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Self learning for physics and math

  1. May 2, 2013 #1
    Hi everyone! I am a high school junior in New York, now finishing AP Physics C, Calculus BC and multivariable calculus (introductory). I want to pursuit a physics/math career in the future, planning to be a researcher. I have quite a lot of free time so I want to utlize them by self learning physics and math, can anyone give me some suggestions on what book I need to read? Thanks a lot!!!

  2. jcsd
  3. May 2, 2013 #2


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    Gold Member

    if youre thinking math you will definitely need to prep for algebra and analysis (assuming you go for the double major). spivak is a good author for these but perhaps too advanced? a good one is abbott's "understanding analysis" as this subject will help you explore math in a way you havent yet.

    best luck
  4. May 2, 2013 #3
    What research do you want to do? Astrophysics? Pure maths?
  5. May 2, 2013 #4


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    In all of the following, google is your friend. Hunt for web sites giving extra info.

    Studying for this exam was a real help getting me into undergrad. Winning it (well, tied for first) got me a nice scholarship as well. Though, unless you want to study in Waterloo, Canada, you can't collect.


    That web page has the 2012 questions and solutions. There used to be a book called "A Decade of SIN" but, other than my own bookshelf, I can't seem to find a copy. It had 10 years of the exam with solutions, and I'm not giving it up.

    Don't be afraid to get other reading for breadth. A university degree should not be about only one subject. If you have time, think about what other classes you will take and read something for them.

    A trip to your local university would be helpful. Possibly you can get useful info from the website of universities you are interested in. Get the class calendar for your local university and see what classes are interesting.

    See if you can find out from your local university what the first year textbook is for those classes. Then see if you can pick up those books from either their bookstore or their library. Many university libraries will let you get a library card, possibly with either a small payment or a small deposit. You can probably get such info over the web or the phone.

    Do the homework questions. Write them out like you would to hand in the assignment. Hey, you never know. Maybe you will be handing them in as assignments and you might be making your first year a breeze.

    Consider reading Feynman's "Feynman Lectures" but don't get too excited if they are opaque. His own evaluation was that they were not particularly suited to undergrads. They are a lot of fun. And they introduce lots of important concepts.
  6. May 2, 2013 #5


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    AP Physics C is supposed to be more or less equivalent to the first-year calculus based intro physics sequence for physics and other science majors at most universities in the US. At many universities, the next course physics majors take is an "introductory modern physics" course using a book such as this one:

    Taylor / Zafiratos / Dubson
  7. May 2, 2013 #6
    Thank you for the info!
  8. May 2, 2013 #7
    I haven't decided what research :/
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