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Studying Studying physics INDEPENDANTLY. Suggestions?

  1. Feb 25, 2007 #1
    First off, let it be noted that I'm not yet of age to go to university, and my high-school courses simply aren't challenging enough, so I always interest myself in studies of my own; in the last few years, I've studied linguistics, psychology, and biology... But I know next to nothing about physics! :zzz:

    So the question is; where can I learn things in a logical, sequential order? That is, starting from fairly basic physics, and progressing eventually into quantum mechanics, theoretical physics, whatever else interests me. Keep in mind that I don't have a very great math background, so I'll need to learn the math alongside the physics. Without a classroom environment, it seems challenging to know what to read, when to read it, and what I need to know first.

    I'm willing to buy textbooks if I can find them anywhere, and the attachment below is a list of textbooks I currently have easy access to. There are plenty, but a sequential order is the problem. Any help would be appreciated. :)

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2007 #2


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  4. Feb 25, 2007 #3
    I am a college sophomore this year and I have taken algebra based physics and this semester i am in the first calculus based physics class. I don't know what math level you are or what classes you have taken but this is my thought....
    *Follow the website above for great help on order.
    *If you have not taken calculus pick up a algebra based physics book and start there. The one I used in my class was Cutnell and Johnson "Physics"
    *If you have taken calculus, start with the calc based stuff. Again my book is... "Understanding Physics" by Cummings/Laws/Redish/Cooney.
    *If there is a college near you that you can do a dual enrollment in that might take some of the uncertainty out of it as well. I know a few people who are doing the dual enrollment and find it very helpful and as a way to continue on and be challenged.

    I hope this helps a little. Best of luck to you.
  5. Feb 25, 2007 #4


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    There's seldom just one book that will cover ALL of what you want here, at least, not in any appreciable depth. I would suggest you study elementary physics that they teach in First Year intro physics. So texts such as Halliday and Resnick would be something I would suggest.

    You may also start with legitimate websites such as Hyperphysics or Fizzics Fizzle. Those should have enough material at your level.

  6. Feb 25, 2007 #5


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    You might also check out a few college/university Web sites. Look at the course sequence that they require or recommend for their physics majors. Note the prerequisites (both math and physics) for various courses. They often also have syllabi on line that state which textbooks they use.
  7. Feb 25, 2007 #6
  8. Feb 26, 2007 #7
  9. Feb 26, 2007 #8


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  10. Feb 26, 2007 #9


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  11. Feb 26, 2007 #10
    To start off, I would work through Serway & Jewett's Physics for Scientists & Engineers. For the math, James Stewart's Calculus 5th Edition is all you need.

    After doing this, decide what branch of physics peaks your interest the most and go from there.
  12. Feb 26, 2007 #11
  13. Feb 26, 2007 #12

    Ah, I'm impressed to see such activity here. Thanks for the help, I'm checking it out now. It looks like I have quite some math to learn. :redface:

    Also, I found this which is going to be quite some help:

    However, where can I find a similarily structured tutorial for calculus/differential equations and such? I would indeed like to learn how the equations are derived as I learn it. :)
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2007
  14. Feb 26, 2007 #13
    You will need to master a portion of Calculus and Linear Algebra first, I think, before you move into differential equations.
  15. Feb 26, 2007 #14


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    Any edition of Stewart's Calculus will do.

    Also, there are many other basic Calculus textbooks almost identical to Stewart's. Go for the cheaper one.
  16. Feb 27, 2007 #15

    zapper i am not trying to seduce anyone ....:confused:
    the things listed there is useful for both experimental and theoretical ...
    especiallly the basic stuff ...when it gets more complex theo amd experi ..go there separate ways.
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