Resources to understand physics-related math? (1 Viewer)

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

I'm currently 23 years old, and I've been working as a software engineer since school (few years ago) while maintaining my interest in all the sciences at a more superficial level (i.e. not delving entirely into the mathematics).

I did have calculus in school, but I'm afraid my understanding has suffered over time, and my class wasn't exceptional even without the time dilation.

I am going back to school for physics and astronomy simply because I feel it's where my interests truly lie, but can you pundits suggest books or other resources that will help me become acclimated? I'd like to be able to fully realize the math behind relativity, Lorentz transformations, Maxwell's equations, etc.; those are just the more well-known examples. I want to understand profoundly, not superficially.

Thanks!
 

chroot

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
10,097
33
Buy a textbook (or ten).

I believe one of the best E&M textbooks is Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics.

You might want to consider picking up a copy of The Feynman Lectures on Physics. The first volume deals with atomic theory, some special relativity, and so on. The second volume is nearly all electromagnetism. The third volume is quantum mechanics.

In addition, there are a lot of good short books on (special) relativity theory -- perhaps someone else has a good suggestion of one.

- Warren
 
Much appreciated.

I actually own the lectures, but admittedly I haven't immersed myself in them. I've also read a few books on relativity, including Einstein's, and although I grok the material, I haven't the same level of appreciation for its profundity as Michio Kaku would say.

I'll give Jackson's book a read and see if it helps me see the proverbial light.

Thanks again.
 

chroot

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
10,097
33
Well, Feynman's lectures present a pretty decent treatment of special relativity. They're also very easy to read, and they do show the math.

- Warren
 
418
3
Be prepared to spend lots of time with the jackson book. If you don't have a good understanding of undergrad EM jackson will be difficult. The problems are usally extremly long, but doable.

JMD
 

The Physics Forums Way

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving

Members online

Top