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Self Study

  1. Dec 7, 2009 #1
    What kinds of problems might someone encounter in trying to study Advanced Physics (focusing on Quantum/subatomic physics) by themselves from textbooks?

    What might be a good path to follow in this?
    What math and physics topics/books might you be able to recommend and in what order?

    Is doing experiments necessary?
    Where might a teacher be required?

    Opinions or suggestions about a school website that has a relatively detailed curriculum description could be helpful.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 9, 2009 #2
    What is your maths and physics background?
  4. Jan 11, 2010 #3
    limited. I took BC Calc AP, but didn't really study seriously the second semester and the AP physics the AB test got a 5 and the BC test a 1 hehe...
    Had different things to think about the second semester of senior year. Since then I've been thinking about those other issues so math hasn't been much of a priority.
  5. Jan 11, 2010 #4
    Do you have any experience in probability and statistics?

  6. Jan 11, 2010 #5
    One can't make suggestions for learning those topics without understanding your background and motivation further. Why is it you want to learn the above topics? (I'm curious...)

    Covering your questions anyway, I'd say that the difficulties lie with the fact that the reason they're advanced physics topics is that students need a good foundation before tackling such areas. Whilst the more 'basic' topics covered in a physics degree might not seem directly relevant, physics is about technique. The techniques and thought-processes developed in low-level physics are essential from a planning point of view before something like quantum physics can be tackled.

    Without that background it will be difficult for you to obtain a feel for the way quantum physics works and the significance of things you come across. On top of that, you would be best placed to have an excellent understanding of the relevant mathematics.

    Otherwise, no, you won't (nor I imagine would it be possible for you to) need to perform any experiments. Quantum physics at this level will completely be book and problem work.
  7. Jan 11, 2010 #6
    I'm currently a junior in high school and self teaching Astrophysics. I picked up the U of Chicago Graduate Physics book (Stellar Structure and Evolution, Kippenhahn and Weigert). I've gone through the first two chapters without having to question my work. However, I've stumbled upon Hydrostatic Equilibrium in General Relativity. This involves deep background in Differential Geometry and Riemann Curvatures. The only problem with self-study (especially in my case) is having no one around you to help you through the problem. I've had to search for a professor to try to walk me through it (ended up asking Physics professor at CalTech). Anyways, what I am trying to say is...at one point you will have to ask a question...just make sure you have someone who can answer it.
  8. Jan 11, 2010 #7
  9. Jan 12, 2010 #8
    Good, push hard and don't waste time on things that will hinder you. Take my advice, Videos games are evil.......
  10. Jan 12, 2010 #9
    They make me procrastinate.
  11. Jan 12, 2010 #10


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    Gold Member

    I recommend you just read up on http://ls.poly.edu/~jbain/philqm/" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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