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The Feynman Lectures Over my head?

  1. Jan 15, 2007 #1
    I have always seen these books in the stores, and such, and they're 100 on amazon (which is a heck of a lot better than B&N) and i want them, but then again they'll probably shoot right over my head. I'm working through my first year of high-school physics. I have read quite a few books on these topics though, im working through one on special relativity now. And i have also learned a little calculus and am trying to teach myself more and more of that as well.

    Will i be able to get some information from them? And then as i go on, and learn more (get into college and study physics and what-not) understand more? Is it a good investment i suppose is what i'm asking?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 15, 2007 #2
    I own six easy pieces and six not so easy pieces, which are small books made up of exerpts of the 6 "hardest" chapters and '6 easiest.' the easier chapters are a quick read and have little math involved in most of it, and the math should be easy to get past if you dont understand. Since i dont have the completed works i cant give you an opinion on the full lectures but from what i've read its a nice read and he expresses things well. IF you can get your hands on them, I'd reccomend you read them
  4. Jan 15, 2007 #3
    Thank you! Any other opinions?
  5. Jan 16, 2007 #4
    I read them after a year of college calc and 1 term of intro physics and some of it was pretty tough going. Rewarding though.
  6. Jan 16, 2007 #5
    Sounds like you're ready for it to me. If you're still not sure, you could probably get the previously mentioned "6 easy and not so easy pieces" book very cheap remaindered. Otherwise start with volume one.
  7. Jan 16, 2007 #6
    Feynman lectures are good reading, most of the early chapters/volumes are easier to follow, but some require a level of understanding of mathematics/physics that you wont get from just reading the lectures alone (lack of practice etc).

    I find he has a good nack for making things seem much easier than they are :P
  8. Jan 16, 2007 #7


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    Paperback is $60 at Amazon
    (On my paperback set I bought a while back, I put on a hard transparent "contact sheet".... which works pretty well. I'm not sure where to find them. My university was using it on some of their books. When I asked them where to find it, no one could answer me... but they gave me lots of it since they were getting rid of it. Apparently, it's not good for archival purposes... It eats through the paper after about 100 years.)
  9. Jan 16, 2007 #8
    My local Barnes and Noble store only carried Six easy pieces and 6 not so easy pieces, i dont know why they didnt have the actual full length volumes. Their physics and math sections are very downsized when you compare them to things like the cook book section or even the section about the history of film and media. It seems to say something about society
  10. Jan 16, 2007 #9
    I had the paperback set at one time, but only volume 3 has survived. The others didn't hold up under my abuse. Also, the Definitive Edition has many corrections.
  11. Jan 18, 2007 #10
    i got the 3 full volumes(pprback) as a prize. am in 12 grade,india.....
    vol 1 is definitely worth a red 4 anyone...shows u how 2 do some stuff in innovative way without all da complicated math......
    vol 2 has quite a lot of vector calculus(i have hardly learnt real no calculus..;) ).so, it might get a bit(too) hard 4 someone without adequate background.
    vol 3 is basically q mech which requires knowledge of differential eqns.

    i read thro vol 1....started vol 2.
    but i can always go back and learn a little bit more.

    it is worth the investement(there cant b any authorised revised editions...)
    pprback is quite good.
    a bit of advice.......it is a preciuos book....so bind the book as soon as u get it.
  12. Jan 18, 2007 #11
    yeah, well thanks, i think i'll look into getting them.

    By the way, if anyone else is interested in buying them, i'm going to have to say Amazon all the way. They're 195 from barnes and noble and only about 100 from Amazon, so your saving almost half.

  13. Feb 5, 2007 #12
    Society doesn't want to think. They want other people to think for them, hence the reason people like us work hard in school. We are carrying society on our shoulders! Every friend I have thinks I am a lunatic for even considering physics, let alone enjoying every assignment that I do, not to mention the complete lack of interest in even listening to a single physics or math concept. They absolutely despise it when I start lecturing. Anecdotally, I find this to be the status quo.

    We are the dynamic global think tank in action!

    or perhaps I am delusional? Maniacal mad scientists unite.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2007
  14. Feb 12, 2007 #13
    Delusional :yuck:
  15. Feb 12, 2007 #14
    The sarcasm failed! :surprised :tongue2:
  16. Feb 13, 2007 #15
  17. Apr 21, 2007 #16
    Errata for the lectures

    YAY! mine JUST arrived in the mail!! no more reading them from a computer screen. :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

    I got a used one of the original edition though (almost half the $$), so I'm going through all the Errata right now with a red pen (all of it's been fixed in the 1989 and 2005 editions).

    you can find it here if you're obsessive like me http://www.feynmanlectures.info/

    check it out if you didn't know about it.
    some of it is minor spelling mistakes, and most of it is small stuff like missing minus signs or missing exponents that most experienced people would notice. but, like it says on the website, if you're new to physics like me a small mistake can turn very confusing.

    p.s: I'm amazed at how much I've learned since joining PF! looking at the table of contents, I recognize so many words and ideas that were completely alien to me less than a year ago.
  18. Apr 21, 2007 #17
    If you want to buy them really cheap and legal (provided you buy them for personal use) buy them in China. If I remember correctly you can buy the 3 volumes for about $15.

    Not only Addison Wesley but many other publishers sell these books for pennies on the dollar in China, and again perfectly legal.

    To give you an idea, the complete Springer Graduate Text in Mathematics series is available for about $4-$8 a book (average price in the US about $50 a book). Hawking and Ellis for about $8 and so on.

    The paper quality is not to write home about but for those prices...

    I'll be glad to help if I anyone ever wants to buy some of those books in Beijing.

    Last edited: Apr 21, 2007
  19. Apr 21, 2007 #18
    wow that's crazy. I dunno though, cheap prices usually mean cheap labour :( .
  20. Apr 22, 2007 #19
    If you off that foot, you might as well live in box and naked. Sad but true. Anyways, MeJennifer, can we order those editions on the web?
  21. Apr 22, 2007 #20
    No, I am afraid you have to go to China.

    With regards to the labor, printing is pretty much all automated. The publishers simply cut severely on the rights and as I mentioned before the paper quality is less.
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