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Physics Paths

  1. Nov 17, 2014 #1
    I've decided that I would like to pursue a career in physics. Before I decide to devote my life to it (I am in year 9, so there's really no rush), I would like to find out more about it. However I am only 15, so most information I find is far beyond my intelligence. What I would like to know is where I can start to learn about it (websites, books, magazines etc.) and learn about it in language that I understand. I don't really want to learn everything, I'm just more interested in what's involved in all the different paths you can take with physics and just getting a general understanding of physics. I understand that it's hard to simplify physics, but I am quite intelligent and willing to learn.

    Thank you in advance (I apologise if I posted in the wrong section, but I'm fairly new to this forum)
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2014 #2
    http://www.aps.org/ would be a good place to look. Remember, physics is a vast field with a variety of subdisciplines, and it extends beyond what is usually found in pop sci books (string theory, etc.)

    I don't believe it's particularly hard to simplify physics--after all, I believe the ability to explain physical concepts to a child is what Einstein emphasized. In order to be able to DO physics, however, you will have to wait until you've been exposed to enough mathematical topics to be comfortable with applying an understanding of physics.
  4. Nov 17, 2014 #3
    Well I love maths and I enjoy learning new things, so what are some of theses mathematical topics that apply to physics?

    Thank you for your reply axmls.
  5. Nov 17, 2014 #4
    Well, based on your grade level, I assume you're taking Algebra I or something close to that. It's important to get a strong background in these fundamentals if you want to do physics. You'll need things from Algebra II and trigonometry and precalculus as well. When you learn calculus, many of the ideas in physics will become much more clear to you. Of course, there are other areas of math that show up in physics as well, such as linear algebra, vector calculus, differential geometry, etc.

    Basically, you will need to be comfortable with a variety of mathematical topics in physics. Fortunately, if you truly enjoy physics, then it will be that much easier for you to practice these things.

    I recommend that you continue to do some researching regarding what looks interesting in physics to you. This can always change, of course, as over time, you will be exposed to different areas, and you may love some while hating others. I encourage you to participate in science fairs, or mess around with science-experiment related things in your free time.

    Remember, there's a recurring idea that shows up on these forums that every physicist is Einstein (or smarter!). Invariably, talk of IQ comes into play. I'll tell you right now, don't let any of that concern you. Anyone who is truly passionate about physics can do physics, but remember, hard work will usually beat natural skill. That said, if you're passionate about it and you're willing to work hard, then make sure you're getting a good grasp of the maths and sciences you're studying right now in school, and just find ways to get involved in physics.
  6. Nov 18, 2014 #5
    Thank you so much for your help axmls. You have been incredibly helpful.
  7. Nov 18, 2014 #6
    There are some books aimed at people of your level. "Discovering Relativity for Yourself" is a book which teaches what you need beyond arithmetic to learn special relativity and even some general relativity. I have it myself and recommend it.
  8. Nov 19, 2014 #7
    I'll check it out. Thank you Jozape.
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