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Courses Where to now? - After School's Physic's course

  1. Dec 15, 2009 #1
    Well basically, I've completely finished the Secondary School's Physic's course for our country. (Ireland). Only 4 months into a supposedly 2 year course. I have represented Ireland at the International Junior Science Olympiad, where I won a Bronze medal, and have qualified to represent Ireland at the European Union Science Olympiad next year, specializing in Physics.

    All's well so far you might say, but there is a downside.. I am utterly bored in Physics class with the basic mechanics and optics and all that, that we are currently covering.

    I as just wondering, what advice would you give me in regards to what it would be a good idea to go on and study now.. as I am completely directionless at the moment. he names of any good, more advanced textbooks, or other resources would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2009 #2
    Read the Feynman Lectures. He gives a much more idea based representation of physics, I feel like. They are meant to be a first year set of courses for caltech students, so they are pretty accessible and a lot of fun (far more "interesting" than any other physics textbook I've ever read).
  4. Dec 15, 2009 #3
    Funny you should mention that actually, I'm currently reading James Gleick's biography of Feynman, and I was actually just thinking of getting the Feynman Lecures book, so I'll give it a look.
  5. Dec 15, 2009 #4
    If you find yourself starting to get bored, skip around to a more interesting section. When I started self studying I often made the mistake of trying to study it cover to cover like some sort of assignment given to me by myself. Wrong approach, you should be enjoying yourself not feeling like its some kind of task.

    Also, if you have the time and want to do some light reading, read some of Feynman's semi auto biographical accounts. They are all very interesting. Start with Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman, then perhaps move to What Do You Care What Other People Think.

    Feynman was a really interesting physicists- he was brilliant, and he wasn't weird! Didn't creep out ladies and children. And still managed to be nerdier than everyone! What an amazing combination, there's a reason Feynman is worshipped by all the physics undergrads of the world...
  6. Dec 15, 2009 #5
    If you happen to live to close to a university, can you take or audit a class there?
  7. Dec 15, 2009 #6
    Well unfortunately I don't, I live in a small town out in the country, so no luck there.
  8. Dec 16, 2009 #7
    Double post I know, but I assume there's no problems to be done in the Feynman Lectures and I was wondering, whether there's any other book I should have alongside Feynman in which I can put the knowledge gained in the Feynman books into use by solving problems?
  9. Dec 16, 2009 #8


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    Staff: Mentor

    Any calculus-based intro physics textbook at the university level should do, as a source for exercises. For example, Halliday/Resnick/Walker or Halliday/Resnick/Krane.
  10. Dec 17, 2009 #9

    I have a horrible habit of reading books back to front.....I do it with magazines, articles, etc. It's never intentional, when I set out to "really" read something I start at the front and move along properly, but whenever I just pick something up when I'm bored I just open to some random page (usually at the back....that seems to be the "default" opening movement for me) and start reading.

    It is sort of a self pet-peeve, but it really hasn't seemed to cause a problem with me, even when learning math and physics in that sort of manner.

    And, speaking of Feynman....I've read his lectures in this manner. I 'think' I've covered everything in them....many parts dozens of times as I happen to open to that section. I've also read "Surely You're Joking...." at least 4-5 times in whole....never once reading it in the proper order.

    Oddly enough, I not only enjoy my self study much more than 'front-to-back' rigorous course study, but I seem to retain my self study information better. Er....maybe I just try to convince myself of that so I can continue going backwards.
  11. Dec 18, 2009 #10
    OK, thanks for the help it seems like sound advice. Just if anyone has any other ideas, don't hesitate to tell/help me
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