An Introduction to Physics

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steindd
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:44 am

An Introduction to Physics

Postby steindd » Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:49 am

Hello there.

So, I am new to physics. Much of what I know about it is what I heard on school, and even then, I don't remember much of it.

I am looking for an introductionary book on Physics. One that can show me some history of what has been done so far and where physics is standing right now.
As I said, my knowledge on Physics is pretty much nothing, so I would be better of with a book that is not so much in depth but mostly touching the surface of the subjects.

Are there any good books that can do this job?

Please share some thoughts on this.

Appreciate it.

TakeruK
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: An Introduction to Physics

Postby TakeruK » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:07 pm

Hi,

What is your goal? I think what books we might recommend would really depend on your purpose.

For example, if your goal is to learn Physics as preparation for taking future Physics courses or to give yourself the equivalent of a first year physics course, then I would recommend either a senior high school level Physics textbook (if you have little experience with science/mathematics) or a freshman level Physics textbook (i.e. the textbook used in Physics classes for science students who are not majoring in Physics). Some example books that I have used or seen used to good effect are:

High school Physics (this was the one I used, but a newer edition): http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Principle ... th+edition

College level Physics (this was the one my undergrad used for non physics major first year physics): http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Scientist ... 1133947271

Higher level college physics (this was the one used by my school for students intending to major in Physics): http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Volume-1- ... ay+physics and http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Volume-2- ... ay+physics

I think all of these books can be very good references to teach you introductory physics, depending on both the level of background science/math education as well as how deep you want to know. Doing the examples in these books will be very helpful if you are self-learning.


However, if your goal is to not prepare yourself for Physics courses or give yourself some basic Physics knowledge, then I would recommend actual books instead of textbooks. I don't know exactly which are the best ones though. Popular books are:

Richard Feynman's autobiography (http://www.amazon.com/Surely-Feynman-Ad ... 0393316041)--although enjoyable I found this book to be very much to be Dr. Feynman stroking his own ego, in my opinion.

Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time (http://www.amazon.com/Brief-History-Tim ... 0553380168) is a good popular science book that discusses our current knowledge of the Universe.

Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything (http://www.amazon.com/A-Short-History-N ... 076790818X) is a popular science book that discusses how we know a lot of the things we know, in all fields of science, not just Physics.

Finally, perhaps Lawrence Kraus' book (http://www.amazon.com/Fear-Physics-Lawr ... 0465002188) will have the focus on just Physics that you might be looking for.

That's all I can remember right now, maybe others will have more suggestions!


Unfortunately, I don't think there is any book that can both help you with the technical side of Physics (i.e. the computations and knowledge you would get in the introductory physics textbooks) AND also cover history of everything that has been done and what current Physics is like. The majority of the Physics that is taught in introductory courses is Physics that was developed hundreds of years ago!

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: An Introduction to Physics

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:05 pm

I enjoyed the graphic guide series, though I 'read' them after an undergraduate degree in physics, so I don't know how useful they are in getting the fundamentals across. That's what they purport to do, though, and they do it in a fun way which in theory would provide an excellent nontechnical overview of the subject. Specifically, I'd recommend the ones on Quantum Theory and Relativity.

steindd
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:44 am

Re: An Introduction to Physics

Postby steindd » Fri Apr 25, 2014 4:20 pm

Oh, nice. Well, i'm really not trying to prepare to a course on physics. I'm a psychology student and I am interested in understanding the physics concepts about the universe in general.
My math is really nothing impressive. Is it possible to dive over concepts of physics without actually being in touch with math?

I'm trying to figure out what are the things the physics have unveiled about the universe and what is still at loss. Is math/calculus/algebra indispensable for me to be able to get a clue about what physics is talking about?

TakeruK
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: An Introduction to Physics

Postby TakeruK » Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:08 pm

If you are not looking to gain a technical understanding (i.e. the ability to do some physics computation for college level physics courses) then I think there is no problem at all if you don't have the math background! The popular science books I mentioned and bfollinprm's suggestions do not require a technical understanding, as far as I know! Have fun :D




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