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Reccomended books for further reading before Physics MSc? watch

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    Hello,
    I have offers to study MMathsMPhys, which I intend to accept, and wish to read up on physics before the actual course begins.

    A friend reccomended 'In search of Scrodengers Cat' by John Gribbin, which so far is absolutely fantastic, opening my eyes to the world of quantum and improving my logical and reasoning skills beyond the poorly designed A-Level syllabus.

    Any other books which could bring on further appifinies would be greatly appreiciated :p: thanks
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    Schroedinger's Kittens by the same author's awesome too! I just got a book called Quantum, by Jim Al-Khalili, which is really nicely written, if the first chapters aren't a bit basic; but I've learned a lot about the history of Quantum Theory (sounds tedious, but it's actually really, really interesting, and the issues they faced and stuff - for instance, did you know that Plank didn't want to believe in atoms, or quanta (even though he proved their existence!) ?
    Also, I'd recommend books by Feynman like QED, and maybe a few Maths books, like the Schaum's Outlines.
    Which syllabus are you following? I find OCR B really well designed, I must also mention that I'm applying for uni this year too =)

    Also, it's an MSci, not an MSc (An MSc is what you do after a BSc )
    Where have you got offers from?

    Oh, and if you only buy one book, I'd say something like QED by Feynman is a really good start =)
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    A New Quantum Universe is a very well written book.
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    (Original post by joelio36)
    Hello,
    I have offers to study MMathsMPhys, which I intend to accept, and wish to read up on physics before the actual course begins.

    A friend reccomended 'In search of Scrodengers Cat' by John Gribbin, which so far is absolutely fantastic, opening my eyes to the world of quantum and improving my logical and reasoning skills beyond the poorly designed A-Level syllabus.

    Any other books which could bring on further appifinies would be greatly appreiciated :p: thanks
    First off, it's Schrodinger's :p: (to be even more pedantic, there's two dots above the o...but anyway...)

    'Popular' science books won't be of much use in terms of preparation or anything usually. If you want to read them, by all means do, but don't expect them to be useful in terms of the physics course.

    If I were you, I'd make sure your maths is strong when you start, it'll make the transition to university level physics so much easier. Also if you're doing an MMathPhys, my guess is you're applying for a joint maths and physics, which is even more reason to don't let your maths go cold.

    Also, on the off chance you're applying to Manchester (as I know their joint course is an MMathPhys and I can't think of any others who give their joint course that title), the physics textbook you'll be expected to get for first year is Young and Freedman's 'University Physics with Modern Physics' - bear in mind the book is about £50, but has all the physics in that you'll need for your first year, with lots of examples and questions.

    (If I'm right about your applying to Manchester, make sure you get a copy that comes with 'MasteringPhysics' as you'll need that in your first semester - but it won't be any use to you until you actually start the course, as you'll need the course code)
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    (Original post by QuantumTheory)
    Schroedinger's Kittens by the same author's awesome too! I just got a book called Quantum, by Jim Al-Khalili, which is really nicely written, if the first chapters aren't a bit basic; but I've learned a lot about the history of Quantum Theory (sounds tedious, but it's actually really, really interesting, and the issues they faced and stuff - for instance, did you know that Plank didn't want to believe in atoms, or quanta (even though he proved their existence!) ?
    Also, I'd recommend books by Feynman like QED, and maybe a few Maths books, like the Schaum's Outlines.
    Which syllabus are you following? I find OCR B really well designed, I must also mention that I'm applying for uni this year too =)

    Also, it's an MSci, not an MSc (An MSc is what you do after a BSc )
    Where have you got offers from?

    Oh, and if you only buy one book, I'd say something like QED by Feynman is a really good start =)
    Ok Thanks, I've heard other reccomendations about Feynman aswel. I thought MSc and MSci means the same thing! Could you elaborate please, hope I'm not on the wrong course...
    Erm I've got offers from York and Warwick so far :Yay:
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    Do you want popular science like Sch cat? Or would you like some textybooky stuff?
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    (Original post by joelio36)
    Ok Thanks, I've heard other reccomendations about Feynman aswel. I thought MSc and MSci means the same thing! Could you elaborate please, hope I'm not on the wrong course...
    Erm I've got offers from York and Warwick so far :Yay:
    An MSc is a one year postgraduate master's degree, that you start after obtaining a Bachelors. It can either be a taught masters or a research-based course.

    An MSci is a four year undergraduate degree, that leads to a masters qualification, and gets a grade like 1st, 2:1, etc. like a BSc. The fourth year of an MSci (otherwise known as an MPhys in some universities (or MChem for Chemistry/MMath for Maths)) involves lecture courses, exams and a project of some sort, the specifics of that depend on your university though. You can do a PhD after getting an MSci, but to do a PhD after a BSc, you normally need an MSc as well.
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    gav hi remember me?

    just wondering whether you did further maths for alevel cos i have applied to do the same course as you have (phy with theo) and i dont want to be put back because of my lack of maths
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    (Original post by equinox3o0o)
    gav hi remember me?

    just wondering whether you did further maths for alevel cos i have applied to do the same course as you have (phy with theo) and i dont want to be put back because of my lack of maths
    Hmm I don't think I do remember you, sorry :p: care to jog my memory?

    Yeah I did FM. It did make life easier with the first maths course we did, which was basically the main bits of FP1, 2 and 3. People do fine without it though so I wouldn't worry too much.
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    oohh crud i hope i dont find the level of maths too overwhelming i could buy some fp1-3 books and study em over the summer hols but id need a lot of motivation to stop me from going out and enjoying the sunshine!!

    gav i sent you a few msg's regarding manchester uni and physics etc
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    I would recommend reading Engineering Mathematics/Advanced Engineering Mathematics by Stroud and then something like "div, grad, curl and all that". Popular science books are aimed at the interested layman and contain hardly any maths, completely different to a degree in physics.

    You can't go far wrong with University Physics by Young and Freedman either, my name is on the 1st year honours board at Manchester because of that book.
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    (Original post by div curl F = 0)
    I would recommend reading Engineering Mathematics/Advanced Engineering Mathematics by Stroud and then something like "div, grad, curl and all that". Popular science books are aimed at the interested layman and contain hardly any maths, completely different to a degree in physics.

    You can't go far wrong with University Physics by Young and Freedman either, my name is on the 1st year honours board at Manchester because of that book.
    It is? For coming top of the year or something I take it?
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    (Original post by div curl F = 0)
    I would recommend reading Engineering Mathematics/Advanced Engineering Mathematics by Stroud and then something like "div, grad, curl and all that". Popular science books are aimed at the interested layman and contain hardly any maths, completely different to a degree in physics.

    You can't go far wrong with University Physics by Young and Freedman either, my name is on the 1st year honours board at Manchester because of that book.
    Would you reccomend reading University Level texts before the course starts? I was under the impression that to understand university level maths/physics is a full-time endavour that needs tutors and lectures; wouldnt reading the texts independent just serve to scare me?

    Surely the layman's books are a still a good source of info, being able to understand concepts due to very clear analogies must do more than seeing a mass of calculus I'm not yet equipped to fully understand?

    Sorry if I seem set in my ways, but do you really think University Texts would be appropiate?

    Thanks
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    (Original post by -G-a-v-)
    It is? For coming top of the year or something I take it?

    Yep, as you come into the Schuster there are black boards on the left and right walls and mine is up there on one of them for getting good marks back in the 1st year.



    (Original post by joelio36)
    Would you reccomend reading University Level texts before the course starts? I was under the impression that to understand university level maths/physics is a full-time endavour that needs tutors and lectures; wouldnt reading the texts independent just serve to scare me?

    Surely the layman's books are a still a good source of info, being able to understand concepts due to very clear analogies must do more than seeing a mass of calculus I'm not yet equipped to fully understand?

    Sorry if I seem set in my ways, but do you really think University Texts would be appropiate?

    Thanks
    Well the likes of University Physics is a good transition from A level to University level. It basically teaches you what you already know from A level but on a more sound footing and with a more advanced approach, but not that advanced that it'll lose you along the way. Tutors and Lectures are good sources of information but I've always found that things click into place in my own time, and the more often your exposed to new ideas the better you become at them so looking at things you'll learn a couple of years down the line is a good thing even if you don't fully understand them the first time you see them. Its good to see a new topic more than 12 weeks before the exam on that topic in my opinion, especially when the exam could be a significant proportion of your final degree mark. I read the above mentioned books before I went to University along with Vector Analysis by Schuam and Electromagnetism (Manchester physics series) and I don't think it did me any harm, if anything it made me better prepared for those areas so I could spend a bit more time on the things I hadn't seen before in the courses/lectures/tutorial sheets.

    Laymans books are good at getting the general point across but they don't teach you where the points come from in a fundamental way; its easy to read about the pauli exclusion principle (or equivalent) but there isn't one layman's type book in the land that shows you actually where this comes from. Its good to understand analogies and concepts in terms of physics but unless you can apply them (i.e. using maths and seeing examples of how to use such concepts) then in terms of solving a physics problem they don't helpt too much; I can say that Newtons 2nd law is Force = rate of change of momentum, and many people know this, but out of those people, how many know how to calculate the acceleration of a block sliding down a rough incline? And this is the sort of questions/problems that are in the first few chapters of University Physics, nothing more than the M1/M2 course you may have taken in a Maths A level.

    Bottom line: I wouldn't fear any book, nobody understands all areas of physics straightaway and most of the time it can seem overwhelming but it helps to be exposed to things again and again and then eventually the ideas will stick and your minimizing how overwhelming it can be given deadlines like exams and coursework.
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    guys how is the assessment process at unis like how many exams are there a year and how much do they count towards the total mark each year, i tried checkin on the uni websites but its too confusing
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    (Original post by equinox3o0o)
    guys how is the assessment process at unis like how many exams are there a year and how much do they count towards the total mark each year, i tried checkin on the uni websites but its too confusing

    Well during my undergrad time at Manchester, the marks for each year were weighted:

    1st year - 2.5% of total mark
    2nd year - 12.5% of total mark
    3rd year - 35% of total mark
    4th year - 50% of total mark


    So if you got 100% in the first year, that would only contribute to 2.5% of the overall degree mark.

    At Manc you take 60 credits per semester and each course is usually 10 credits, so you usually have 5 exams at the end of each semester and the other 10 credits are made up with your lab work. Thing like MPhys projects are usually 20 credits.

    My MPhys project actually accounted for 25% of the marks for my degree because it is worth half of the 4th year.
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    oo i see thanx div curl so ill probably have 12 exams a year cos im doing phy with theor which involves no lab work i think wow thats a lot of work
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    (Original post by equinox3o0o)
    oo i see thanx div curl so ill probably have 12 exams a year cos im doing phy with theor which involves no lab work i think wow thats a lot of work
    If you're coming to Manchester to do phys/theory you'll do lab in the first half of each year.
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    (Original post by div curl F = 0)
    Well the likes of University Physics is a good transition from A level to University level. It basically teaches you what you already know from A level but on a more sound footing and with a more advanced approach, but not that advanced that it'll lose you along the way. Tutors and Lectures are good sources of information but I've always found that things click into place in my own time, and the more often your exposed to new ideas the better you become at them so looking at things you'll learn a couple of years down the line is a good thing even if you don't fully understand them the first time you see them. Its good to see a new topic more than 12 weeks before the exam on that topic in my opinion, especially when the exam could be a significant proportion of your final degree mark. I read the above mentioned books before I went to University along with Vector Analysis by Schuam and Electromagnetism (Manchester physics series) and I don't think it did me any harm, if anything it made me better prepared for those areas so I could spend a bit more time on the things I hadn't seen before in the courses/lectures/tutorial sheets.

    Laymans books are good at getting the general point across but they don't teach you where the points come from in a fundamental way; its easy to read about the pauli exclusion principle (or equivalent) but there isn't one layman's type book in the land that shows you actually where this comes from. Its good to understand analogies and concepts in terms of physics but unless you can apply them (i.e. using maths and seeing examples of how to use such concepts) then in terms of solving a physics problem they don't helpt too much; I can say that Newtons 2nd law is Force = rate of change of momentum, and many people know this, but out of those people, how many know how to calculate the acceleration of a block sliding down a rough incline? And this is the sort of questions/problems that are in the first few chapters of University Physics, nothing more than the M1/M2 course you may have taken in a Maths A level.

    Bottom line: I wouldn't fear any book, nobody understands all areas of physics straightaway and most of the time it can seem overwhelming but it helps to be exposed to things again and again and then eventually the ideas will stick and your minimizing how overwhelming it can be given deadlines like exams and coursework.
    Ah right ok, sounds useful then. Thanks for all the help, but just as a final note, could you please list a few reccommended University Texts, in the order of priority?

    I will probably buy one at first and see how it goes, those things are bloody expensive! (It takes commitment to buy a £50 university text instead of the new Call of Duty :p:)
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    (Original post by joelio36)
    Ah right ok, sounds useful then. Thanks for all the help, but just as a final note, could you please list a few reccommended University Texts, in the order of priority?

    I will probably buy one at first and see how it goes, those things are bloody expensive! (It takes commitment to buy a £50 university text instead of the new Call of Duty :p:)
    Agree on the last part, Banjo-Kazooie 3 just pipped a new string theory book for me this week, lol.

    University Physics (Young and Freedman) is generally the 1st year bible in most undergraduate courses, so I'd say that should be near the top of the list. Its got 30 - 40 chapters on all different areas of physics from Newtonian/A level mechanics to special relativity, electromagnetism and quantum theory. But try and get a second hand copy off ebay etc because its about £50 in most book shops.

    There are a series of books under the title "Demystified", these are usually cheap (around £10) and sort of get straight to the point rather than talking about history and what not. Whether these books would be helpful for you I'm not too sure; I pick them up to refresh myself on a particular area that I have previously learned like complex variables, relativity etc.
 
 
 
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