My situation is that I taught myself Calculus 1, 2 and some 3 over the last year, and the better part of Freshman physics for majors, mechanics and EM. I bought 4 texts to learn from: Halliday, Tipler, Giancoli, and Young and Freedman. And I just started learning Diff. Eq. & Linear Algebra. The next logical step I thought (aside from buying some Sophomore physics texts) was to learn some physics software. Fortran was a word I kept seeing in that regard. That is the only reason I started with that. But I keep hearing that it is outdated. Here are some questions: 1. Are there any advantages to learning C? If not then I won't waste my time with it. 2. What is the next most Physics oriented programming software other than Fortran? Matlab is of course something I desire to learn but don't have the money to purchase a legal copy at this point. 3. (along a different vein) I love the hell out of physics and want to continue teaching myself till it stops being interesting. I have plenty of time. I am a night security guard without a family. But I am 40 years old and really don't have the option to go back to school in physics right now, and I don't have access to laboratories. Is there a since in which you can't really learn physics without lab? What really attracts me is the software side of things. Is there a legitimate way to be into physics with only books and a computer at your disposal?