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Reading/Study Recommendations for an 8th Grader

  1. Mar 5, 2005 #1
    Hello all:

    I am an eighth grader who is very bored with his curriculum... way too easy. I am just about finished outlining the textbook so i wont have anything to do.

    What books (specifically large textbooks) for physics and chemistry can you recommend?

    I have read hyperspace twice just about memorizing the content (i actually did a big outline of the book if anyone's interested), so i need something thats a little harder than that...

    Also, does anyone have very specific study skills to help improve the memory for what I read and for my focus?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 5, 2005 #2
    Hyperspace is a good introductory book, yet it is a popularization of the properties of superstring theory. If I were you, I'd start with the basics. When I was in 7th-8th grade, I bought my first "weird" physics book, and I didn't really like it, but I read it. I thought it was a horrible book, but later down the road, I've found it one of the most informative introductory books I have read. It's call, Nature Loves to Hide: A Western Perspective. I can't tell you the author off the top of my head, I think like Lee Shalim??. This is a intro to Quantum Mechanics book.

    However, I advise you start at the basics. Pure knowledge comes from the root of understanding. I'm sure you've gotten a great jump start.

    Actually, now that I think about my current library, I think a great book for you would be Standing on the Shoulders of Giants by Stephen Hawking. This introduces the views and theories of Corpernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein, with the math and everything. It's great. This will really strengthen your knowledge base. Then, you can tackle quantum physics and m-theory and LQG and have a basic understanding of the principles that they are manipulating. And as Kaku pointed out to you in Hyperspace, it gets pretty wierd.

    Paden Roder
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2005
  4. Mar 5, 2005 #3
    I'd avoid popularizations of anything "new" that doesn't have any experimental evidence to support it (such as M-Theory and LCQ, but not quantum mechanics which is pretty sound), as it tends to pollute your thinking, and it gives you the idea that you understand something when you really don't. Incidentally, I read Cosmos by Carl Sagan when I was about your age, and you might want to check it out. It is basically a survey of topics in science, from astronomy, physics, chemistry and even chemistry, with appropriate historical background and examples.

    What mathematics are you taking now? You might want to consider going to summer school or trying to learn a subject on your own and pass a placement test. I did this with geometry after 8th grade, and it worked out great. You can't really understand physics without good mathematics skills.
  5. Mar 6, 2005 #4
    I suggest you do not read anything that is abstract. If I were you, and was your age, try to learn as much math and mechanics as possible. You cant expect to learn the advanced stuff without knowing the basics. Study calculus and algebra for math and mechanics for physics. Good Luck.


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