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    Any physicists out there? Either current undergrads or prospective students! Just want to know what sort of things you recommend reading over summer - any particular books worth getting?! Do you get set maths work or reading lists over summer? Also, how "fast" does the course start?!

    Thanks!
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    (Original post by Hoofbeat)
    Any physicists out there? Either current undergrads or prospective students! Just want to know what sort of things you recommend reading over summer - any particular books worth getting?! Do you get set maths work or reading lists over summer? Also, how "fast" does the course start?!

    Thanks!
    Oliver Twist is quite good. Also Pride and Prejudice + The Great Gatsby.
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    (Original post by Hoofbeat)
    Any physicists out there? Either current undergrads or prospective students! Just want to know what sort of things you recommend reading over summer - any particular books worth getting?! Do you get set maths work or reading lists over summer? Also, how "fast" does the course start?!

    Thanks!
    I can't speak from personal experience, but my cousin is a third year physist at Wadham so I can give you her reported impressions of the course. I'm not sure about specific reading, but she got sent maths problems to do over the summer (though it varies between colleges - her friend at St Anne's didn't get anything). If you are sent stuff to do, take note of your answers, as I believe the same questions surfaced in my cousin's first lot of collections (termly exams), so she was able to cheat!

    Reagrding the pace of the course, apparently A level further maths is covered in 2 weeks, so it's very fast indeed. Keep your maths on the boil over the summer hols and make sure it's a strong area, as students have to do separate summer maths exams and the physics stuff itself is very mathematical! Don't worry if you feel totally overwhelmed by the work - we had quite a few indications that my cousin found the course very difficult at first. Even now she often says things don't make sense until right before summer exams, when everything seems to come together, and this is coming from someone who has won yearly college scholarships and had private tutoring from a certain relation who teaches physics at St Johns Oxford. There are always the few geniuses who understand everything instantly, but I wouldn't let them worry you; the majority of students are not like that. Good luck and don't let initial problems get you down!
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    (Original post by oldthrashbarg)
    Oliver Twist is quite good. Also Pride and Prejudice + The Great Gatsby.
    Not very helpful for Physics!!!!
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    (Original post by Hoofbeat)
    Not very helpful for Physics!!!!
    I know, sorry. It was just that you asked for recommendations of things to read over the summer.

    Might help you take your mind off physics though.
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    (Original post by Hoofbeat)
    Any physicists out there? Either current undergrads or prospective students! Just want to know what sort of things you recommend reading over summer - any particular books worth getting?! Do you get set maths work or reading lists over summer? Also, how "fast" does the course start?!

    Thanks!
    Hi. Im going to Keble 4 physics. Im just gonna sort my notes n stuff out properly over the summer as they could come in useful, at least for the first couple of weeks. Im gonna brush up on my maths and look over any stuff they send me on a reaing list. What college you goin to?
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    (Original post by Hoofbeat)
    Any physicists out there? Either current undergrads or prospective students! Just want to know what sort of things you recommend reading over summer - any particular books worth getting?! Do you get set maths work or reading lists over summer? Also, how "fast" does the course start?!

    Thanks!
    As someone else has already mentioned the first term can be a bit of a shock. The problem is that there are so many different math and physics A-level course out there that the lectures have to take this into account. Because of that they spend the first term getting everyone up to the same base-level. This means there'll spend time on stuff you've already covered in Maths or Physics but then go over something you haven't seen before (but other people have) very, very quickly. It does get better though (although I can't really vouch personally for 2nd & subsequent years because I switched subjects after my 1st year). If I was you I'd enjoy the Summer and not worry too much about reading or whatever.... If you can though, go over anything you've been taught in Mechanics (any stats you did at A-level Maths will probably never be used) - and if you can get your head around anything on Special Relativity, that's probably the most advanced concept taught in 1st year.....
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    They teach special relativity in the first year?

    Lol, that's pretty handy. Do you learn it quantatatively, with the Lorentz transformations and such, or just the concepts?
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    (Original post by mast3486)
    Hi. Im going to Keble 4 physics. Im just gonna sort my notes n stuff out properly over the summer as they could come in useful, at least for the first couple of weeks. Im gonna brush up on my maths and look over any stuff they send me on a reaing list. What college you goin to?
    Don't know which college yet as had open offer. Originally applied to New College though.
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    (Original post by mik1a)
    They teach special relativity in the first year?

    Lol, that's pretty handy. Do you learn it quantatatively, with the Lorentz transformations and such, or just the concepts?
    Cool! That's one topic I'm really looking forward to. Have read quite a bit on it and my friend's grandfather did physics and taught me about it one lazy sunny afternoon whilst I stayed at my m8's property in Spain! Don't know the quantitative stuff. Some uni's don't actually cover it as a core module, which I think is weird - at Warwick it's an optional module in 1st year!
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    (Original post by mik1a)
    They teach special relativity in the first year?

    Lol, that's pretty handy. Do you learn it quantatatively, with the Lorentz transformations and such, or just the concepts?
    Dug out my old notes from 1st year Physics:

    Special Relativity, 8 Lectures, Hilary Term:
    Einstein's 2 postulates of Special Relativity. The Lorentz transformation, and elementary consequences thereof, including length contraction and time dilation.
    Minkowski diagram. Proper time and invariant space-time intervals. The Twins paradox.
    Addition of velocities. Importance of momentum. Energy, momentum and rest mass. Transformation of E and p. Invariants.
    Collision problems. Threshold energies. LAB and CM frames of reference. Unstable particle decays at rest and in flight.
    The photon and other massless particles. Compton scattering and the Doppler effect.

    These are out of date now and the course might have evolved slightly but it gives you an idea of what is done....
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    (Original post by Hoofbeat)
    Any physicists out there? Either current undergrads or prospective students! Just want to know what sort of things you recommend reading over summer - any particular books worth getting?! Do you get set maths work or reading lists over summer? Also, how "fast" does the course start?!

    Thanks!
    Hi! I hope to be a prospective physics student sometime. If you're interested in relativity, I believe the following book offers a good introduction:

    McComb - Dynamics and relativity

    I haven't actually read this book, but it is used at many universities for 1st year courses.
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    (Original post by way2go)
    Hi! I hope to be a prospective physics student sometime. If you're interested in relativity, I believe the following book offers a good introduction:

    McComb - Dynamics and relativity

    I haven't actually read this book, but it is used at many universities for 1st year courses.
    Cheers!
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    Isnt it easier to do Physics and Philosophy as it involves less maths and more writing and theoretical (sp) work.
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    (Original post by ThornsnRoses)
    Isnt it easier to do Physics and Philosophy as it involves less maths and more writing and theoretical (sp) work.
    Depends on the person, but is often said that Physics and Philosophy is really hard. Students have to cover both the core physics and the basic philosophy, which entails a lot of reading, critical thinking and essay writing.

    If you ask me (and most physicists I think), I would say that doing some extra maths is much easier than to do this Physics and Philosophy course. Maths is just a sort of language, which you have to learn to understand. As soon as you know how to do it, extending your maths knowledge becomes less difficult. However, this only comes with a lot of practice!
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    (Original post by way2go)
    Depends on the person, but is often said that Physics and Philosophy is really hard. Students have to cover both the core physics and the basic philosophy, which entails a lot of reading, critical thinking and essay writing.

    If you ask me (and most physicists I think), I would say that doing some extra maths is much easier than to do this Physics and Philosophy course. Maths is just a sort of language, which you have to learn to understand. As soon as you know how to do it, extending your maths knowledge becomes less difficult. However, this only comes with a lot of practice!
    I agree with you - when it clicks you never forget it (wish these stupid trig questions I'm doing would just click!!!).

    I too have heard that doing both Physics and Philosophy is damn hard work as you obviously can't get by in physics without learning the fundamentals and so they can't miss them so they do loads of extra work. I'm not really into philosophy either. I prefer the maths and theoretical physics side (at the moment, altho I know it'll prob change when get to uni!). Was just worried I'd be at a huge disadvantage having not done further maths (didn't stop me getting an offer tho) - will prob attempt to teach myself some of it over the summer!
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    You should speak to elpaw. He's a first year physicist at Christ Church.
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    (Original post by hildabeast)
    You should speak to elpaw. He's a first year physicist at Christ Church.
    Thanks!
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    I got on the Sutton Trust Summer School for Physics at Cambridge and we did some 1st year work, including special realtivity. It's actually not that bad - just a bit confusing to think about if you try to use a normal frame of reference. The lorentz transformations aren't too bad either.
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    That's cool, I know most of that stuff from books, general relativity and curved space it what's getting me at the moment. The joys of tensor analysis!
 
 
 
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