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What is the mathematics required to learn from Feynman's Lectures?

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  • Thread starter DrTherapist
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I have Thomas and Finney's book on Calculus for reference. Am I prepared for Feynman's Lectures? I've studied physics for two years in high school.
 

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phyzguy
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I think so. You will need to be comfortable with calculus, including multi-variable calculus and partial derivatives. I don't think the math is any more complicated than that.
 
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  • #3
What are the books that I should supplement with Feynman's Lectures?
 
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I think you would do well to browse the lectures at http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/ and let any points of departure from comprehensibility to you inform you as to where there may be gaps in your prerequisite learning. Feynman's style is often to start out with a few remarks that identify in a reasonably approachable-to-every-college-student manner, what he'll be discussing, and then to go dauntlessly into detail, becoming conceptually more abstruse and procedurally more demanding as he progresses. He's brilliant, extremely inventive, and can be a heck of a lot of fun, but if you're at all like regular folks, you'll probably have to do some of the kinds of maths he uses in order to be able to follow his elucidations. The upside of that is that having done the prep work, you'll find that his lectures present things remarkably perspicuously.
 
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Thanks. I seem to understand the lectures pretty well. I am going to buy them pretty soon.
 
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What are the books that I should supplement with Feynman's Lectures?
Richard Feynman was certainly one of very few Geniuses I studied contemporary aloneside Galileo, Einstein, Newton, Bohr, Maxwell, Schrödinger, Faraday. His Genius was palpable as was his inquisitive nature, Physics was a true love of his you could feel his passion. Feynman could be proximal but part of his pedagogical style. One of the greatest physicist of the 20th Century. Brilliant, Wise, A master Professor of quantum mechanics and particle physics. While working on his Ph.D. from Princeton, he was encouraged to participate in the Manhattan Project therefore assisted in the development of the atomic bomb. Other than Differential and Integral Calculus, just read a lot of physics, most of his work was in Quantum Mechanics and Particle Physics. While he was finishing his PhD the DOD/USA Gov. encouraged him to participate in the Manhattan Project and assisted in the development of the atomic bomb. He was known as the "great explainer!"
Read his written Lectures several volumes there's hours of his Caltech lectures on YouTube.
 
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  • #8
vanhees71
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The Feynman lectures are indeed an all-time classic. It's only topped, in my opinion, by Sommerfeld's 6-volume "Lectures on theoretical physics", which however only include classical physics, and they are 30-40 years older than the Feynman Lectures. Very similar in style are Pauli's (also 6-volume) "Lectures on theoretical physics". Characteristically Pauli's textbooks are still not outdated although some decades old (particularly his famous encyclopedia article on "Wave Mechanics" is a gem; also his other encyclopedia article on relativity, which he wrote at an age of 21, are great; only the "relativistic thermodynamics part" is unfortunately flawed, but that's not his fault since these issues have been solved only 40 and more years later).
 
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Richard Feynman was certainly one of very few Geniuses I studied contemporary aloneside Galileo, Einstein, Newton, Bohr, Maxwell, Schrödinger, Faraday. His Genius was palpable as was his inquisitive nature, Physics was a true love of his you could feel his passion. Feynman could be proximal but part of his pedagogical style. One of the greatest physicist of the 20th Century. Brilliant, Wise, A master Professor of quantum mechanics and particle physics. While working on his Ph.D. from Princeton, he was encouraged to participate in the Manhattan Project therefore assisted in the development of the atomic bomb. Other than Differential and Integral Calculus, just read a lot of physics, most of his work was in Quantum Mechanics and Particle Physics. While he was finishing his PhD the DOD/USA Gov. encouraged him to participate in the Manhattan Project and assisted in the development of the atomic bomb. He was known as the "great explainer!"
Read his written Lectures several volumes there's hours of his Caltech lectures on YouTube.
Thank you. I did not know much about Feynman but now it is apparent that he was a brilliant physicist.

I will make sure to look up his lectures on YouTube. I am feeling lucky that someone like Feynman existed and gave us a gift.
 
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  • #11
The Feynman lectures are indeed an all-time classic. It's only topped, in my opinion, by Sommerfeld's 6-volume "Lectures on theoretical physics", which however only include classical physics, and they are 30-40 years older than the Feynman Lectures. Very similar in style are Pauli's (also 6-volume) "Lectures on theoretical physics". Characteristically Pauli's textbooks are still not outdated although some decades old (particularly his famous encyclopedia article on "Wave Mechanics" is a gem; also his other encyclopedia article on relativity, which he wrote at an age of 21, are great; only the "relativistic thermodynamics part" is unfortunately flawed, but that's not his fault since these issues have been solved only 40 and more years later).
Thank you. The Sommerfeld's lectures are individually cheap to buy, so that's a plus point. I will also look forward buying Pauli's books.
 
  • #12
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George Gamov's Thirty Years that Shook Physics (Amazon link) provides an interesting historical orientation that is well worth reading for gaining some in-advance perspective as you commence studying some of the more advanced material you're assigning yourself to read.
 
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