Is it too late to start learning Physics?

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shadow735

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<p>So that is my question, I am 37 I was never interested in any of this. Math was not something I had and desire to get into depth. But in the last few years my interests have changed, I have gotten more and more into astronomy and as a result my interest in learning how things work has increased.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>I have purchased a few books and due to this my interest in math has actually increased, so I am slowly starting to get my feet wet.</p><p>So am I too old to learn this stuff, physics, quantum mechanics and all the other fields. Any advice on this would be great</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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neuvik

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>So that is my question, I am 37 I was never interested in any of this. Math was not something I had and desire to get into depth. But in the last few years my interests have changed, I have gotten more and more into astronomy and as a result my interest in learning how things work has increased.&nbsp;I have purchased a few books and due to this my interest in math has actually increased, so I am slowly starting to get my feet wet.So am I too old to learn this stuff, physics, quantum mechanics and all the other fields. Any advice on this would be great <br />Posted by shadow735</DIV></p><p>Some times I think I'm too old and I'm only 23 :p&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; It should be every&nbsp;persons duty to try and make themselves better, and a good way is mathematics and the sciences in my opinion.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; You must to reset your mind, mathematics is not something to fear.&nbsp; Its something you can harness, and once mastered you can dominate set regions of science.&nbsp;&nbsp; If you have not taken college Algebra or Trigonometry, you must take them before beginning Physics in my opinion.&nbsp;&nbsp;Its hard to jump into&nbsp;a Physics lesson if you don't know how to manipulate the quadratic&nbsp;formula, or complete a square for that matter.&nbsp; Most Universities require calculus to begin Physics. (Calculus was invented to explain Physics)&nbsp; But I think JCs are lighter in their restrictions.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I'd recomend enrolling, sometimes you just need a professor to point you in the right direction.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p><p>Its all the human mind,&nbsp;you literaly have to gear yourself to love math and science.&nbsp;&nbsp; You have to find how best to do that.&nbsp; For me, it was watching October Skys, and reading Carl Sagans Cosmos, and the&nbsp;Horatio Hornblower series (doesn't quite have to deal with math persay,&nbsp;just so long as your inspired to work harder)</p><p>&nbsp;Although doing manual labor during and a bit after high school helped me to realize its better to make money using ones head, than by breaking ones back too hah.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>Oh, you might want to start be looking for Dr. Rockets thread on Physics for Future Presidents, thats a good moral booster!&nbsp; That and SDC!<p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000">I don't think I'm alone when I say, "I hope more planets fall under the ruthless domination of Earth!"</font></strong></p><p><font color="#0000ff">SDC Boards: Power by PLuck - Ph**king Luck</font></p> </div>
 
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shadow735

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<p>I have taken algebra in highschool as well as college, I will have to redo it though because its been over 12 years since then, never taken Trig, I think I was scared off because when I was in highschool I went from Algebra 1 to geometry and was completly lost.</p><p>&nbsp;Of course things may have changed now because I have grown and my mind is way different in being able to understand things. I will most likely get some books for self study rather then go to&nbsp;a class.</p><p>I am going to see where thist thirst for knowledge takes me, who knows I may end up going back to college.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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DrRocket

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>So that is my question, I am 37 I was never interested in any of this. Math was not something I had and desire to get into depth. But in the last few years my interests have changed, I have gotten more and more into astronomy and as a result my interest in learning how things work has increased.&nbsp;I have purchased a few books and due to this my interest in math has actually increased, so I am slowly starting to get my feet wet.So am I too old to learn this stuff, physics, quantum mechanics and all the other fields. Any advice on this would be great <br />Posted by shadow735</DIV></p><p>If you have the interest it is never too late to learn a new subject.</p><p>In this case there are many exciting things to learn.&nbsp; If you have the desire you can do it.&nbsp; But it won't be easy.</p><p>To learn the sort of physics that you have identified you will need to learn quite&nbsp;a bit more mathematics.&nbsp; In particular you need to learn calculus, elementary differential equations and linear algebra.&nbsp; None of these things are really difficult, but they will be different from the sort of mathematics that you have seen thus far.&nbsp; There will be more emphasis on understanding, the theory and logic of the subjects and less on simple manipulation of symbols.&nbsp; I suggest that you find a way to take classes in these subjects at a local university or community college.</p><p>You will also need to study physics in a presentation that uses calculus, or else you will have to be satisfied with a qualitative understanding of the subject.&nbsp; One can gain some understanding of the subject from a qualitiative point of view, but deep understanding does require the use of mathematics.&nbsp; For a class in physics using calculus I again suggest a course at a local university or community college.&nbsp; You might also, as was suggested earlier in the thread take a look at the video series Physics for Future Presidents.&nbsp; It is a good set of lectures at a conceptual level that does not require calculus but does transmit some of the flavor of advanced physics.&nbsp; From it you can gain a good bit of understanding, but not an ability to perfrom calculations and make quantitative assessments of physical behavior.</p><p>Once you have the basics, mathematics and a brief treatment of physics using calculus you have a decision to make.&nbsp; At that point you can either continue to study on your own, or else pursue further serious studies at the university level.&nbsp; The latter course would involve a serious commitment of time and effort, and perhaps money.&nbsp; It would basically lead to a BS.&nbsp; Or you can study on your own at whatever level suits your fancy.&nbsp; There are good books written for a lay audience, mostly a the level of Physics for Future Presidents with perhaps even less mathematics involved.&nbsp; There are also many many high-level texts on advanced physics available, but they require quite a bit of mathematical sophistication that would be difficult to develop outside of a formal educational setting.</p><p>But age should not be a barrier.&nbsp; It is interest and willingness to work and to learn that count.</p><p>For what it is worth here are some books that you might find of interest:</p><p><strong>Popular physics</strong> (little mathematics required)</p><p>The Elegant Universe by Brian Green</p><p>The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Green</p><p>A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking</p><p>The Character of Physical Law by Richard Feynman</p><p><strong>Physics Texts</strong> (calculus required)</p><p>The Feynman Lectures on Physics by Richard Feynman</p><p>Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resnick and Walker</p><p><strong>Advanced and specialized physics </strong>(calculus and beyond required)</p><p>Mathematical Methods of Physics by Arfken</p><p>Quantum Mechanics by PJE Peebles</p><p>Quantum Mechanics by Messiah</p><p>Classical Mechanics by Goldstein</p><p>Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems&nbsp;by Marion</p><p>Classical Electrodynamics by Jackson</p><p>Classical Electromagnetic Radiation by Marion</p><p><strong>Mathematics</strong></p><p>Calculus by Thomas and Finney</p><p>Calculus by Bers</p><p>Linear Algebra by Hoffman</p><p>Finite Dimensional Vector Spaces by Halmos</p><p>Elementary Differential Equations by Boyce and DiPrima<br /></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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weeman

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>So that is my question, I am 37 I was never interested in any of this. Math was not something I had and desire to get into depth. But in the last few years my interests have changed, I have gotten more and more into astronomy and as a result my interest in learning how things work has increased.&nbsp;I have purchased a few books and due to this my interest in math has actually increased, so I am slowly starting to get my feet wet.So am I too old to learn this stuff, physics, quantum mechanics and all the other fields. Any advice on this would be great <br />Posted by shadow735</DIV><br /><br />It's never too late! If you live to be the age of 85, then you still have a good 50 years ahead of you to study physics and astronomy. Which means, that you may be no closer to solving the mysteries of the universe than you are now! <img src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-cry.gif" border="0" alt="Cry" title="Cry" /></p><p>For me, I knew I was interested in astronomy probably by the age of 9 or 10, and even though it's just a hobby for me (not a professional career) I still feel like I have learned a ton, and will continue to do so. </p><p>But 37 is the new 27! So don't feel like it's too late! </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000">Techies: We do it in the dark. </font></strong></p><p><font color="#0000ff"><strong>"Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.</strong><strong>" -Albert Einstein </strong></font></p> </div>
 
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