• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products via PF Here!

Studying Physics as a hobby

Hey guys. I am a former physics student, but I switched to engineering after 2 years because I kind of sucked as a student, and I did not see myself in academia. Also, I kind of really started to not understand when introduced to proofs and mathematical physics. I did not know what a proof was until about age 18, and my math education was extremely poor in high school (it only went up to algebra 2 :/). I still maintain that physics was not for me, but I never meant to just leave it forever (although engineering is obviously applied physics). I still read my University Physics book from time to time because I absolutely love it and understand everything in it. It's just that when I get to the real books that I get stuck.

Just as an example, I remember buying Kolenkow's book in my second semester, and I was very excited to get it because the hardcover is so nice and bright. I understood the first chapter perfectly, and then came the problems. I got absolutely owned by them and did not even know where to start. The same goes for Griffiths, though I could solve more problems for that book. I would really love to continue studying physics as a hobby. Obviously I don't need to do it as hard as an aspiring physicist, but I want to get a little farther than what I did. Any tips?

Thanks
 
10,948
4,454
I'd try going through the Physics video sequence on Khan Academy. That should make it easier to read your Univ Physics book.

Alternatively, you could watch one video at a time and then read more about it in your book and followup solving a few problems. The problem solving is the key to really understanding things.

PF can be your resource for confusion when solving any problem.
 

berkeman

Mentor
55,747
5,823
PF can be your resource for confusion when solving any problem.
I'm having trouble parsing that sentence... o0)

:smile:
 
1,489
486
The problem solving is the key to really understanding things.
This is the most important point. I think it was @Dr. Courtney who wrote about it, comparing it to practicing a sport or practicing scales as a musician. I had a professor who told us to read the textbook "with paper and pencil in hand." Just sitting there reading the books won't get you far.

That also makes a "self study" or "hobby" approach difficult. I find that I really have to keep at it to make any progress. It is just too easy to go do something else, whether mowing the lawn or watching a ball game on TV.
 

DEvens

Education Advisor
Gold Member
1,007
302
I'm having trouble parsing that sentence... o0)

:smile:
When I was writing my thesis, one of the sentences in the intro was along these lines. "There is a significant amount of confusion in the literature on this topic." And under my breath I always added "To which we are eager to add."
 

DEvens

Education Advisor
Gold Member
1,007
302
I'd try going through the Physics video sequence on Khan Academy. That should make it easier to read your Univ Physics book.
I have not looked at Khan Academy for some years. Do they get into university level physics? Last time I looked (very long ago) they were only doing high school at the most.
 

Want to reply to this thread?

"Physics as a hobby" You must log in or register to reply here.

Related Threads for: Physics as a hobby

Replies
13
Views
2K
  • Posted
Replies
13
Views
11K
  • Posted
Replies
6
Views
674
Replies
2
Views
794
  • Posted
Replies
10
Views
1K
Replies
7
Views
3K

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top