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What books can I learn from the most?

  1. Dec 11, 2016 #1
    Okay, so I'm currently a mechanical engineering major at San Jose State University, but I just want to become much more engaged with physics and mathematics. I do pretty good with calculus, math comes easy to me. I'm a first year student taking calculus 2. I was just wondering what books I can read to make me so much better at physics and math. I want to be able to attack any math problem at ease and be able to understand most topics of physics. I'm aware that it will take years of practice, but I just want to know what books I can read to do so. And I don't want them to be textbooks, I want to teach myself the old fashioned way. Disregarding money, I'd love a list of books I can read to make me better with these topics. Like I said before, I want to become a much better mathematician and know be close to a theoretical physicist. I know I want to be an engineer, but I just want to become the smartest person in capable of becoming.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 11, 2016 #2

    phinds

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    That makes no sense to me. It is the PURPOSE of textbooks to be the best place to learn basic subjects (which is where you have to start, based on your comments). What did you have in mind?

    You are already the smartest person you are capable of so I assume you mean you want to become the most knowledgeable person you are capable of.

    Oh, and welcome to the forum. You are supposed to do an intro post in the intro section.
     
  4. Dec 11, 2016 #3
    Hmm... That wasn't a very nice introduction. Welcome Henry! Can I recommend 'Road to Reality' by Roger Penrose as one you should definitely read.
     
  5. Dec 11, 2016 #4

    phinds

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    I agree, so Henry (@Henry Menendez) don't be put off by me. I'm one of the few grumpy folks here. :smile:
     
  6. Dec 11, 2016 #5

    ZapperZ

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    Unfortunately, what you recommended is a pop-science book. While it can make for an interesting reading, the OP is looking for a book to study physics.

    To the OP: since you are enrolled at a university, look at what the students in intro physics courses are using as their textbooks. That should be a good start since those books can be found at the bookstores, or as a used book. Anything comparable to Halliday/Resnick is usually the level that intro physics courses at the college level will use.

    Zz.
     
  7. Dec 11, 2016 #6
    This is definitely not a book to study from. Because it's way too hardcore for someone who is not already familiar with the material covered in this book on mathematical physics pretending to be a pop science.
     
  8. Dec 11, 2016 #7
    I completely apologize if I offended anyone, I'm really new to this and I don't know how it works. What do you mean as to an introduction? I'm supposed to do an intro post? @phinds
     
  9. Dec 11, 2016 #8

    ZapperZ

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    The post you quoted was not directed at you.

    Furthermore, despite what you think you want, a textbook IS the best source for what you wish to accomplish.

    Zz.
     
  10. Dec 11, 2016 #9
    Makes total sense now, I'm sorry for the confusion. I'm completely new to this and I truly apologize.
     
  11. Dec 11, 2016 #10
    As to what you were saying before about the physics students, I'm taking a physics course next semester for engineering, so I can acquire a textbook from that. But I was just curious if there is anything besides textbooks that I can teach myself from. The reason why I said no textbooks is because I knew I was going to look over the text books I'm going to be buying for my future physics classes. @ZapperZ In all honesty, even though I'm pursuing to become an engineer, I want to become near to becoming a theoretical physicist. I'm also going to be minoring in physics. I just want to become a lot more knowledgeable towards physics and acquire the most I can. I'm willing to put in the years of practice and effort.
     
  12. Dec 11, 2016 #11
    Everyone has different learning styles. The Feynman Lectures was revelatory for me.
     
  13. Dec 11, 2016 #12
    I've heard a lot from these textbooks from some research I've been doing. I'm really going to consider it.
     
  14. Dec 12, 2016 #13

    phinds

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    Well, pop-science books and TV shows can be very entertaining and can give you some broad info about what's happening in physics but they get so much wrong that you really can't use them to "learn science". I love them myself because I'm simple minded and the pictures and graphics are neat, but I had to UNlearn a ton of stuff after joining this forum.
     
  15. Dec 12, 2016 #14
    I would not be so negative. Learning science from popular shows and book (and I'll add Wikipedia) requires care and discretion, but it can be done. These things bring lots of interest and attention. I personally like to dig a bit deeper and not be overly convinced until I investigate multiple perspectives and multiple sources. I encourage my students to do the same. It can be very productive at times. Just take stuff with a grain of salt and be skeptical at first. But many times my skepticism is resolved in favor of the view first presented in pop sci books, shows, and wikis.
     
  16. Dec 12, 2016 #15

    jtbell

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    Just in case you don't know this already, you can read them for free on line here: http://www.feynmanlectures.info/
    (click on the "Read" link in the menu on the left side)
     
  17. Dec 13, 2016 #16
    Do a minor in math
     
  18. Dec 13, 2016 #17

    BvU

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    Dear BD, did you read the OP at all ?
     
  19. Dec 13, 2016 #18
     
  20. Dec 13, 2016 #19
    yes sorry xD
    I use these books, they are good *especially the exercises*:
    what is mathematics? R. Courant.
    Schaums outlines of logic.
    Book of proof. free link here: http://www.people.vcu.edu/~rhammack/BookOfProof/
    How to prove it.
    How to study for a mathematics degree (lol). lara alcock
    How to think about analysis. lara alcock.
    Schaums outline of computer architecture.
    A level physics book.
    A level maths, mechanics modules books.
    Introduction to mathematical philosophy, Bertrand Russell.
    Elias zakons lecture notes. they are free and can be found here: http://www.trillia.com/products.html
    Discrete mathematics normal L biggs.
    Logic for dummies. Mark Z.
     
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