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Ug physics self study alongwith engineering please help .

  1. Jun 5, 2010 #1
    Ug physics self study alongwith engineering....please help.....!!!

    I belong to india, and couldn't get a decent physics ug course for reasons i don't have time to explain. I have now ended up in an engineering course and plan to self study and take the gre after 4 years. And yeah, forgot to say, my interest lies purely in theoretical physics and no other subdivision of physics.

    I have bought standard books for almost all courses in ug physics and ug math as well.

    Is it possible to complete ug physics withing 3 years if i can devote at most 3 hours a day to my physics and math study? The engineering course is hopeless and i wont be getting any help in either phy. Or math from there.

    I am listing the books i have. Please don't suggest any new ones as i'm not gonna buy them and would like to stick to the following:


    Apart from halliday, resnick,

    intro. To mechanics - kleppner and kloenkow
    electrodynamics - d.j.griffiths
    quantum mech. - griffiths + s. Gasiorowicz
    heat and thermo - zeemansky and dittman
    statistical mech. - kerson huang
    classical mech. (hamiltonian and lagrangian) - h. Glodstein
    string theory - b. Zwiebach


    Calculus - tom m. Apostol (both volumes) + michael spivak
    principles of mathematical analysis - walter rudin
    linear algebra - anton and rorres
    real and complex analysis - walter rudin
    numerical analysis - attkinson
    modern algebra - i.n. Herstein

    is it possible to complete the study of the above books in 3 years at a rate of 3 to max. 4 hours a day? If not i could leave a few math topics....but roughly is it possible??

    Also, is it possible to be a pretty good student of engineering too, since my gpa will matter in grad. Admissions in u.s.

    I know that "everything is possible" and that it all depends on me, but i mean, is it practically possible, without getting yourself completely burned out??

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2010 #2
    Re: Ug physics self study alongwith engineering....please help.....!!!

    Theoretical physics isn't really a subdivision at all. Theory is an approach, not a subject.

    I haven't used that intro to mechanics book myself, but the others are all good. I wouldn't give a string theory book any level of priority, focus on everything else - particularly the mathematics.

    It doesn't seem like you would listen if you were told it's a bad idea. This is obviously something you want to try. Math is very important, make sure you learn a lot of that first and it should help the physics come easier. And, you're essentially asking if it's possible to do two degrees at once? I guess technically it could be, it depends seriously on the demands you're given in the engineering classes. Make sure you get good grades in this first and foremost. At the end of the day, engineering is what's going to end up on your transcript. If you end up having to work as an engineer somewhere before travelling somewhere else to study physics, then you want to be prepared.
  4. Jun 5, 2010 #3
    Re: Ug physics self study alongwith engineering....please help.....!!!

    I think your plan is a little flawed.

    You have not considered the common knowledge between Engineering (e.g.EE) & Physics.
    And depending on your selection of engineering course, you might even go into more Physics (e.g. Solid State Physics for EE).

    For example, Electrodynamics is similar to EE's Electromagnetics.
    As for the math. , most of the topics in the books you mentioned are needed for Engineering (not always at the same depth).

    If you go for something like Semiconductor Physics will have some good exposure to Solid State Physics and some applied Quantum Mechanics.

    If you would like to continue with your engineering field for grad. school, the important factor would be the GPA and research experience, so focus on these and once you are admitted, you can study all the physics you want.

    It could also be possible to attend Physics courses at your university if they are offered and don't clash with your other lectures.

    You don't typically need to the read these books from cover to cover, I think it is good to look at what other universities are teaching, you can have a look at MIT for example:

    Your plan is 'roughly' possible, but I would doubt that it will have no effect on your engineering courses (I don't think that you are considering human factors, e.g. if you get to a boring topic/chapter which can stall you, bare in mind that reading such books requires a lot of patience, sometimes it takes a whole a hour to read a page and do the derivations etc....).
  5. Jun 5, 2010 #4
    Re: Ug physics self study alongwith engineering....please help.....!!!

    If I'm not mistaken, you probably heard of the QM book by Shankar, originally Shankar did Electrical Engineering (IIT):

    You can probably drop him an email.
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