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VERY interested in particle physics but

  1. Aug 12, 2012 #1
    So, Im a beginner, and am VERY interested in particle physics... but, alas, when I look in the library for articles pertaining to this particular science, everything appears way to complicated. I am in High school, with no such class as particle physics, can someone direct me to a place where I can learn some very basic particle physics, so I can go from there?

    Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2012 #2
    Re: Im a beginner....any help?

    Your situation reminds me of myself. I am also in high school and interested in acquiring a basic knowledge of particle physics. I have found a book in the library that helps me, titled "The Britannica Guide to Particle Physics", found under number 539.72 in the nonfiction section, so look around number 539 in the nonfiction section at your local library. I think the Dewey decimal system would give similar books the same number at your library. If not, just search "Guide to Particle Physics" on your library's website.

    Do not expect to understand every single thing, some of it is confusing. Don't be intimidated by the equations, just ignore them. But it really helps to take notes on the basics to help remember all of the different terms and particles. Also, try reading the other books in that section. They are very interesting and usually go over the concepts they cover that most people do not know.

    :) hope I helped!
  4. Aug 12, 2012 #3
    Re: Im a beginner....any help?

    Here's a good place to start, some interesting things depending on your level. http://www.particlephysics.ac.uk/

    Another page (no longer maintained but with good links) http://particleadventure.org/other/othersites.html

    It is hard to find a book which doesn't depend on other prior knowledge. Luckily there is a load of information on the web to answer questions as you find them. Good luck!
  5. Aug 23, 2012 #4
    Re: Im a beginner....any help?

    Have you tried Brian Greene's "The Elegant Universe" it mainly focuses on string theory, but you may find it interesting and it's extremely readable. The Dewey Decimal label for it is 539.7258. Hope this helps.
  6. Aug 23, 2012 #5


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    Re: Im a beginner....any help?

    It will of course always be possible to read pop-sci books on particle physics and such. But then you won't get to see what particle physics really is. Sure, you might ignore the math, but then you miss the entire beauty of the subject!!

    In my (limited) knowledge, there is no nice and easy introduction to particle physics. You'll have to start learning mathematics and physics and putting in a lot of work. If you really want to know about particle physics, then you'll have to start by learning calculus and basic physics. Try to get Halliday and Resnick's book on physics and work through it (and be sure to make exercises!!). This is not the particle physics you want to do, but it are things you need to know. After finishing the book (of 1000 pages!!), you will need to read many more books before you can do particle physics.

    This is the only way to really understand this beautiful field of physics. But it's a heavy and long road. If you're not willing to put in the work, then that is very normal. Pop-sci books are also very nice, but know that they aren't really what physics is about.
  7. Aug 24, 2012 #6
    "It will of course always be possible to read pop-sci books on particle physics and such. But then you won't get to see what particle physics really is. Sure, you might ignore the math, but then you miss the entire beauty of the subject!!" That is very true micromass. If you would prefer jumping into the denser material, but have not yet learned calculus, I would recommend doing so before reading the materials that contain the mathematical side of physics; personally, my favorite introduction to calculus book is "Calculus with Analytic Geometry" by Earl W. Swokowski. If the math side is not a problem, then I recommend creating a table of information as you read, containing important vocabulary and definitions, particle names and properties, and other information you feel is necessary. This way you can refer back to it when you need it. Hope this is more helpful.

    P.S. MIT offers open source lectures including physics (calculus based) ones, they are very interesting. You can probably access them throughout MIT's homepage.
    HEre is the webpage for physics: http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/physics/
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
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