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Learning physics and math before astrophysics


pmourad
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Hi. I am an astrophysics enthusiast and I would like to learn more, on my own at my own pace. I'm not pursuing any degree, I simply enjoy it and want to know more.  I have very little knowledge in both physics and math. Since I chose to follow an artistic plan in high school, I saw almost no physics and the basics of algebra.  Therefore, I believe learning math and physics would be an important steps before enrolling in astrophysics courses.

So far, I've read (and enjoyed) the following books:

I wonder if you could recommend any courses, books or videos on things I should learn before diving into astrophysics.
Thanks in advance, Paula.

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1 hour ago, pmourad said:

I believe learning math and physics would be an important steps before enrolling in astrophysics courses.

I agree. Learning the basics of forces, momentum and energy (mechanics), gravitation, thermodynamics  and electromagnetism will be important. These are usually covered in introductory physics classes, but might be broken down by topic, depending on where you look. It’s also possible that an intro astrophysics book/course would cover these; you’d need to check.

You’ll need a course that has you work problems. The books geared to popular audiences tell you about the concepts, but you need to be able to apply them to different situations.

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1 hour ago, pmourad said:

Hi. I am an astrophysics enthusiast and I would like to learn more, on my own at my own pace. I'm not pursuing any degree, I simply enjoy it and want to know more.  I have very little knowledge in both physics and math. Since I chose to follow an artistic plan in high school, I saw almost no physics and the basics of algebra.  Therefore, I believe learning math and physics would be an important steps before enrolling in astrophysics courses.

So far, I've read (and enjoyed) the following books:

I wonder if you could recommend any courses, books or videos on things I should learn before diving into astrophysics.
Thanks in advance, Paula.

I normally find some books or other material to refer when folks ask.
But this is a really tall order that all but has me stumped.

But welcome anyway and if you have queries this is a good place to just ask.

In the hope that your basic algebra included at least simple equations and their rearrangement I suggest you look into this book.

The maths is very gentle and there is a glossary/explanation of all the (astro)physics you will need, plus lots of photos and full colour diagrams.

The books covers a good range of topics without being too difficult.

astro1.jpg.140465be1cdce85a22d0c5cc2168ff77.jpg


Science books are expensive and astro stuff goes out of date very quickly so you might like to look into a second hand copy.

I also suggest you initially beware of material on relativity, gravitation particle theory.
These will draw you down a never ending rabbit hole/warren of increasing complexity that you will not have the maths to understand so will gain entirely the wrong impresion.

Go well in your study enterprise.

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2 hours ago, pmourad said:

Hi. I am an astrophysics enthusiast and I would like to learn more, on my own at my own pace. I'm not pursuing any degree, I simply enjoy it and want to know more.  I have very little knowledge in both physics and math.

Like you, I'm also an amateur enthusiast, probably though far older. Some good advice from those two gentlemen [using the term loosely 😉]above me.

All I can do is recommend a couple of good books....Black Holes and Time warps by Kip Thorne, and another is The First Three Minutes by Stephen Weinberg.

You could also try for some basic stuff, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. 

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If you have high school algebra, your next step will be to teach yourself calculus. I recommend this:

https://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/resources/Strang/Edited/Calculus/Calculus.pdf
 

It’s very readable, and has loads of exercises to work through. After that then I cannot recommend MIT’s Open Courseware highly enough (just Google it) - there’s a wealth of material there to teach yourself physics and math from the basics up to the most advanced. That should keep you busy for a couple of years ;) 

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