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What are good (cheap) physics books for noobs?

  1. Sep 16, 2015 #1
    I'm extremely interested in physics at the moment and I'm kind of giving physics a beta test to see if I'd like it as a career... and so far I love it; I have rented a physics book from my library and I'm able to do only a few equations but it can be difficult to understand what the text is saying (I have no physics teacher or tutor at the moment). I'm in my first semester at a JC and the highest math I've taken was stats in HS. So here's my question: what are decent websites, references, and or books that I can purchase for cheap that will help me understand some basic physics? And I'm aware that calculus is needed to do physics, so I'm also going to ask are there any good books that can teach me pre-calc and calc? I'm trying to teach myself at the moment until I can get into a higher level math course.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2015 #2


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    See if you can get yourself library privileges at your local college or university. Many universities will give you a year's membership for some reasonable fee like $50 or something.

    Schaum's Outline. They have many different books on many different topics. All are in the range $20. Most of them are in the "solved problem" style. Amazon has about 3900 entries for Schaum's. So you should be able to find something that will be useful. Treat them as assistance "up the learning curve." Most of them should not be treated as text books as such, since that is not what they are intended for. They are study aids. A few of them are "handbook" type books, and may well be on your desk for much of your life in STEM.

    Check the Kindle versions of books at Amazon. Sadly, they are often not that much of a bargain in STEM subjects. Too much of the cost is type setting equations or putting in pictures.

    Check out the used book stores. Sometimes Amazon will have used book seller links right on their web site. Sometimes you can find bargains. Though sometimes the prices for used books are bizarrely high.

    Look around to see if there is a later version of some classic text.


    The original version of this book is a massively collectible thing, almost an antique. You might well be paying over $1000 if you can find it at all. This updated paperback, with lots of corrections and clarifications, is only $13.
  4. Sep 17, 2015 #3


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  5. Sep 18, 2015 #4


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    Honestly I would just focus on your classes at JC. You should start enrolling in math, and then enroll in the first course in mechanics and take it from there. You will do yourself a favor in the long run by earning better marks to help you transfer, it will probably be easier than self-studying the material currently.
  6. Sep 18, 2015 #5
    Holy crap thanks so much!
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