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Prepping for first "Modern Physics" Class

  1. Nov 5, 2014 #1
    Hello people of the Physics Forums, this is going to be a bit of a long post, I apologize for that!

    I'm posting here to ask for some advice on how to prepare for my first sophomore-level modern physics class. I am feeling very nervous about this class because it is imperative I get top grades in order to make up for past blunders. I was a not engaged in academics as a HS student, entered University and basically had to play catch-up with my peers, learning math for the first time and taking a bunch of physics at once. Generally being an overexcited freshman and jumping into every commitment that caught my interest (clubs, sports). Not surprisingly, it was too much. Eventually, after sophomore Thermodynamics I wised up and decided to take some time off physics and just take math and work on a materials science minor. So now, a year later I'm back and ready to jump into my major classes again.

    I've taken Linear Algebra almost a year ago now and finished Differential Equations this past summer. I have also taken multivariable calc 1 & 2, integrating over surfaces and such. However, I feel paranoid that I've forgot things that are important. My first question is, how can I review these subjects with an eye to what I would need for Modern Physics? In addition to math, what physics should I review? I love mechanics, rotational dynamics, momentum and that stuff, struggled a bit more with the electromagentism and optics like double slits and single slits and lens stuff.

    Tangentially, I work as a tutor for my University, and am currently holding the study group for the physics class is rotational dynamics/fluids/optics. Being responsible for this material to a bunch of students has really helped me. I might have the opportunity to run the electromagnetism class study group next quarter. This class was difficult for me when I last took it but this might be a great opportunity for me to finally learn it well. My question is, will devoting serious time to electromagnetism stuff help me in Modern next quarter? Also, are there any ways to learn electromagnetism that you have found effective?

    I believe the textbook we are using is Modern Physics by Randy Harris. I know this has been a large, messy, vague question. I guess I'd just appreciate some pointers or past experiences because I'm stressin'. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 10, 2014 #2
    Thanks for the post! Sorry you aren't generating responses at the moment. Do you have any further information, come to any new conclusions or is it possible to reword the post?
  4. Nov 11, 2014 #3
    I highly recommend going through these videos on YouTube. They are a fun and effective way to at least get some preparation done.

    These video lectures may not be rigorous or advanced enough but I think they are a good way to start.

    The following two videos are introductory:

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL694FA187D8C2028A also check out other videos on that channel.

    This one is a bit more advanced:


    Also, make sure you solve a lot of problems... don't leave it till the last minute.

    I personally wish I watched these videos before starting the modern physics course.
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