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I've just finished my high school education and cannot wait until I get to go to university - but I've got 3 whole months to endure first. Maths is ultimately my favorite subject but I'm just really interested in its applications at the moment - namely applications to the weird and wonderful phenomena in physics.

What are some relatively involved physics books (about M-theory, black holes, quantum mechanics etc) that are understandable to a student who has studied high school physics and maths?

I don't want really simple 'laymans' books, I feel like my education has put me slightly past that level. I was considering Brian Greene's book "the elegant universe"... I've already seen his documentaries (fabric of the cosmos); they were interesting but didn't really go into the kind of depth I was looking for. Everything seemed like magic with no real explanation. I want to begin to really understand what's going on rather than just read about it. (p.s. im not looking for a textbook). I know I'm being really picky but please help!

This is my mathematical background so I should be able to follow along with any books containing these concepts:

*Calculus (Derivatives and integration + some differential equations)

*Linear algebra at the first-year university level (I did a first-year course there in my spare time while still in high school)(vectors, linear independence, scalar product. Matrices, simultaneous equations, determinants, vector product, eigenvalues, eigenvectors. Equation of straight line & plane)

*Trig

*Complex numbers

*dynamics

And most likely more but i can't recall it all now. It would definitely come back to me though.

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closed as too broad by David Z Dec 27 '16 at 21:43

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  • $\begingroup$ What effort have you made to find such books for yourself? Have you asked your high school physics teachers? Or looked in your high school library or municipal library? Have you searched the internet, eg Amazon? If you have a place at university have you consulted the reading list for your 1st year studies? Have you looked at the books recommended by Brian Greene for "further reading"? ... Asking here does not excuse you from doing your own research. $\endgroup$ – sammy gerbil Nov 23 '16 at 0:05
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, you don't want a textbook, but you do want to be pushed a goodish bit. 1. Deep Down Thing/B Schumm: The Standard Model 2. Intro To Thermal Physics/DV Schroeder, its a light textbook but you need to know whats in it, it covers lots of areas. 3. QFT for the Gifted Amateur /Lancaster. Then you will know what you are up against for the next year. After that its textbooks, don't even try to weasel out of them :) Also watch James Binney /Oxford and L. Susskind/Stanford on youtube regarding Quantum Mechanics. $\endgroup$ – user108787 Nov 23 '16 at 0:09
  • $\begingroup$ Sammy is right, you have lots of free stuff on the web, at all levels. $\endgroup$ – user108787 Nov 23 '16 at 0:10
  • $\begingroup$ Well that's precisely what I'm doing now; asking for recommendations. But yes, I have searched for books and read reviews etc I was considering some of Stephen Hawking's books but another thread (physics.stackexchange.com/questions/227110/…) and other reviews I've seen haven't said good things about them. I've hired out whatever my school had on offer but they were mostly history of physics books and really basic things that I've heard before over and over again. I thought someone on here might know of something. $\endgroup$ – Questions about math Nov 23 '16 at 0:13
  • $\begingroup$ Seriously, thats enough to be getting on with. Don't expect to see your friends for a year, stay off FB, etc....the clever guys make it look easy, that's because they really, really study. Now get off this site, buy the books on kindle (way cheaper) and start reading......you will know in a year if you still like it : ) The very best of luck with it. $\endgroup$ – user108787 Nov 23 '16 at 0:21
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It's hard to do any real hard-hitting physics without partial derivatives and differential equations; being said, without maths, I would recommend the A Very Short Introduction series published by oxford (specifically Particle Physics,Quantum Theory, and Relativity). Also The Little Book of String Theory by Guber. Once you have the maths, I'd recommend Leonard Susskind's Theoretical Minimum books (classical and quantum mechanics)

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