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Understand the basics of physics

  1. Jan 5, 2009 #1
    Dear All,

    I have you aware that I'm new here,and currently a high school freshman.

    I'd actually like to learn some introductory materials needed to understand the basics of physics. Any recommendations???

    ~A GUY
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 5, 2009 #2
    Re: Recomandations

    I'd focus on a lot of Newtonian mechanics as it sets the framework for the rest of physics to varying extents. Physics for Scientists and Engineers (Tipler) is very good but you may find advanced. As I'm in the UK I can't recommend many books as I don't know what's available in your country, but a great many books on mechanics have been written!

    Perhaps just focus on what you learn at school?

    Remember that the language of physics is mathematics, especially calculus, any work you can do on calculus will be highly beneficial and it's where I would start.
  4. Jan 5, 2009 #3
    Re: Recomandations

    How much math and physics do you know already?

    You must master algebra, and then calculus, to study physics seriously. To learn about the basics on a conceptual level, you might be able to do without calculus, but in any case algebra is a must.
  5. Jan 5, 2009 #4
    Re: Recomandations

    I agree with the above by uman, In my last post I assumed you knew the basics of high school maths but yest you must certainly have a good mastery of :algebra,index manipulations,logarithms (v.related to index manipulations) and graph analysis, then move on to calculus. If these are not familiar to you your maths teacher at school will be able to help.
  6. Jan 6, 2009 #5
  7. Jan 6, 2009 #6
    Re: Recomandations

    There are also some good non-mathematics physics books out there (more on the terms of "physical science / conceptual physics." At the college-level, I use "How Things Work" by Louis Bloomfield... and there's also "The Flying Circus of Physics" by Jearl Walker (Maybe it's just the edition I used back in the 90's, but I'm not so fond of Hewitt's "Conceptual Physics").

    At this stage in your career, I'd suggest pairing one of these kind of books with an algebra-based book (maybe like Giancolli's "Physics: Principles with applications", even though I'm not 100% happy with it). Read back and forth between the two, so that you more fully understand the concepts with the math (try to balance these -- too often early students of physics think it's "just" another math course, while I think it's really more beautiful than that).

    Furthermore, make use of some simulations (the University of Colorado "Phet" site has many simulations specifically designed to go with the Bloomfield text, which they also use), design your own experiments and make measurements (there's fun books out there on this kind of thing), and even try to build some stuff (motors, bridges, design mobiles etc.)
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