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What Book Do You Recommend for Somebody that Has Never Taken physics?

  1. Jul 5, 2013 #1
    I am planning to take Calculus Base Physics next year, but I have never taken physics before.

    What book do you recommend to learn Basic Physics and do well in calculus Base Physics?

    My mathematical background...

    I have taken Pre-Calculus and I got an A-. I think the class was too easy, so I am doing some Trigonometry to make sure that I am ready for my Calculus class.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 5, 2013 #2
    I recommend the Holt Physics book, by Serway and Faughn. That's the book I ended up teaching out of, and the students really liked it. I liked it, because I thought it had a good mix of mathematical and conceptual thinking. It includes the full vector-based approach to mechanics (something conspicuously lacking in some conceptual approaches). I think it's a great book for self-study.
  4. Jul 8, 2013 #3
    thank you for the information.
  5. Jul 8, 2013 #4
    You're welcome!
  6. Jul 9, 2013 #5
    Do you think that the physics book would be able to improve my mathematics problem solving skill too?
  7. Jul 9, 2013 #6
    Some. I would point you to the Problem-Solving Strategy for help solving physics problems. There's a Dynamics version specifically for vector-based problems, also on the same link.

    As for math proper, typically you need very strong algebra skills, as well as a familiarity with the basics of geometry and trigonometry. That is, until you get to the real physics: calculus-based physics.
  8. Jul 9, 2013 #7


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    They go hand-in-hand. If you are deficient or unpracticed in certain methods, you may find it difficult but not impossible. If you're completely lacking in certain mathematical skills, you made need to additionally work from a calculus text.

    Problem solving as a whole will increase with the more types problems you do.

  9. Jul 9, 2013 #8
    My main problem in math. it's when it comes to the application of the material that I have learned.

    What do you recommend to read or do to improve this skills?
  10. Jul 9, 2013 #9
    The most helpful book is probably Mathematics for the Nonmathematician, by Morris Kline. This does pretty much all of high-school mathematics (pre-calculus), in a very applied manner.

    You might also find How to Solve It, by George Polya, helpful. This is a wonderful resource for problem-solving in general.
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