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Teaching myself Physics, Trig, Pre-Calc, and Calc

  1. Nov 16, 2009 #1
    Hey, I'm joining this research program at my highschool called the Intel Science Research Program and I'm hoping to do a project in physics. I talked to the teacher of the class and he said that in order to do that I'll have to learn trig, pre-calculus, calculus, and physics in a very short amount of time. So, as you know from the title I need to teach all this to myself. :eek:

    Does anyone have any textbook recommendations for these courses? My geometry is not too good by the way, but I don't think that matters all that much.

    I was thinking for Physics I could use Resnick and Halliday, but for everything else I'm not sure.

    Any help is appreciated! Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2009 #2
    principles of mathematics by allendoerfer pretty much all includes of those. there's a book by giancoli on physics that doesn't include calculus. I wouldn't recommend Resnick and Halliday because it assumes that you know calculus and uses it freely
  4. Nov 16, 2009 #3
    I can't find anything online about that book. Do you have a link?

    Also, I don't know anything about the book, but I'd really like an intensive course in all of these, and just by my ignorant assumptions it seems that an all inclusive book would be less intense than a text on each of these. I'd really like to use the Halliday Resnick text if I can since that's what they use in AP Physics at my school and I plan to skip regents physics and go straight to that.
  5. Nov 16, 2009 #4
    to be honest, there isn't much to say about pre-calculus at this point. you can clear through pre-calculus efficiently and "rigourously" in a matter of months (3 months maybe?). the book "principles of mathematics" includes everything you would need to know AND rather "rigourously" as well. It even includes topics that you would not normally learn whilst taking the precalculus to calculus route. the questions are nice as well, you will be introduced to mathematical proofs.
    does your AP class use "Physics" or "Fundamentals of Physics"? anyway, either book uses calculus, so I'd look for another book (like giancoli)
  6. Nov 16, 2009 #5
    Does the Allendoerfer text have Trigonometry included? I'm currently in trig now, but I want to go faster.

    Could I start learning pre-calculus and calculus without finishing trigonometry first?

    I'm not sure which they use. I'll look at Giancoli though. However, if real physics uses calculus it might be worth the time to go through the harder text if that's what it will really be like.
  7. Nov 16, 2009 #6
    trigonometry is part of "pre-calculus", precalculus is just an umbrella term people use for "everything people usually learn before starting calculus" (which would probably be limits or derivatives). don't rush the precalculus stuff though, you're efficiency in calculus will be somewhat dependent on how well you were able to learn your precalculus material.

    anyway, yes, the Allendoerfer text does include trigonometry. It even includes some linear algebra/algebra - you wouldn't find that in other "precalculus" books. that's probably because this isn't a precalculus book per say - it's just a general math book for 1st year/pre-first year students. Salas also has a compact precalculus book that has everything youll need to know.

    it would be pretty pointless to look through the calculus based physics books if you don't even know what's going on. "Physics" by Resnick and Halliday uses integration in even some of the chap 1 and 2 questions and goes fully on to integration from chapter 5.
    "Fundamentals of Physics" is an "easier" text by the same authors, but it still uses calculus freely.
  8. Nov 16, 2009 #7
  9. Nov 16, 2009 #8
    Hmmmm, well I already placed a hold on Fundamentals of Physics before I posted this, so I'll see how that goes. If I can't make it through that then I'll get the Giancoli book. Thanks for the advice though!

    My dad was a chemist so he might be able to help me with problems I have in the calculus. I'll see how it goes. No harm in trying now that it's on hold anyway :).
  10. Nov 16, 2009 #9
    Oh wait do you know where I can get that book?
  11. Nov 16, 2009 #10
    which book? Giancoli? I don't know I'm at a university so I can usually just get any book I want whenever.. I guess if you don't have academic resources, you'd have to look on ebay, amazon.. et c. or look at a used textbook exchange site servicing local colleges. you could also check out craigslist
  12. Nov 16, 2009 #11
    I think there is a harm in rushing to calculus though, you NEED to start from the beginning. you can't walk before you crawl
  13. Nov 16, 2009 #12
    I was talking about the Principles of Math book, but I found a site actually. It's very old, from 1969, that was unexpected.

    I wasn't planning to rush into it. I was thinking that if the book needs calculus I'll have to finish pre-calculus first and then start physics.

    Thanks for the help!
  14. Nov 16, 2009 #13
    yes, it's an old book. I think that the most recent edition is from the 80s. however, you'll find that many modern books are only watered down versions of what textbooks used to be back then
  15. Nov 16, 2009 #14
    Ok, thanks.

    Just wondering, if I do start with the Giancoli book, would I then go through the Resnick book next?
  16. Nov 16, 2009 #15
    the giancoli book is pretty big, so you won't have to go through the resnick book like you've never seen physics before. you would probably want to look over the applications of calculus to physics but other than that, you would know the concepts already ( at least less rigourously, if you actually went through the giancoli book)
  17. Dec 10, 2009 #16
    Physics Demystified : A Self-Teaching Guide (Demystified) (Paperback)
    ~ Stan Gibilisco

    Calculus Demystified : A Self Teaching Guide (Demystified)
    ~ Steven Krantz

    Pre-Calculus Demystified - Paperback
    ~ Rhonda Huettenmueller

    Trigonometry Demystified (TAB Demystified) - Paperback
    ~ Stan Gibilisco
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
  18. May 19, 2010 #17
    I am not sure, if you want only books. but there is a better way to learn all these things on internet.
    1) Open CourseWare http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/home/home/index.htm
    Goto Highschool Highlights, and AP physics. You can find Walter Lewin Lectures that are the best way to learn physics.

    2)Websites: There are quite a websites working over this, huge collection of video lectures.

    3) KhanAcademy http://www.khanacademy.org/
    This is one place that has everything. try it. covers a wide variety of topics.

    4) In case you still want books, i would recommend Paul G. Hewitt
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