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Intro Physics What are some good Algebra-based physics book for physics?

  1. May 2, 2016 #1
    I am in the 8th grade. I have a new found interest in physics, and would love to learn physics from the lowest level to the highest . However I do not know any good textbooks to start with. Can anyone maybe suggest some detailed algebra-based physics book for me?

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. May 2, 2016 #2
    Please tell us your current knowledge of physics and mathematics. The more details you can provide, the better. In particular, which of the following are you comfortable with:

    High school algebra
    High school geometry
    High school trigonometry
    High school precalculus
    High school calculus
  4. May 2, 2016 #3
    I am comfortable with High school algebra ,High school trigonometry and High school geometry. However i am just in the 8th grade i don't know calculus or precalc xD
  5. May 2, 2016 #4
    Cutnell & Johnson's Physics volumes 1 and 2 aren't bad. The 7th edition is inexpensive to buy used, also:
    Click the "other sellers" tab in each of those links.

    I recommend you watch YouTube videos on physics topics that interest you, and on topics you don't feel you understand well. Minutephysics, Crash Course, SciShow, Veritasium, and Brady Haran's channels(particularly Sixty Symbols, Deep Sky Videos and Objectivity) are good places to start.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  6. May 2, 2016 #5
    In my opinion, the more math you know, the more physics will make sense. So I would advice you to study a bit of calculus first before you decide to do some physics, since I don't think physics really makes a lot of sense without calculus. Without calculus, physics is a bunch of random formulas without any information where which formula came from or which formulas are related. It's really ugly.

    Of course, I do understand that perhaps you wish to start physics right now without first going through calculus. So it's up to you really. Do you want to study an ugly limited version of physics, or are you prepared to go through a study of calculus first? If it's the former, then this book is really good https://www.amazon.com/Conceptual-Physics-11th-Paul-Hewitt/dp/0321568095
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  7. May 2, 2016 #6
    On that topic, Crash Course has recently started a playlist on physics that explains the basics of calculus needed for one dimensional kinematics.

    In general, I have to agree with micromass that learning calculus alongside physics is the better path. I linked the best answer I remembered that fit your question above. However, back when I tutored physics and math, the students who had the most trouble were the ones who took the algebra based physics classes. Often, all I could offer them was along the lines of:"this is the equation they gave you, work with it," because explaining where the equation comes from would require calculus.
  8. May 2, 2016 #7
    Why not take advantage of both Physics (well, some part) and Math by starting with this book?


    You probably know most of chapter 1. You will learn some good algebra based physics and then basics of calculus.

    There is a good preview at the publisher's website so that you can see for yourself whether this works for you.

    Finishing this will make you ready for books such as,
    , https://www.amazon.com/Physics-Paperback-Halliday-Resnick-Krane/dp/B006VAJ2UW
    , https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Mechanics-Daniel-Kleppner/dp/0521198119
    , https://www.amazon.com/Electricity-Magnetism-Edward-M-Purcell/dp/1107014026/

    Hope this helps
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  9. Jan 8, 2017 #8
    I do not recommend any of the books already mentioned.

    In my opinion Jasim, your best option is to study from David Sang's Cambridge IGCSE physics course. It's a very clearly written and beautifully formatted book. New and used copies are available from Amazon. He follows the Cambridge schools syllabus which in my opinion is excellent. I wish we would adopt it here in the USA.


    If it's on the PF list, please use their link instead in order to support this forum.

    As far as math prerequisites, you can find them along with the course syllabus at this link:


    To sum up the math prerequisites, you need arithmetic plus simple high school geometry, algebra, and trigonometry. The math is kept simple. There is no calculus. You can definitely learn a huge amount of basic physics just using this much mathematics. When you are ready, learn some calculus and then continue all the way up to A-level physics. After that you should be well prepared for university level physics.

    To review your pre-calculus math, and later on to learn the basics of calculus, I highly recommend Bob Miller's books. He has also written ACT and SAT preparation books. They are available on Amazon. Bob Miller is a very experienced high school math teacher from New York. Later on you can study more calculus from university level textbooks.

    Here is a link to one of Bob Miller's books. Again, please use the PF link if they have one.


    I would not recommend any videos. Learn from a book written by someone who knows what they are talking about and has teaching experience. Avoid all those amateur videos in particular. But even so-called professional videos create a passive experience.

    Study math and physics with pencil and paper at hand. It's an active process. Work lots of problems. Use graph paper and make plots. Memorize the most important stuff. Review on a regular basis. This way you will understand everthing and it will be burned into your long term memory. Your goal should be to learn in such a way that you could not forget if you wanted to. You can achieve this using the active approach.

    One final note since I am on this topic. Beware of teachers and others who try to push you too fast. Take your time and master one topic before you move on to the next. Don't try to skip over the very basic material because that does not work, no matter how smart you are. Avoid the more advanced textbooks until you are ready for them.

    There is a lot of confusion in the USA about what to teach in primary and secondary schools. For your independent study I would stick with a syllabus that is known to work. That is why I recommend the Cambridge schools syllabus.

    Best wishes!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
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