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Hello I need a little help, I want to learn some Physics (You know as a hobby) and I need to find a good textbook, can you help me? Also I would prefer a book with a good amount of exercises.

P.S.

I read about Physics in the past in an old Feyman lectures book so I know a few things about mechanics and special relativity.

BTW, I am asking here because it appears that many people here have an understanding in the subject but I am not sure if it fits the purpose of the forum, so I am sorry if that is the case.

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Really, you're recommending him a quackery book? What's next, Deepak Chopra's crappy pamphlets?

Actually, that's a good idea. Two of the most important parts of science are these: first, you must be willing to examine unpopular ideas to see if they're true; and second, you must be able to figure out if something is quackery. So, definitely, something ido66667 should include in his new hobby is practice at detecting and disproving quackery.

Por ejemplo: when Albert Einstein was mucking about with relativity, and discovered that the math led to an expanding universe, Einstein wasn't very happy. A static universe was the prevailing belief at the time, mostly because it's easier to deal with emotionally. People wanted the universe to be eternal and unchanging. Einstein did something stupid at this point, and he really should have known better: he theorized an additional, as yet unknown variable, called the "cosmological constant" that would balance the universe and produce a static, non-expanding solution.

In short, Einstein grabbed a Magic Number out of thin air to get the result he WANTED to get. As soon as I read about this, I knew Einstein had screwed up. And I was twelve at the time. :) It's actually a bit disheartening when one of the great minds of science gets owned by a twelve-year-old kid......

Bottom line, ido66667: your study of physics should include practice at NOT doing the above. So by all means, read up on some suspicious theories and see if you can find out what's wrong with them.

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No. The astronomical observations available at the time Einstein formulated General Relativity indicated that the universe was not expanding. This was simply because the measurements were limited to our own Galaxy (which is not expanding). It wasn't until later on that Hubble got the distance and velocity measurements of external galaxies that showed that the universe is expanding. So Einstein was just trying to make sure his theory matched the then-known observational data.

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In short, Einstein grabbed a Magic Number out of thin air to get the result he WANTED to get. As soon as I read about this, I knew Einstein had screwed up. And I was twelve at the time. :) It's actually a bit disheartening when one of the great minds of science gets owned by a twelve-year-old kid......

You do not think that twelve-year-old kid picked up a clue or two left purposely or unintentionally by the writer of said text, who knew exactly what was going on? I would be carefully flattering yourself too much ;)

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ido, what kind of physics?

Classical (Newtonian, stuff dealing with everyday scenarios, forces, dynamics, etc)

Thermodynamics (heat, temperature, volume, pressure...)

Relativistic (for when dealing with significant fractions of c)

Quantum?

Wedge, white it's certainly true that one should be able to see cracpottery for what it is, giving money to charlatans only supports the dissemination of cracked pots.

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No. The astronomical observations available at the time Einstein formulated General Relativity indicated that the universe was not expanding. This was simply because the measurements were limited to our own Galaxy (which is not expanding).

And that was a mistake on Einstein's part. When the formulas don't square with the observable results, there are ALWAYS at least two possibilities: either the formulas are wrong, or the observable results are wrong. Einstein didn't bother to ask. Mistake.

So Einstein was just trying to make sure his theory matched the then-known observational data.

The history books state pretty clearly that this wasn't Einstein's motivation for the Cosmological Constant. He believed in a static universe. Pretty much everybody did at the time; the thought of a non-static universe made people uncomfortable. When the concept of the Expanding Universe was first brought up, people didn't merely reject it--they refused to even look into the possibility that it was true. They didn't WANT to believe it, in the same way that global warming alarmists refuse to believe or investigate any claim that their belief might be false.

You do not think that twelve-year-old kid picked up a clue or two left purposely or unintentionally by the writer of said text, who knew exactly what was going on?

Nope. Another of the important rules of science is to watch out for biased writers.....

I would be carefully flattering yourself too much ;)

It's not flattery. I really AM that good at science. :cool:

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I read about Physics in the past in an old Feyman lectures book

It is a little difficult to make good recommendations without you giving us a little more information about your current knowledge and maths skill. You might also say if there are any particular areas in physics that interest you.

The old Feynman book you mention was probably The Feynman Lectures on Physics, which comes in three volumes. It was published in the sixties, and they are showing their age a little, but I would still recommend them for a reader with a moderate level of physics.

Landau and Lifshitz, as recommended by K^2, is also excellent, though as he says it is very maths intensive. I would think of them as a more advanced text, because of that. If you have sufficient maths knowledge I would recommend them. The earlier volumes are even older than the Feynman lectures, and the later volumes are younger, but in some ways they have aged better. It's also a very theoretical text, with less emphasis on applications of physics that I personally find interesting.

In first year at my university we used Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resnick and Walker. It's more up to date than the other two, both in content (not that there's much to update at that level) but also in pedagogical approach. If you really want to learn to do physics, as well as learn about physics, the sample problems will be useful. It's a less advanced text than the other two.

I actually found A brief history of time quite interesting when I read it as a teenager. I think I was in a minority there, though, and it's not really a textbook. It also limits itself to astrophysics and cosmology, where the other books I've mentioned are broader.

Edited by Kermunist
Edited because the forum censored a famous physicist's name!
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Uh, since Feynman was mentioned, may as well link the free version of the lectures:

http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/

(I'm hesitant to recommend current textbooks because they tend to be hugely expensive.)

Course of Theoretical Physics by Landau and Lifshitz. They cover everything from classical mechanics to quantum field theory. Very good series of textbooks. But you need to have a very good math background. If you do not have a good math background, start with that.

It looks like all English language additions are still under copyright?

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It looks like all English language additions are still under copyright?

They are. And the prints tend to be on the pricey side. But they are excellent books that are worth spending money on. You might be able to find them used, perhaps, older editions, for significantly less, as with most textbooks.

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Thanks for the replies, yes the book I read was the lectures on physics, and I am starting to read it from the beginning.

As for the "Course on theoretical physics", I don't think I can read it as it is too advaced, also wikipedia says it is a graduate level book.

Also, UmbralRaptor, if you know any good modern books, please do tell me about them.

Edited by ido66667
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Course on Theoretical Physics is a series. The first one, Mechanics, is quite accessible if you know basic Calculus and just a bit about Differential Equations. It ramps up pretty fast from there, though.

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I also read Halliday and Resnick's Fundamentals of Physics as a mechanical engineering undergrad, and I can attest that it is a good introductory text in physics. A more modern, integrated and readable alternative text would be Chabay and Sherwood's Matter and Interactions. Both books assume an elementary proficiency in differential and integral calculus, with a small bit of vector calculus in the electromagnetism sections.

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Have you tried the recommended textbooks that Coursera and the online MIT physics classes offer? They're easy to obtain via Mediafire/ebooks/download and they assign you chapters to read to catch up with their coursework. It's no legitimate college class but it's an effective method educating yourself on topics you don't intend spending a lot of money learning.

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