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Physics with No mathematics background

  1. Oct 15, 2009 #1
    I had no mathematics and physics background during my undergraduate studies. Due to some reason, I have to study Physics now. I have to found some book on Mathematics for Physics and I found the below two on Amazon:
    Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences by Mary L.Boas
    Mathematical Methods for Science Students by L. Stephenson
    Are the above suitable? Thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 15, 2009 #2
    These books expect that you have gone through at least the calculus sequence (at least the Boas book does). When you say you don't have any math background, what do you mean? What's the highest level of math you have had? Learning physics takes a lot of math preparation and learning.

    If you are just interested in physics and don't have the time to learn the math, then I recommend getting Understanding Physics by Isaac Asimov. There is also Gravity by George Gamow. In fact, any of Gamow's books would do. He writes books that are very fun to read, contain physics, but are accessible.

    Also, The Quantum World by Kenneth Ford and Diane Goldstein is pretty good.

    See this https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=2389844#post2389844" for more.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  4. Oct 15, 2009 #3
    I had algebra but not calculus. What do you suggest if I have to go through the maths in Physics? I think I need some really basic maths training.......Thanks
  5. Oct 15, 2009 #4


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    You really can't do any meaningful physics without calculus. So that's probably where you need to start. There are tons of threads here about introductory calculus books, so maybe you can look a few of those up.
  6. Oct 15, 2009 #5
    Thanks a lot! It going to be tough....
  7. Nov 15, 2009 #6
    Check out the video lectures on physics and calculus at ocw.mit.edu. They are in the audio/video section in Physics and Math, respectively. I have always learned best from lectures and these professors are top notch.
  8. Nov 15, 2009 #7
    Just how poor is your mathematical skills..?
  9. Nov 16, 2009 #8
    you are not ready for the two books you listed, there is a lot you need to know before that.

    to begin with you want to do Calculus. I would say you want to MASTER at least the following: limit, continuity, sequence/series, derivatives, and integrals. You can further study them in 3-Dimensions...but this isn't that bad.

    whenever I'm trying to self-study something i have no clue of i buy two books. One of them would be a formal textbook and another would be informal guide/manual. Then study topic by topic from both. I suggest you do the same.

    Search for Calculus guide/manual (and textbook as well) in amazon.com there are so many of them...good ones like "Calculus for Dummies", "How to Ace Calculus", "The Calculus Lifesaver".

    P.S. i never used any one of the listed above...but i hear they are good.
  10. Nov 16, 2009 #9
    Just how poor are your mathematical skills. FTFY.
  11. Nov 17, 2009 #10
    You need to tell us what level of physics you need to learn. Would a non-calculus-based first-year course be enough? Then you just need good algebra. However, as others have said, for anything meaningful you need much more math.

    I own this and it is good. It is not lightweight, though.

    It has free videos...

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