10 votes

What is a great book to learn high-school level physics?

That's a requirement for a test I'm going to take. I tend to learn better with well designed, reasonably comprehensive books that don't treat me like a dumbass (not as a genius either!).

Please notice that I'm not asking for websites, interactive platforms, videos, or whatever, but about books, preferably ones that I can study on my Kindle (so PDFs are not ideal). I know all the major websites but I just can't follow them.

I can pay very small amounts but I'm pretty much unemployed in a third world country so free is always better.

If there are requirements to understand such books, kindly inform!

I finished school more than 20 years ago and I was not a good student. But I'm kind of a decent learner now that I have a diagnostics (ADHD).

Thanks a bunch!

EDIT: guys, I am actually a beginner in the sense that I literally know little to nothing about the subject! I'm also not a math wizard. Advanced suggestions are appreciated but also entirely useless. This is also for a test, so, beyond a very brief introduction, general understandings on the Neil DeGrasse Tyson level is also of little use for me. I don't need to understand the beauty of the cosmos, I need to pass a test. Thanks!

19 comments

  1. kfwyre
    Link
    Can't vouch for the physics ones specifically, but I really like Schaum's Outlines for study in general. They're accessible, clear, and comprehensive.

    Can't vouch for the physics ones specifically, but I really like Schaum's Outlines for study in general. They're accessible, clear, and comprehensive.

    5 votes
  2. [4]
    Adys
    Link
    Not a book, but a starting point (and it's free) Minute Physics YouTube channel Veritasium YouTube channel Sixty Symbols is also great but it's mostly astrophysics.

    Not a book, but a starting point (and it's free)

    Sixty Symbols is also great but it's mostly astrophysics.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Thank you very much. The last one seems to be a bit above my needs. Learning by video is very hard for me for a number of reasons (one of the main ones: gadgets are way too distracting for someone...

      Thank you very much.

      The last one seems to be a bit above my needs. Learning by video is very hard for me for a number of reasons (one of the main ones: gadgets are way too distracting for someone with ADHD), but I will check those out, thanks.

      1. Adys
        Link Parent
        Could you elaborate on the distracting aspect? A lot of these videos FWIW can be listened to rather than watched (though watching helps with visual aid)

        Could you elaborate on the distracting aspect? A lot of these videos FWIW can be listened to rather than watched (though watching helps with visual aid)

    2. vektor
      Link Parent
      There is also a crash course on it. It might be more comprehensive and more aligned with a (US) syllabus than the other channels you posted. Link

      There is also a crash course on it. It might be more comprehensive and more aligned with a (US) syllabus than the other channels you posted. Link

  3. [3]
    entangledamplitude
    Link
    There are tons of classic textbooks: Resnick & Halliday, Sears & Zemansky, Nelkon & Parker, etc. I grew up in India, and I found the physics & math textbooks by the NCERT to be also very good...

    There are tons of classic textbooks: Resnick & Halliday, Sears & Zemansky, Nelkon & Parker, etc.

    I grew up in India, and I found the physics & math textbooks by the NCERT to be also very good quality (no fuss, value for money, etc) in comparison to the above. They provide official free PDFs on their website if you are so inclined; JGI or poke me.

    I would also highly recommend Leonard Susskind’s “Theoretical Minimum” which is based on an evening course taught by the professor at Stanford as part of a “continuing education” series.

    4 votes
    1. modelock
      Link Parent
      Resnick & Halliday is great. My first year physics textbook was not for me [Physics for Scientists and Engineers, Knight]. I thought it was too wordy. I found an old beat up copy of Fundamentals...

      Resnick & Halliday is great.

      My first year physics textbook was not for me [Physics for Scientists and Engineers, Knight]. I thought it was too wordy. I found an old beat up copy of Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker, and only looked at Knight for the problems. FWIW, my field is physics.

      3 votes
    2. psi
      Link Parent
      To add on to this, basically all intro physics textbooks are the same, and there won't be any notable differences between editions. The only real exception to this rule are the Feynman Lectures,...

      To add on to this, basically all intro physics textbooks are the same, and there won't be any notable differences between editions. The only real exception to this rule are the Feynman Lectures, which are a cut above the rest, but those lectures are better appreciated by someone who already knows the material, not someone learning it for the first time.

      @mrbig, I'm not sure what "high school physics" entails for you, but assuming it's something like first year college physics, any old physics textbook will do. Just buy whatever you can find used (preferably a book with some solutions in an appendix). My only real advise is to make sure you work the problems – that's the only way to actually learn the subject.

      3 votes
  4. [2]
    CALICO
    (edited )
    Link
    I think I might have some resources on my external; stand-by for say, 6.5 hours, until I'm out of work and can check. @mrbig edit: So most of what I have for physics is more advanced stuff, but I...

    I think I might have some resources on my external; stand-by for say, 6.5 hours, until I'm out of work and can check.


    @mrbig
    edit: So most of what I have for physics is more advanced stuff, but I do have an open-source textbook called Light and Matter by Benjamin Crowell. Here is his site, which hosts this and other books for download. However while the copy on the site is around 80MB in one volume, my copy is about 11MB in six. (.7z archive) Unfortunately it is PDF format, and I know how much that can suck on a Kindle. I tried converting to EPUB and MOBI, but the formatting got all fucked up and the end results were useless.

    It's been about a decade since I've read this book, but I remember it being pretty solid. Per the description on the site, it's "...an introductory text intended for a one-year introductory course of the type typically taken by biology majors, or for AP Physics 1 and 2. Algebra and trig are used, and there are optional calculus-based sections."

    2 votes
  5. PetitPrince
    Link
    Giancoli Physics was my 1st year physics textbook and it covers most if not all my high school curricula (and probably a bit beyond, but not too much). It's popular enough that its exercise...

    Giancoli Physics was my 1st year physics textbook and it covers most if not all my high school curricula (and probably a bit beyond, but not too much). It's popular enough that its exercise solutions are all over Youtube; you can probably find a 2nd hand version fairly easily .

    1 vote
  6. krg
    Link
    Do you know the types of questions that will be asked and how exhaustive they’ll be? While it’s nice to have a deep understanding of physics and math and how everything intertwines and relates to...

    Do you know the types of questions that will be asked and how exhaustive they’ll be? While it’s nice to have a deep understanding of physics and math and how everything intertwines and relates to each other, sometimes all you need to know is simple algebra and how to solve for F=ma. Especially if you’re just trying to pass a test.

    1 vote
  7. [3]
    Akir
    Link
    This may seem kind of dumb, but I would recommend going to your local library - bonus points if it's a school library - and reading an actual high-school level physics textbook. An adult brain is...

    This may seem kind of dumb, but I would recommend going to your local library - bonus points if it's a school library - and reading an actual high-school level physics textbook.

    An adult brain is generally much better at learning from books than an adolescent brain. When I was a kid, I could only learn from being in a lecture, but as an adult I'm in books for everything.

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      mrbig
      Link Parent
      I’m in Brazil. “Local library” is not a thing.

      This may seem kind of dumb, but I would recommend going to your local library

      I’m in Brazil. “Local library” is not a thing.

      2 votes
      1. cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        That makes me incredibly sad to hear. :( The local libraries here in Canada have been some of my absolute favorite places to spend time over the years, and the online support for them has even...

        That makes me incredibly sad to hear. :( The local libraries here in Canada have been some of my absolute favorite places to spend time over the years, and the online support for them has even been growing rapidly too. E.g. Mine now supports yourcloudlibrary, hoopla and libby/overdrive, where I can browse all the ebooks, audiobooks, comic books, music and even movies/tv shows available in my region, "borrow" them, and then download them in various file formats which I can throw on my kindle or iPad.

        p.s. If you're looking for a good place to find ebooks and don't mind pirating, Library Genesis is the best site I have found for that, and at quick glance even seems to have the textbooks mentioned by others above:
        Fundamentals of Physics
        Advanced Physics
        University Physics
        Theoretical Minimum

        3 votes
  8. krg
    Link
    OH! Check out the OpenStax High-school Physics book! It's completely free, and they also have other levels of physics (and other subjects), if that's what you need.

    OH! Check out the OpenStax High-school Physics book! It's completely free, and they also have other levels of physics (and other subjects), if that's what you need.

    1 vote
  9. [3]
    georgebcrawford
    (edited )
    Link
    How much would a physics ePub cost? @mrbig I haven’t quite figured if Tildes does private messages!

    How much would a physics ePub cost?

    @mrbig I haven’t quite figured if Tildes does private messages!

    1. [2]
      Durallet
      Link Parent
      You can send private messages by going to an user's profile and clicking the button in the sidebar.

      You can send private messages by going to an user's profile and clicking the button in the sidebar.

      2 votes