Self-Studying Advanced Physics: Challenges & Solutions

In summary, someone studying Advanced Physics, specifically Quantum/subatomic physics, by themselves from textbooks may encounter difficulties due to the advanced nature of the topics and the need for a strong foundation in basic physics and mathematics. It is important to have a good understanding of techniques and thought processes before tackling such advanced topics. While experiments may not be necessary, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the relevant mathematics. Seeking help from an experienced teacher or professor may be necessary when encountering difficult concepts.
  • #1
Supaiku
32
0
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.
 
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  • #2
Supaiku said:
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.

What is your maths and physics background?
 
  • #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.
 
  • #4
Do you have any experience in probability and statistics?

Thanks
Matt
 
  • #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.
 
  • #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.
 
  • #7
totalderiv said:
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.

...amazing...
 
  • #8
Totalderiv said:
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.

Good, push hard and don't waste time on things that will hinder you. Take my advice, Videos games are evil...
 
  • #9
They make me procrastinate.
 
  • #10
I recommend you just read up on http://ls.poly.edu/~jbain/philqm/"
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Related to Self-Studying Advanced Physics: Challenges & Solutions

1. What are the main challenges of self-studying advanced physics?

Self-studying advanced physics can be challenging due to the complexity of the subject matter and the lack of guidance from a teacher or instructor. Additionally, it can be difficult to stay motivated and focused without the structure and accountability of a formal course.

2. How can one effectively overcome these challenges?

One effective way to overcome these challenges is to create a study plan and stick to it. This can help you stay organized and on track with your studies. Additionally, seeking out resources such as textbooks, online lectures, and practice problems can provide a more structured approach to learning and help clarify any difficult concepts.

3. What are some common misconceptions about self-studying advanced physics?

One common misconception is that self-studying is easier than taking a formal course. In reality, self-studying requires a lot of self-discipline and motivation to stay on track and understand complex concepts without the guidance of a teacher. Another misconception is that self-studying means studying alone. However, utilizing resources such as online forums and study groups can provide a sense of community and support while self-studying.

4. How can one assess their understanding and progress while self-studying advanced physics?

One way to assess understanding and progress is to regularly test yourself with practice problems and quizzes. Additionally, seeking out feedback from peers or online forums can help identify any areas where you may need additional study. It can also be helpful to periodically review and summarize what you have learned to ensure you have a solid understanding of the material.

5. What are some tips for staying motivated while self-studying advanced physics?

One tip is to set achievable goals for yourself and celebrate your progress along the way. This can help maintain motivation and a sense of accomplishment. Additionally, taking breaks and finding a balance between studying and other activities can prevent burnout. It can also be helpful to remind yourself of your reasons for self-studying and the benefits it will bring in the long run.

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