Let me begin by saying English is not my fist language (i.e. I did not learn maths in English) and I'm not familiar with the US/UK school system. So if what I ask is blatantly obvious that might be the reason.

I'm nearly 30 and did not do a lot of maths in school. (Trigonometry is the most advanced subject I had a good grasp on although I have not used it for a while.) Recently I have found my maths skill lacking and I have decided to change that.

While there are numerous resources on-line for learning like (Khan Academy, MIT course ware, and sites like Udemy) I have not been able to find a course that fits my needs. A lot of these courses are either aimed at children, students (prep for GRE, SAT etc. I have no clue what that means), or they are above my current skill level. I am looking for English material because there is not a lot to be found in my native tongue.

What I am looking for is a way to learn from scratch but in a way that is aimed at adults (for example I don't need a 15 minute video lecture about negative numbers like the one on Khan Academy).

The resource can be a book or on-line video's. It does not have to be free, although that would be a bonus. I would even consider a correspondence course or on-line study with credit as long as it does not require in person attendance.

If this is not possible a list of subjects might also be of use to me. If I know which topic to start with and how to progress I am sure I can find plenty of material on-line. For example do I start with calculus or linear algebra first. I don't know the order in which this is taught.

My goal is to be able to understand the calculations for bachelor level physics. Mainly Newtonian and Einsteinian physics. This is purely out of interest I don't necessarily want a degree or certificate.

Any help is much appreciated.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I have a series of (free) videos on YouTube that may or may not help. Not much precalculus right now, but a more or less "complete" intro trig series, with a "complete" calc 1 and some calc 2. $\endgroup$ – tilper Jul 28 '16 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ @tilper Having a familiar subject explained in English might be a good way to get familiar with the jargon. I'll have a look. $\endgroup$ – Arnold Wiersma Jul 29 '16 at 9:03

For first year physics you'll need precalculus and calculus. Your background suggests that you won't have to start further back than that. Googling

free online precalculus textbook

finds many references - you can probably find one that matches your level and learning style. Then on to calculus.

Another attack which may suit: get a (free online) beginning physics text and start reading it. When you find mathematics you don't know, work backwards to learn it. That should fill in all the holes pretty quickly.

For upper level bachelor's physics you'll need linear algebra, vector calculus and differential equations. Time enough for those when you get there.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, knowing where to start makes all the difference. $\endgroup$ – Arnold Wiersma Jul 29 '16 at 9:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.