Feynman Lectures as a Study Resource

thomas.wade.johnson
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Feynman Lectures as a Study Resource

Postby thomas.wade.johnson » Sat Nov 08, 2008 9:56 pm

Hi everyone,

I have been perusing the forum looking for the information I need, and even the search function yielded unsatisfactory results...

The situation: I have recently finished my 2nd year of undergrad physics in Canada, and am currently taking a year off to do a few co-op research terms in a row. This year off is seeming more and more like a good opportunity to write the physics GRE. I am curious if anyone has ever used the Feynman Lectures as a primary study resource in studying for the GRE (besides the practice exams, problem sets, etc.)? Can someone who is familiar with both the lectures and the GRE tell me if the level of the material in the lectures is advanced enough?

Thanks,
Thomas

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: Feynman Lectures as a Study Resource

Postby coreycwgriffin » Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:19 pm

thomas.wade.johnson wrote:Hi everyone,

I have been perusing the forum looking for the information I need, and even the search function yielded unsatisfactory results...

The situation: I have recently finished my 2nd year of undergrad physics in Canada, and am currently taking a year off to do a few co-op research terms in a row. This year off is seeming more and more like a good opportunity to write the physics GRE. I am curious if anyone has ever used the Feynman Lectures as a primary study resource in studying for the GRE (besides the practice exams, problem sets, etc.)? Can someone who is familiar with both the lectures and the GRE tell me if the level of the material in the lectures is advanced enough?

Thanks,
Thomas


Reading The Lectures may help you remember some of the fundamental ideas, but I feel like the GRE, after taking it today, is mostly just straight formula memorization where your typical university physics text would be more useful.

mhazelm
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Re: Feynman Lectures as a Study Resource

Postby mhazelm » Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:37 pm

I'd review your introductory physics text to the point that you can open it to any chapter, pick any problem, and solve it.

Also, pick up Beiser's Modern Physics (they seem to pick things out of Beiser's book, I think) and Griffith's EM and Quantum books. I've heard people say that many of the QM questions are straight from Griffiths (too bad my school doesn't use Griffiths). Whatever you do, don't do what I did and wait for a month before the test to cram it all in with your classes, etc. also keeping you busy. It was very stressful, and I could've just done it over the summer...

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secander2!
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Re: Feynman Lectures as a Study Resource

Postby secander2! » Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:21 pm

For whatever it's worth, I know somebody who had a degree in computer science (I think), but he wanted to do physics grad school in string theory. He used only the Feynman Lectures and GRE: Practicing to Take the Physics Test to study. He ended up scoring very high on the PGRE and going to a quite prestigious school to get his Ph.D. So yes, Feynman Lectures can be a great and effective study asset although I personally didn't use them.

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xudis149
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Re: Feynman Lectures as a Study Resource

Postby xudis149 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:59 am

Feynman lectures are good to get your fundamentals polished.

But to score high in PGRE i would suggest Resnick-Halliday, modern physics-beiser, and Griffith's QM, for other advanced stuffs that occasionally show up like partition function's etc Wikipedia articles are concise and effective..

It is also a good idea to create your own list of formula's ..

swepi
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Re: Feynman Lectures as a Study Resource

Postby swepi » Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:58 pm

I took the October PGRE and am still waiting for my score, but I used the Feynman Lectures a great deal when I was studying for the test. I personally will sell my copy of Griffith's QM book (or burn it) if I score high enough as I feel that much of my preparation in quantum mechanics (and understanding of) came from the first 100 pages of the third volume of Landau's course on theoretical physics.

As for the Feynman lectures, I think if I have any intuition for physics it is because of them. If you can find the audio files, listen to them too, as they help to bring a little levity to a deep subject. On the other hand, you need a lot of patients and I suspect a lot of time to go through the lectures. That is to say, I needed a lot of patients and time to go through them myself, as I would reread certain lectures I didn't understand. There is no reason that others should not find the lectures more manageable.

If I didn't bomb the test then I hope to make a few more comments on the PGRE, as there are plenty of things I saw on the PGRE that are not in Feynman's lectures.

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twistor
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Re: Feynman Lectures as a Study Resource

Postby twistor » Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:03 am

"Wikipedia articles are concise and effective.."


Learning anything from Wikipedia is generally a bad idea. I get sick and tired of reading articles with links to irrelevant shit, written by people with questionable mastery of the language and often based on the information published on other, even more unreliable websites.

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xudis149
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Re: Feynman Lectures as a Study Resource

Postby xudis149 » Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:45 am

wiki really did help me. I had no time to go through reif or any other standard book for statistical physics. I just read few article from wiki on partition functions, distibution functions, specific heat equations etc.. it must have helped me in answering two or three
question in nov 8th test..

but yes there are too many links...

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quizivex
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Re: Feynman Lectures as a Study Resource

Postby quizivex » Sat Nov 22, 2008 4:15 am

twistor wrote:Learning anything from Wikipedia is generally a bad idea. I get sick and tired of reading articles with links to irrelevant ***, written by people with questionable mastery of the language and often based on the information published on other, even more unreliable websites.
Haha, indeed, Wikipedia is like dlenmn on steroids. :lol:

sidharthsp wrote:wiki really did help me.

Same here. It helped me a lot in reviewing for the GRE. Certain topics that weren't really touched on in my books but I knew may appear on the test, like how oscilloscopes work, what a Bose-Einstein condensate is or what a high-pass filter is, I could always count on finding a decent, consise, but not overly technical article about it on Wikipedia.

While it's easy to get sick of Wikipedia with all the links and the occasional crappy article, its benefits by far outweigh the flaws. You can look up absolutely anything instantaneously all in one place including things that wouldn't appear in conventional encyclopedias, without having to browse the whole web looking at pages that are far less credible. I've used the site to find what year a certain Ozzy song was written, where the "need more cowbell" phrase came from and how the 1993 world series played out. I also often read about things that happened only days before.

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secander2!
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Re: Feynman Lectures as a Study Resource

Postby secander2! » Sat Nov 22, 2008 5:13 am

I too used Wikipedia and got a lot of quick and useful information during my PGRE studies ... I think that the big problem with Wikipedia is the little annoying way in which a simple query on capacitors can turn into an in-depth study of the socio-political makeup of early Thrace :shock:

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twistor
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Re: Feynman Lectures as a Study Resource

Postby twistor » Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:23 am

I could always count on finding a decent, consise, but not overly technical article about it on Wikipedia.


Please link me to the Wikipedia you are using, because the version I have doesn't have these features.




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