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Recommend physics books

  1. Mar 10, 2014 #1
    What are some good books I could get that cover good physics. Quantum and the others, I have Quantum Evolution by Johnjoe McFadden, if that helps
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    There sure is.

    I suggest the following sequence:

    It will take you a while to get through, but if you are a serious student, you will gain a VERY deep understanding of QM way above populist accounts.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Mar 10, 2014 #3
    Thanks Bill, I'll check those out
  5. Mar 10, 2014 #4
    I hope your math and physics foundations are sound. If not, you'll need to work on those first.

    You'll need to have mastered calculus I, II, III and differential equations before seriously going into QM. A knowledge of LA would be really handy too.

    For the physics side, you'll need to be familiar with classical mechanics and E&M.

    If you don't meet these prereqs, then don't even bother with QM.
  6. Mar 10, 2014 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    I know the feeling.

    But I do believe Susskinds books have filled a gap so that the serious student with less than optimal preparation can, with effort and determination, make progress.

  7. Mar 10, 2014 #6
    Sure, Susskind if very good. But I do hope you realize that the OP is 14 years old: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=742487
  8. Mar 10, 2014 #7
    Thanks for pointing that out. I am 14 but I am advanced in Math and Science classes and skipped 9th grade classes and went to 10th. If that helps, what should I read?
  9. Mar 10, 2014 #8
    That doesn't tell us a lot, really. Can you tell us specifically what math and physics you know and what you are learning now?
  10. Mar 10, 2014 #9
    In Math, I'm learning some calculus ( pre), in science is where there is an issue. You see, my school doesn't have an advanced physics class, we have advanced Bio. I'm in AP Bio, so my knowledge in Physics is from Seniors I know that are becoming Physicists. I've been reading physics stuff for a while now, and I've gone from Classical to Astro, and so on. But when I finally got to Quantum, I read everything I could get my hands on about it. So that's where I am know. I hope you understand I'm being really serious about this kind of stuff, I wouldn't want anyone to think I was just some kid who wanted homework help.
  11. Mar 10, 2014 #10
    I've been into physics since 5th grade, but until this year I never was in contact with a physicist. I should have worded that better
  12. Mar 10, 2014 #11


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    If I asked you to calculate the magnetic vector potential and magnetic field of a uniformly rotating charged sphere would you be able to do it?
  13. Mar 10, 2014 #12
    Yes Newton
  14. Mar 11, 2014 #13
    I think what everyone is getting at is that if you want to read "popular science" books on Quantum Physics, then you are most likely at a level where you could begin to understand some of the qualitative aspects of the theory. However, if you want to actually be able to do computation, you need more math and physics, period.

    From the math side, you need Calculus 1, 2, and 3, Ordinary Differential Equations, and Linear Algebra. For physics, I would at minimum recommend having classical mechanics and electromagnetism at the AP level (which is equivalent to college freshman level physics).

    There are a range of books and methods to learn these topics (Khan Academy at least touches on all of them), but without the proper background, you will be lost with a real QM textbook.
  15. Mar 11, 2014 #14
    Thanks, what books should I look into getting then
  16. Mar 11, 2014 #15


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Yep. I wanted to learn QM. Then I realized that I knew almost nothing about physics. Now I'm satisfied with my classical mechanics and electromagnetism, as well as on my pre-calc.

    Posting to find this thread later to see what people recommend for calculus, maths, etc.
  17. Mar 11, 2014 #16


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    At what level have you studied classical mechanics and EM? If you can calculate the magnetic vector potential of a charged rotating sphere I assume you've done EM at least at the level of Griffiths. Have you seen boundary value problems? Do you know how to work with special functions (spherical harmonics, Legendre polynomials, Bessel functions etc.)?

    Don't rush into QM. You should spend as much time as possible with classical mechanics and EM, especially EM. There's no incentive to rush through EM anyways; in my opinion it (EM) is a lot more fun to learn than QM and a lot more challenging at the textbook level.
  18. Mar 11, 2014 #17


    Staff: Mentor

    If you are really serious then start with a book that will bring you up to speed on calculus:

    I taught myself calculus at 14 and some advanced schools teach their good students calculus at that age.

    Once you have done that then look into the Feynman Lectures:

    Anyone with an interest in physics should have that three volume set.

    Once you have gone through that you will be well and truly prepared for the sequence I outlined on QM.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  19. Mar 11, 2014 #18
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