Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Where to go from here?

  1. Oct 13, 2006 #1
    Hello All!

    Being my first post here at this wonderful forum; I would like to say that PF looks very exciting!

    I have been interested in physics and our natural laws from a very young age; always questioning why x happens.

    I can hope to say that I understand part of string-theory, or atleast I like to think so.

    For an Algebra student who is interested in studying physics in general (not just theoretical, a bit of structural, physical, etc)... where shoudl I look in the ways of books, websites, and courses.

    I am looking forward to asking questions and hopefully contributing!

    Thank You,
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 13, 2006 #2
    Err... no you don't.

    Let me expand on that. The language of physics is math. Algebra only scratches the surface. At this point, you should probably stick to "popular science" (or whatever it's called) books like A Brief History of Time.

    Unless, you REALLY want to learn the math. I have a distaste for math that is not applied somehow (which happens to be how it's taught...), so someone else can chime in with suggestions of math books.

    However, there is still a bit you can learn about physics with only algebra under your belt. For example, Giancoli is mainly algebra. It has some definitions that use Calculus, but I don't think you'll have too much trouble if you just skip that part. You can understand the concepts now and learn the proofs later. This is a text book, though, with problems to work out. If you don't want to put in any work (and that's fine, you're aren't very advanced or anything so doing it as a hobby is fine), then just stick to the popular books for now.
  4. Oct 13, 2006 #3
    As far as I heard, string theory requires really hard math for understanding, more harder than standard lin.alg/dif.eq level and of course, more than algebra.
    You see, to read Goethe's original (let's forget about translations for the sake of good example :) ) you need to learn German, to understand physics you need to learn high level math. Otherwise, you can read summaries of Goethe or summaries of String theory in another language (popular English) which of course don't give the real thing.

    That is why you should concentrate on your math going before studying physics of that level. For such level as yours, I'd strongly suggest Feynman's lectures. He introduces calculus very quickly but in terms of physics so you can get caught up really quickly. Also, Feynman's books are used for teaching at Caltech :)
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook