Last week I talked about not learning music being a regret of mine. The other regret I have is not learning physics. I dabble in it, but it’s a struggle.
If you are interested in learning physics, read this piece from my friend Susan. I got to know her because of it: So You Want to Learn Physics… — Susan Fowler. She now has a new version of it at a new site! You can find it here.
Other friends I have who do know physics tell me the thing to learn is Lagrangian mechanics. Here’s a good guide to it: Lagrangian Mechanics For Dummies: An Intuitive Introduction – Profound Physics
Another way to learn physics is via Youtube. This guy has an amazing YouTube channel on Physics: DrPhysicsA – YouTube Worthwhile.
Of course you can also read text books on it. I think Dover Books are among the best for this. For example, this: Classical Mechanics: 2nd Edition: Corben, H.C., Stehle, Philip: 9780486680637: Gateway – Amazon.ca
Still another way is via experimentation. For example: build your own particle detector | symmetry magazine
(Speaking of experimentation, here’s a great piece on how the LIGO Observatory detects gravitational waves)
A problem I have always had with physics is how did physics get to where it got to, and why are certain areas more prominent than others. To better understand that, it’s good to look backwards at how physics was done in previous time. For example, this article on Ole Roemer: Ole Roemer Profile: First to Measure the Speed of Light | AMNH. We all know light has a specific speed but back then some thought light was instantaneous. But Roemer came up with a method to show light had an actual speed and it could be measured. Likewise, here is the great physicist James Maxwell with a book on how scientists developed their idea of what heat is and how it works: Theory of Heat – James Clerk Maxwell – Google Books.
Finally, a good way to learn physics is read good articles on it. Here’s a collection of some:
- Quantum Leaps, Long Assumed to Be Instantaneous, Take Time
- A quantum experiment suggests there’s no such thing as objective reality | MIT Technology Review
- Interstellar space even weirder than expected, NASA’s Voyager 2 reveals
- Is the Schrödinger Equation True? – Scientific America
- Neutrinos Lead to Unexpected Discovery in Basic Math