Jeremy Walter

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Learning physics

I have been having a lot of trouble getting into a school to get a physics degree because i'm in that zone where I make to much for financial aid but I don't make enough to be able to pay for school. I am looking for a place that will help me learn the math required to fully understand the science of quantum physics. I surf Youtube and the internet but as yet have not found anything that seems to operate at the same frequency as my learning capacity.

So i guess i'm looking an explanation of the different symbols and how they relate to each other within an equation. If that makes any sense =p

  • Oct 9 2012: If you have questions, you can always ask on or Before asking, just make sure that it hasn't been asked before already; people have been asking and answering there for years.

    If you don't have the money to buy books, either get them at libraries or torrent them.

    Also checkout these:
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      Oct 9 2012: Yeah the college option really isn't on the table right now. I would have to pay out of pocket and I don't make enough to do that but I make to much to get Financial Aid. Thank you for the advice
      • Oct 9 2012: How old are you, what is your current educational background, and what languages do you speak besides English?
        I ask because Europe offers several programs for foreigners where they fund the studies entirely and even give scholarships to foreigners. You won't even have to have a job in the mean time. I know of, but there might be others.
        • Oct 9 2012: I know of no European country that does this: usually students from inside the EU pay very low tuition and get a small allowance (that you can't live off), but students from outside the EU pay something like $10k per year, which is still lower than what you'd pay in the US for an equivalen t education, (unless they're in a temporary exchange program which always requires being registered and paying tuition at a university in your country of origin) and don't get an allowance. I'm afraid Jeremy was screwed the moment he was born in the US. He can apply for loans and spent the rest of his working life paying them off, but that's it.
  • Oct 8 2012: This is a good book to learn the basics: but you need calculus, linear algebra and basic knowledge of mechanical (Newtonian) physics as well as wave physics (basically stuff you should know at the end of your freshman year).
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      Oct 8 2012: Thank you very much, can you suggest what would be best for learning what you described I should already know?
      • Oct 8 2012: this plus introductory books on calculus and linear algebra should contain everything. However, I strongly advise you to at least find a tutor who is knowledgeable in physics because unless you are a genius you will run into problems because books alone will only get you so far.
      • Oct 9 2012: You should start with the simple stuff first:
        Classic Physics, Newton's forces. That should keep you busy for a while and get you used to the simple algebra needed to understand these forces.
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    Gail .

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    Oct 9 2012: Your question makes perfect sense, and it seems inordinately unreasonable to charge people for learning such valuable information. That's what's wrong with education today. It's not about educating, it's about money - whether you speak of a elementary school teacher or a college professor or most anywhere in between

    the free resources that are mentioned in these responses might be a good place to start, but I haven't yet found a place that answers the same questions you ask and that I have been asking. It's coming though. Coursera, for example, just added 17 new prestigious universities to its coalition, though no classes in the math behind quantum mechanics yet.

    I don't know where you are in your math education, but Kahn Academy can start you on your road to help you figure out where you are.

    If you are willing to spend SOME money, has some wonderful things - but wait until what you are looking for goes on sale. Right now, the courses that might interest you are not on sale, but things change every month. I've purchased Wolfson's "Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists" (and I should say, non-mathematicians). The 2nd edition is now available. I bought the first. I've also purchased Schumacher's "Quantum Mechanics: The Physics of the Microscopic World". I see that he has just come out with another.

    Schumacher's Quantum Mechanics ... course requires knowledge of some math, but you might be able to work backwards. It will at least give you insight into what you need to know.

    Perhaps you and I should team and write a math book for non-mathematicians. Being non-mathematicians ourselves, we might be able to write it in 5th grade language as we explain it to one another. LOL But then, unless we made it GNU, we'd be doing the same thing I accuse teachers of. Withholding information unless it is paid for. Math is not my forte.
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      Oct 9 2012: There are lots of math books for non-mathematicians, as so many people have this interest. But as you mention Great Courses, do they still have The Joy of Thinking? That math course is taught by a very popular professor at Williams and another from University of Texas, I think.
  • Oct 9 2012: Jeremy you can enroll in Stanford University's online education program and get the same education for free. You get a certification instead of a Degree, which I believe the colleges will eventually turn to for undergrad degrees anyway.

    This is link to their site:
  • Oct 9 2012: This is a pretty cool site:

    also, for just a neat overall perspective wiki mathematics and its sub-categories is a neat means of organizing thoughts (physics also).
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    Oct 8 2012: You might want to enroll in some basic courses at your local community college.
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    Oct 8 2012: Hi Jeremy,

    I would probably start by asking you how much you know of basic physics and the math needed for basic physics... In my experience, it is close to impossible to jump over this and start from zero directly into advanced physics like quantum mechanics or General Relativity

    For a preety good selection of free lessons on math (and many other topics, including physics, although not quantum mechanics) you should take a look at Kahn Academy (

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    Oct 8 2012: As John writes, calculus/linear algebra/differential equations would be vital. I would have thought work in Fourrier series as well?

    My first two thoughts for you are:
    1. Have you looked into your local community college? Community colleges are typically far less expensive than the state university and are an ideal place to get a couple of years of calculus accomplished. You can often do this as a part-time student while you work at whatever job you may have.
    2. Have you checked Coursera as well as MIT Open courseware? Coursera has a built in capability to work with other students online, I believe, though I don't think you have access to attention from any sort of teaching staff outside of video lectures. MIT Open courseware are online notes, again with no access to actual human instruction.

    I just checked. Coursera (o tuition) has single variable calculus starting in January and Linear Algebra in June.