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Hello I am fifteen and I already know everything that my school has been teaching me so I have been going ahead. I have already been studying mathematics far past where I am at school, but I am very interested in physics. I want to learn everything up to advanced topics such as super-string theory. But to get there, I obviously have to start at the beginning. Any good textbooks out there for somebody like me? Preferably something with a lot of practice problems and that has many applications.


marked as duplicate by Kyle Kanos, Prahar, Qmechanic Apr 8 '15 at 3:28

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  • $\begingroup$ "Fundamental of Physics" by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker is the first one I remember learning anything from... These days I think it's only Halliday and Resnick on the author list for the 10th edition. $\endgroup$ – hft Apr 8 '15 at 0:55
  • $\begingroup$ Please define "everything" and "far past". $\endgroup$ – Ryan Unger Apr 8 '15 at 2:02
  • $\begingroup$ You'll have to be a little more specific as to what you already know. Have you learned single variable calculus yet? If not, learn that first. If so, just get one of the standard freshman bricks (Halliday/Resnick, Freedman/Young, etc) and start working problems. You'll also need to start learning linear algebra and multivariable calculus if you haven't covered those yet, but you can definitely start without those two. $\endgroup$ – user43255 Apr 8 '15 at 2:38

You can read the utterly fantastic Feynman Lectures on Physics which is free for online viewing at the link provided. I would also recommend Feynman's Tips on Physics: Reflections, Advice, Insights, Practice - A Problem-Solving Supplement to the Feynman Lectures on Physics. My University uses Giancoli as well as the textbook for introductory physics, but I find regular introductory textbooks to be unreadable, endless, and unpalatable.

I would also recommend reading up on the history of Physics and some fun books that are meant for people your age. I would recommend:

Mr. Tompkins in Paperback by George Gamow, a Nobel Prize winner

$E=mc^2$: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation

From X-rays to Quarks: Modern Physicists and Their Discoveries by Emilio Segre, another Nobel Prize winner


Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe by Simon Singh which is an excellent historical development of what the Big Bang theory is and how it came to be.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The Feynman Lectures also have an accompanying book of problems. I haven't personally used it, but since the Feynman lectures themselves don't contain any exercises -- and to learn physics you must solve a lot of exercises -- I'd recommend picking that up too if you're going to get Feynman's book. $\endgroup$ – user43255 Apr 8 '15 at 2:41
  • $\begingroup$ Forgot they were separate. Thanks for pointing it out! $\endgroup$ – Tetradic Apr 8 '15 at 2:52

I don't know how much you are adept at mathematics but before you begin physics, you ought to study calculus from Thomas' Calculus & Differential & Integral Calculus by Richard Courant.

Now, first of all, you'll come across Newtonian Mechanics. For this, I would recommend A.P.French's Newtonian Mechanics. Unlike Lectures of Feynman(though they are really good and one of their kind), here every concept is explained using necessary words; no beating about bush and of course its pictures are really intuitive. This book is designed to be a self-contained introduction to Newtonian Mechanics. Students with little or no grounding in the subject can be brought gradually to a level of considerable proficiency.

Another book, I would recommend is the Berkeley Physics course- Mechanics. This is one of the best beginner's book for Newtonian Mechanics.

And I would advise you that first study mathematics- binomial & multinomial theorem, function, real & complex numbers, transformation geometry & of course, calculus. When you are done, you are ready for your physics - adventure. First, be proficient in theory and then think about numericals. Best of luck!


The textbook my school uses for my AP Physics 2 course is the fifth revised edition Giancoli textbook. Like you, I am reading ahead and trying to absorb as much information as possible. I am sure many high school physics books are a great starting place to go further in studying physics at your level, but do not forget there are many resources online too. Just pick up a used textbook for cheap and get reading. Good luck brotha.

  • $\begingroup$ No I know everything through algebra 2. I have books on everything up through calculus 2 but I have not read them yet. I'm talking about the physics that you take when you are a HS senior. I need to start there. $\endgroup$ – SirSuperior Apr 8 '15 at 20:01
  • $\begingroup$ the physics you take when you are a hs senior is totally arbitrary because not everyone takes physics at an early year, or at all. I am a senior and the most I missed out on was Physics C which involves rotation and calculus-based physics. I don't know the textbook they used but you can see if giancoli has a physics c textbook. $\endgroup$ – obliv Apr 8 '15 at 20:10

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