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Where do I start ?

  1. Jul 19, 2009 #1
    So I have never had Physics and I need it to do Physics I , since the pre-requesits need prior physics I ask where do I start , which books, the one on biblio ?

    Physics I is a general physics course teaching mainly Newtonian Mechanics. Theoretical lectures are designed toward the understanding of laws and concepts of Physics and their application to the resolution of real problems. In laboratory classes, emphasis is given to the experimental methods of Physics, to metrology and scientific reporting.


    11th grade level knowledge of physics concepts.

    12th grade level knowledge of mathematics.

    Subject matter

    General concepts: Measurement, units, uncertainties, dimensions. Space and Time. Reference frames. Models of Mechanics.

    Kinematics: Velocity and acceleration in general motion. Velocity and position calculated from the acceleration. Relative motion, Galileu’s transformation.

    Dynamics of the particle: Inertial reference frames. Principle of conservation of linear momentum. Fundamental forces; contact forces; friction; drag force and terminal speed. Non - inertial reference frames. Conservation of angular momentum. Work and energy; potential energy and force; conservation of energy.

    Systems of particles: Center of mass and center of mass reference frame. Conservation of linear momentum, angular momentum and energy. Two particle systems; reduced mass. Collisions. Systems with varying mass.

    Dynamics of the rigid body: Linear momentum, angular momentum, work and energy in translation and rotation. Rotational inertial momentum. General movement; rolling. Equilibrium.

    Oscillatory Motion: Simple harmonic motion.


    1. Halliday, Resnick & Walker, Fundamentals of Physics (6th ed)
    2. Halliday, Resnick & Walker, Fundamentos de Física, vol.1, 2 (6ª ed)
    3. Alonso e Finn, Física, vol. 1
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 19, 2009 #2
    There are a couple "classic"/standard introduction to physics texts. If you have no experience I believe the one intended for highschoolers is Giancoli. Your biblio also says Halliday and Resnick which is another classic, there's also Serway's and Knight's. Basically all these books have exactly the same content but different people have a slight preference for one over the other but at the end of the day if you're commited they'll all get the job done.
  4. Jul 19, 2009 #3


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    I'm not sure I understand the question. If you want to take a physics course that has certain prerequisites, you have to take those prerequisites. You might be able to get instructor permission to enrol anyway, but you have to talk to the instructor or course administrators in order do do this. It's usually a good idea to take the prerequisites, unless you're fairly certain you have a background that has covered that material.
  5. Jul 19, 2009 #4
    I'm currently taking Computer Engineering and thats one of the disciplines I have.


    So with Halliday and Resnick its good to start from 0 ?
    I guess I will use that one then.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2009
  6. Jul 19, 2009 #5


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    The prerequisites for "Physics 1" in most places are usually "Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1". The usual required sequence of Physics courses for Science and Engineering majors require just that 'Calc 1' course, strong Algebra skill and some well developed basic Trigonometry, but usually no other Physics courses.

    If you have good basic Algebra skill, you could try an Introductory Physics course first.
  7. Jul 19, 2009 #6
    Well for Physics I you need to know algebra and very basic calculus but if you're in computer engineering I assume you already have those.
  8. Jul 20, 2009 #7


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    What country is this in? I ask because in the United States, most high school students take physics in 12th grade, not 11th (if indeed they take physics in high school at all).

    Also, no US university (as far as I know) would state mathematical prerequisites as simply "12th grade level" because that is not specific enough. Some high school students study calculus in 12th grade, others study trigonometry or "pre-calculus."

    There are generally two kinds of introductory university physics courses in the US: one kind is for physics and other science and engineering degrees, and usually has calculus as at least a co-requisite; the other kind is for non-science degrees, and usually has only trigonometry (and of course algebra) as pre-requisite.

    Educational systems are different in different countries, so you need to make clear which educational system you're dealing with, otherwise the answers you get may be inappropriate.
  9. Jul 20, 2009 #8

    Well if the suggested text is Halliday and Resnick I think we can guess what the course is going to be like. (i.e. every other course in the english speaking world that uses that text).
  10. Jul 20, 2009 #9
    Sorry forgot to mention I'm from portugal and here most students have to choose when going to the 10th year one branch and most that goes to computer engineering choose Science one and have physics on 11th but I didn't , thats why its a Prerequisite and there are no Introductory courses just this one.
  11. Jul 20, 2009 #10


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    In the US, most universities that use Halliday/Resnick for their physics course probably have Calculus I as co-requisite for the first semester (mechanics). That is, you have to at least be taking Calculus I at the same time as the first semester of physics. The physics course usually reviews or introduces the concepts of derivatives and integrals when they are needed. For example, derivatives are introduced when discussing instantaneous speed and velocity.
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