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Physics learning process?

  1. Mar 20, 2012 #1

    Tri

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    Hello, I want to make this short and simple. Basically I have a very strong interest for physics;I have been staying up on news for about 2.5 years, I have read countless books on the topic, and I can't stop thinking about the theories I read about. All of this is not enough for me, I want to be able to create something but I need the tools. So, can anyone refer me to a place or give me the steps I should follow where I can learn physics. From mechanics, to end up studying Astro Physics(which is my ultimatum).
    Also any other books I can read up on would be nice, and I will be taking physics next year in my sophmore year but I typically become bored staying on a topic for longer than I would like so I want to learn What I want to know about and at my own pace.
    I might seem superficial and not know what I am getting into but I really love physics and I want to be able to participate in it. so please don't judge.
    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2012 #2

    Bobbywhy

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    Tri, Welcome to Physics Forums! (Happyface)

    My suggestion is for you to obtain Physics textbooks from basic to advanced. With these you can study whatever chapter (subject) you are interested in at the moment. You can put the book down, learn other things, and pick the book up later to continue on your journey. If you live near a College or University, try visiting the bookstore's Used Books section. Also visit this website:

    http://www.csun.edu/science/ref/textbooks/textbooks.html

    The second part of my suggestion is to recommend Dover Publications. Dover publishes works by the most respected and influential names in math and science. You'll find numerous titles by winners of the Nobel and Wolf prizes and recipients of the Fields Medal. Here are inexpensive classics written by the original authors.

    http://store.doverpublications.com/by-subject-science-and-mathematics.html

    Let us know how it works out for you. Bobbywhy
     
  4. Mar 21, 2012 #3
    Since you already have an end goal in mind, you might try working backwards from your end goal too. For example, pick one topic in astrophysics, pick one news story in that topic that particularly interested you, then look up one academic paper, and spend about a month reading that paper... just ask thousands of questions. Those questions should lead you to more reading material...etc
     
  5. Mar 21, 2012 #4

    sophiecentaur

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    Whatever subject you eventually follow you will need to address this problem. Physics, in particular, is full of 'slog' and you will need to be able to stick at things until you have sussed them out. This will take longer than five minutes, in most cases. You will need to motivate yourself here.
     
  6. Mar 21, 2012 #5

    Tri

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    I have no problem devoting a respectable amount of time if it's interesting and from what I have seen, Physics is extremely interesting.
     
  7. Mar 21, 2012 #6

    Tri

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    Will I can't really pick an exact section out of astro physics, since my interest is so vast.
    Any other suggestion?
     
  8. Mar 21, 2012 #7

    Tri

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    And where should I go to learn the material?
     
  9. Mar 21, 2012 #8
    It's a very vast field, you can't possibly hope to learn every single little facet of every field
     
  10. Mar 21, 2012 #9

    Tri

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    Of course not every single little fact especially at my age, But I would like an in depth understanding of the things that Interest me.
    But my initial question for making this thread was to get links or places to go to learn from the beginning to my ultimatum.
     
  11. Mar 21, 2012 #10
    Definition of ULTIMATUM

    : a final proposition, condition, or demand; especially : one whose rejection will end negotiations and cause a resort to force or other direct action

    Examples of ULTIMATUM

    She was given an ultimatum—work harder or lose her job.
    <issued the ultimatum that the project be finished by the following week, or it would be terminated>


    Sorry, a bit of a vocabulary and grammar nitpicker. :)

    Anyway, I like the suggestion above about working backwards. But, as somebody pointed out, you'll have to start somewhere and pick something. Like, how do galaxies form? That might lead you to learn about how stars form, which will lead you to learn about our nearest star (our sun) and what we know about it - nuclear fission, gravity, it's composition, etc. Kind of neat way of studying I'd think. (Not typically how one does it in a university course).

    There's also Khan academy:

    http://www.khanacademy.org/#physics
    http://www.khanacademy.org/#cosmology-and-astronomy
     
  12. Mar 21, 2012 #11
    :) i guess even if you worked backwards like what i was saying, you'd soon discover that it's probably still most efficient to just suffer through the basic physics in an undergraduate curriculum to have the tools to think about what ever physics it is that you might be interested in.
     
  13. Mar 21, 2012 #12
    Or some mixture of the two... Idunno, I still like it. :)
     
  14. Mar 21, 2012 #13
    thank you, I like it too, that's why I suggested it :)
     
  15. Mar 21, 2012 #14
    Unfortunately it doesn't work with math. hehe
     
  16. Mar 21, 2012 #15
    hmm, start by looking up a news article about math that interested you and then...
    wait, since when was the last time i saw such an article? oh that's right, this doesn't work :)
     
  17. Mar 21, 2012 #16

    Tri

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    Actually, I used the word correctly. An ultimatum is generally the final demand in a series of requests, this fits perfectly in my scenario. The end product of my goal( to learn astro physics) is my ultimatum/"Final demand".
     
  18. Mar 21, 2012 #17
    Not really, but never mind. Not important in this thread. Just trying to help out.
     
  19. Mar 21, 2012 #18

    Tri

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    Tell me how I'm not.
     
  20. Mar 21, 2012 #19

    sophiecentaur

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    Don't assume that all the Physics and Maths that you will need to learn will be as fun and attractive as the bits you have come across so far. There will be days when you are not 'naturally drawn' to the subject. Those will be the days when 'true grit' and maturity will be needed.
     
  21. Mar 21, 2012 #20
    This times 1,000,000

    For me the vast majority of E&M falls under the tedious category :tongue2:
    And let me tell ya, E&M is quite an important part of physics
     
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