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Studying Roadmap for Bachelors Degree in Physics

  1. Dec 2, 2016 #1
    I apologize for asking a question that has been asked trillions of times. I've searched the PF for many links, however, I didn't find something good.

    Let's suppose, a person named Arthur. This guy is a 12th grade student. He is able to do Halliday Resnick Walker. He has slight background in Calculus and Matrices in Determinants, although very basic, since he's not from USA, he's not able to tell his equivalence. He has found a copy of his Maths syllabus for the saints going to answer the thread.

    Link[/PLAIN] [Broken] for the Maths CBSE Class 12th Syllabus.

    This guy is going to begin physics. But, he's totally confused about what to do. What maths he should learn, where to find the books and resources. He read
    How[/PLAIN] [Broken] to become a
    GOOD Theoretical Physicist
    by Gerard 't Hoft but the resources provided were very advanced for him. He seeks advice on what the Physicsforumzens of the PF did for their B.Sc in Physics.

    All hail the might Physicsforumzens.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 2, 2016 #2
    This book has Mechanics, Waves and Thermodynamics so if you can actually do all these then you can do a first year lectures at a physics department of a university.
    About Mathematics now, make sure you have a solid (and when I say solid I mean it) background in calculus, try the book ""Thomas' Calculus" by FINNEY R.L., WEIR M.D., GIORDANO F.R., it comes in 2 books or in 1 it will get you covered. But I can see from the syllabus you posted that you should be at a good level.

    Now about the resources I cannot say anything since I am from Greece and I don't know how things work in the U.S.A. but you should do your research and look for information about the universities you are interested in. Many give financial support that you can claim.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  4. Dec 2, 2016 #3


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  5. Dec 2, 2016 #4
    The book name didn't come. I think there is some mistake there. I'll try Thomas Calculus for now. Anyway, I come in poor section(compared to avg. US employee) so I think getting a good financial aid might not be very tough.


    I read this one, btw, it's more like a journal and there's not much about what courses and resources in maths and physics to pick up for self-study.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
  6. Dec 2, 2016 #5
    My mistake then, I thought that you can manage this book of classical Physics both understanding the content and able to solve the exercises.
  7. Dec 2, 2016 #6
    I think we both got confused there. I thought you were recommending me some book and the name didn't come by mistake. I can solve Resnick. As I said, I thought you were talking about some other book.

  8. Dec 2, 2016 #7
    That's okay then.
    The only book I recommended was the one about calculus, so good luck with this one! For any further questions do not hesitate to ask again.
  9. Dec 2, 2016 #8
    So, I've tried the Thomson's book and I feel I would be able to do it. Moving, any book recommendation for Physics?
  10. Dec 2, 2016 #9
    You mean Thoma's book, I guess. Now for Physics textbooks, what kind of books are interested in? You can have a look at Young & Freedman University Physics but there are numerous books, it really depends on what you are looking for.
  11. Dec 2, 2016 #10
    I've done Young and Freedman too(I bought one from trash-seller for a dollar :p). So I want a book that takes me to the next step.
  12. Dec 2, 2016 #11


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    In Part II, I indicated the level of calculus that one should have ("....This would cover all the basic calculus and analytical geometry (level of Thomas-Finney)....") and the level of physics one needs to master (......"The typical intro physics courses in US universities would be at the level of Halliday-Resnick. It is typically covered in 2 or 3 semesters and is intended to be a general survey of many different aspects of physics"....) during the first year of college.

    In Part III, I presented what one would need for mathematical preparations. I even gave an explicit recommendation of a text that one should have (......"I would strongly suggest that you purchase this text: ”Mathematical Methods in the Physical Science” by Mary Boas (Wiley). I have been recommending (threatening?) this text to several people. This book is meant for someone to start using at the end of the 2nd year, and can be used as a self-study"......)

    In Part IV, I indicated the level of advanced undergraduate topics in CM, E&M, and QM that one should have, with accompanying sample of texts that one typically will find at that level: (......"This is where you start studying the ”meat” of a physics program – what I would call the 3 foundations of physics: classical mechanics, electromagnetic fields, and quantum mechanics. These are taught in separate courses, typically over 2 semesters each. Typical textbooks for each course are: classical mechanics – Marion or Symon; E&M: Griffith, Reitz/Milford/Christy; QM: Griffith, Liboff".....).

    So, what was it again that you said about the lack of "resources in maths and physics" in that article?

  13. Dec 2, 2016 #12
    Didn't mean it like that. There's a bit difference in the US high-school and my country's high-school. So the starting points are a bit strange. The lack of resources meant, I was not very suited to resources provided at the start. Thus, this thread was a means to clarify what I need to learn before jumping into your guide. So basically, one would recomment me a resources and I could go throught it and learn something. Then I might have enough foundation to start the rigorous stuff.

    Summary: I don't know how I stand up against high-school students of US. Thus, the resources may be lacking for me. Thus the thread and the comment. Your guide is excellent, as I've gone through it many time :D

    Zz's No.1 Fan.
  14. Dec 2, 2016 #13


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    That book is at the same level as the Halliday/Resnick(/Walker) book referenced by ZapperZ. So (in principle at least) you should be ready for the sort of books listed in his Part IV above, provided that you have also done calculus through multivariable (vector) calculus, some differential equations, and some linear algebra.
  15. Dec 3, 2016 #14
    Thanks for the replies.

    I've done a bit research. I found out that my courses in school are on par with AP courses in American Schools. I've also done some 'competitive books' which I think, covers stuff with "MUCH" more breadth than the AP courses. I'll try lord Zz's recommendations for now.
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