German version...
  11. Aug 13, 2012 #10
    I actually purchased Euclid's elements about two hours before I made this thread, along with critique of pure reason and Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

    I also plan on getting into programming C when school starts back up the 23rd. I've had a pretty lengthy tutorial book for quite a while now, but haven't seem to be that motivated to pick it up heavily. Hence this is because I loose all my motivation during the summer, then it all hits me again when school starts back up. :tongue:
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