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Some advice from some smart people

  1. Jun 21, 2012 #1
    Hi, I'm 20 years old have always been interested in this stuff, mostly astrophysics/cosmology. I know just the basics of physics and never took any classes or anything. Right after high school I did a little 'soul searching' and the only thing I found out was that I wasted 2 years of my life...but I've rekindled my love for physics and want to take some serious classes. What I WANT to do is do this kind of stuff professionally. I just need someone to help me get back on track.

    Some advice anyone?
    What to take, where to go, what to do.
    Any advice would be appreciated, thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 21, 2012 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF.

    Are there any community colleges near where you live? You could start with a 2-year degree program to see how it all works out...
  4. Jun 21, 2012 #3
    How is your math?? If you want to do physics, then this would be the first step.

    If you're in the US, then you can go to a community college and study some math and physics courses such as algebra, trigonometry, geometry,precalculus, calculus, etc.

    If you opt for self-studying (which tend to be quite difficult), then you might like the following books:

    1) For high school math before calculus, try "basic mathematics" by Serge Lang. It's a very good book that covers everything you need to know before starting calculus.

    2) For calculus, you should start with an easier book like "A first course in calculus" by (again) Serge Lang. This should cover calc I and calc II. A more rigorous (and difficult) book is Spivak's calculus which is great for a second course in calculus (but it's not necessary for physics).

    3) If you already know calc I and II, then you can do basic calc-based physics. Any book called "physics for scientists and engineers" is standard. The book by Halliday and Resnick is an example of a good book.

    4) A good resource for any of the above is of course Khan academy. Also check out Paul's notes. Other good resources can be found in our "math & science learning materials" section: https://www.physicsforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=151

    This should get you started. You can always use this forum to ask specific questions about what you're studying. Be sure to make a lot of exercises. If you're stuck (or if you want to check your answer), then the homework forums here should be a good help.
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