Physics Topics for Astrophysics?

  • #1
I've done some searching on this forum and elsewhere and from what I can tell, the book Introduction to Modern Astrophysics by Carroll and Ostlie is an excellent place to begin learning about the subject. I believe the introduction to the book states that anyone with a calculus based first-year physics background should have no problem understanding most of the content. At the moment, I'm in the process of teaching myself calculus but I'm not sure which physics book to go to, nor what topics I should study. I know that astrophysics draws on many different physics topics (mechanics, relativity, thermodynamics, etc), but if someone could supply a sort of list of necessary basic physics knowledge I'd be grateful. I assume things like optics and circuits could safely be skipped, for instance. If the answer to which topics to study happens to be "all of them" then are there any that are more or less important than others? An good understanding of gravity, for instance, I have to assume is more important than some other physics topics.

I believe I've seen Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday mentioned as being a good introductory calculus based physics text but I'm not sure if it's the best option for self-study. Would this be a good choice, or would some other book be better?

Thanks in advance.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
1,254
3
The best physics introduction you can get is the Feynman Lectures---the only issue is if it will be accessible for you; if you're learning calculus it should be alright.

For Astrophysics, you need to know all of classical mechanics (newtonian dynamics, lagrangian and hamiltonian formalisms), electricity and magnetism, and thermodynamics/statistical-mechanics. Beyond that, special relativity is helpful, as is quantum mechanics, general relativity, nuclear physics---if you are interested in particle stuff and radiative process; solid state physics---if you are interested in stellar structure.

You have to start with the basic physics. Halliday is good; Feynman is better---if it works for you.
 
  • #3
Thank you very much! Exactly the kind of information I was looking for. It's very much appreciated.
 

Related Threads on Physics Topics for Astrophysics?

  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
7K
Replies
0
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
3K
Replies
1
Views
2K
Top