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Physics for the layman.

  1. Dec 26, 2003 #1
    Physics books/papers for the layman.

    I'm pretty much a laymen when it comes to physics, I really only joined this forum to get a few specific questions answered but now my curiosity about physics in general has been piqued, but I find that I can't understand most anything that's discussed regarding physics. So are there any basic books to read to provide basic understandings and provide outlines of important principles/properties/laws/theories?

    I'm a sophmore in high school, and in my school district the progression is:
    Freshman - Geology
    Sophmore - Biology
    Junior - Chemistry
    Senior - Physics
    So I have very little knowledge of anything

    Areas I'm particularly interested in:
    - Electricity
    - General Quantum physics (a sort of introduction)
    - A good biography on Newton containing lots of information about his works.
    - A simmilar biography of Tesla
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 26, 2003 #2
    Seems to me that at your level, the science works by Isaac Asimov might be appropriate. Asimov has a way of explaining things that makes them understandable. He has a book called Understanding Physics that pretty much covers everyting. He's written on the Atom and various topics of astronomy. He's got lots of books that are collections of short essays on various topics of science. Note that I'm talking about his science books, not his works of science fiction.

    I'd hold off on the quantum physics until you feel comfortable with classical physics. It's easy to get carried away with the peculularities of QM without being able to appreciate how much of it is necessary or why it's surprising.

    Good luck.

    Edit: Fixed a bracket.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2003
  4. Dec 26, 2003 #3
    Isaac Asimov is excellent. I've read "Understanding Physics" and learned much from it. I believe he wrote more about science than science fiction.

    'In Search of Schrödinger's Cat' and 'Schrödinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality' by John Gribben are good introductions to Quantum Mechanics. It's been awhile since I've read anything on Quantum Mechanics so someone might be able to recommend more current texts.

    I agree with bob314159; you should study classical physics to start but I don't see any real harm in reading an introductory text on QM.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2003
  5. Dec 27, 2003 #4
    6 Easy Pieces

    Richard Feynman was a good start for me. His "Six Easy Pieces" book is a great start for beginners.
  6. Dec 27, 2003 #5
    Six Easy Pieces: The Essentials of Physics. This book by Richard Feynman is great for the beginner who wants to know the basics of what physics is all about.
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