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I'm currently attending Norwegian high school and I'm in a course where we study electricity, automation, electronics, and almost no physics, chemistry etc.

So it will be at least 5-6 years before I can think of taking any education in physics, however, I would like to get the basics going.

So I wondered if anyone has any suggestions regarding books to start reading. I would like some very basic ones, the only physics I've had is junior-high level (newton laws, gravity pull etc.)

Any suggestions?


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marked as duplicate by ACuriousMind, Kyle Kanos, David Z Apr 5 '15 at 15:53

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  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately Stackexchange is not the right website for this kind of question. There are sites specifally for this purpose. Try for example books.physicsinsider.com $\endgroup$ – Tim Apr 8 '15 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ Short answer: you shouldn't. it will ruin your life and forever deprive you of girl/boyfriends $\endgroup$ – Oct18 is day of silence on SE May 7 '15 at 18:07

"The Feynman lectures" are an amazing gem for learning physics and are available online for free.


Where should i start in physics?

As I also mentioned as an answer to a similar question: https://physics.stackexchange.com/a/154425/4962

a great overview and understanding of physics, starting from scratch, can be achieved by studying topics in this order:

  1. Motion (kinematics)
  2. Forces (dynamics and statics)
  3. Rotation (angular kinematics and dynamics)
  4. Collisions (momentum and impulse)
  5. Oscillations
  6. Vibrations and waves
  7. Fluid mechanics
  8. Thermodynamics (energy)
  9. Electricity (electric fields and forces)
  10. Electronics (DC and AC)
  11. Magnetism
  12. Electromagnetism
  13. Light (diffraction, wave/photon behavior)
  14. Optics (reflection, interference)
  15. Quantum mechanics
  16. Matter (atoms and molecules)
  17. Material science
  18. Nuclear physics
  19. Relativity

So i wondered if anyone have any suggestions for books to start reading. I would like som very basics, the only physics we ive had is junior high level(newtons laws, gravity pull etc.)

The one text book I will recommend for a starter who wants to start from scratch is University Physics by Young & Freedman. This is the most pedagogical tool I have ever encountered. It brings you deep into all above from the very scratch. That book I can recommend. It can take you all the way, from scratch to quantum stuff.


Any series of textbooks or a general work on physics that start from classical mechanics and goes all the way up to electromagnetism (and even quantum mechanics if you like) would be good choice, this way you won't get confused by different notations and you won't lack any assumed knowledge because you stay within the framework of one series or book. I have listed some personal recommendations and their 'style' of teaching.

  1. Feynman lectures on physics (Volume I: Mechanics, Volume II: Electromagnetism): A rather unorthodox approach to the subject of teaching physics. It focuses on understanding the subject and creating an intuition for physics rather then straight mathematical formalism. Feynman also doesn't like the: first the easy, but wrong formula, and then the correct one approach he rather give you the correct and general solution to a problem even if you do not have the mathematical background to understand it. If you like this style of teaching then you should definitely buy the first two volumes. It is not really a reference work so if you just want to get to the point of the subject fast than this isn't the book for you.

  2. Douglas C. Giancoli (Phyisics: Principles with Applications) Their is also a series from the same author's (which is what I had to buy in my first year). This is a very classic approach towards teaching physics and is how a lot of high school and undergraduate courses teach physics. They start every chapter with an observation and/or a question and then build up towards a generalized theory. The notation is quite 'international' so no weird personal preferences from the author. The downside to this book is that their is a lot of text. If you fancy yourself a fast learner and/or have a good mathematical intuition the book can get a bit boring because it takes rather long to get to the point sometimes.

  3. Alonso & Finn (Volume I: Mechanics, Volume II: Electromagnetism) The most mathematically rigorous and the hardest of my recommendations. If this is your first time really studying physics then I would not recommend this, but if you like to the point physics this is as sweet as it gets. The books are very thin (around 300 pages) but contain the same information as the monsters of Douglas C. Giancoli. The downside to Alonso & Fnn's approach is that they leave out the general story. They start of with some assumptions grind it trough the mathematical machine and leave you with a result but don't explain it's context within the theory. If you want a broad explanation of a physics then these books are nothing for you.

These are just some personal recommendations which I have used over the years, and so I can comment on them. Only the Feynman lectures are considered to be real classic textbooks from what I have read. If you want a more classical textbook I know there will be some people here willing to give you some good suggestions.