Introduction to physics courses provide a base for understanding principles of physics and other sciences. Many scientific disciplines depend on the study of motion, internal energy, statistical mechanics, and the scientific method. If you look at fields of physics like geology, architecture, medical science, sensory phenomena, and chemistry, they all have a classical mechanics base.
To learn physics for beginners, there are many intro to physics courses available. You can learn fundamental science and foundational principles like the law of motion, the structure of matter, and fundamental forces without needing to take classes in complex phenomena. The best physics courses for beginners will help you to apply the basics of physics to everyday life.
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What is Physics?
The field of physics is a branch of physical science that deals with physical concepts, specifically matter in relation to energy. Since matter is anything that has mass and volume, the study of contemporary physics involves understanding physical and natural phenomena around us. It assumes that the universe functions under certain physical laws called the laws of physics.
For example, modern physics aims to understand and explain basic principles and physical phenomena such as the motion of objects, electric charge, laws of nature, and laws of energy, The subject is divided into six branches, including mechanical, geometrical optics, electricity and magnetism, atomic/molecular physics, and waves and thermodynamics.
How to Learn Physics for Beginners
- Online courses. There are plenty of open course options online to help you understand basic physics. Most tech universities will have an introduction to physics course. MIT, for example, has a free online course on its website.
- Videos. If you can’t afford or don’t want to pay for a live course, search fo video lectures on university websites like Princeton, MIT, Harvard, Oxford, and Berkeley. You can find videos on a wide range of topics, including mathematical physics, experimental physics, atomic physics, and laws of motion.
- Books. Popular books on physics include The Character of Physical Law by Richard Feynman, The Particle Odyssey by Frank Close, and Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics by Bruce Schumm.
- App. With an app called Ideal Physics, you can learn all about the major areas of physics from theoretical physics, quantum physics, Aristotelian physics, and classical mechanics, and practice and solve problems.
- Study grade school physics. If you have been out of grade school for a while, that’s the best place to start theoretical physics. Go back to those grade school physics books and start there. You will relearn topics in the realm of physics, including wave motion, uniform motion, matter physics, application of mathematics in physics, and angular velocity.
- University degree. You can pursue an Associate of Science in Physics or Bachelor of Science in Physics where you will explore different applications of mathematics, physics, and natural sciences. You will also understand how classical physics has evolved from ancient times and its contribution to various advances in science.
Best Physics Courses for Beginners
|Preparing for the AP Physics 1 Exam||edX||Free||34 weeks|
|How Things Work: An Introduction to Physics||Coursera||Free||8 weeks|
|Mechanics: Motion, Forces, Energy, and Gravity||Coursera||Free||8 weeks|
|Astronomy: Exploring Time and Space||Coursera||Free||11 weeks|
|From the Big Bang to Dark Energy||Coursera||Free||31 hours|
|Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity||Coursera||Free||8 weeks|
|Physics – Kinematics for High School and AP Physics 1||Udemy||$19.99||5 hours|
|Intro to Physics with Interactive Problems||Udemy||$19.99||3 hours 21 minutes|
|Physics 1||Udemy||$34.99||5 hours|
The Best Intro to Physics Courses: Explained
There is a rise in affordable online education on almost every subject under the sun. There is a wide range of free and paid physics courses that you can take even if you have no background in basic science. Because of the complexity of the subject, choose a course that suits your level of knowledge and take your time.
Preparing for the AP Physics 1 Exam | edX
As you can tell from the course’s name, it is designed for high school students preparing for their AP physics exams. Boston University offers the course in conjunction with edX. It is a great beginner’s course, even if you are not in high school. Features of the course include video lectures on theoretical physics, discussion forums, and lab experiments.
Physics | Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a powerhouse of online education and its introductory physics course is no exception. You get to learn at your own pace and do short quizzes along the way to check your understanding of the topics. It is a great resource and absolutely free of charge. Students learn concepts of velocity and time, application of dynamics, and concepts of momentum.
How Things Work: An Introduction to Physics | Coursera
This University Of Virginia course is offered in the format of video lectures through Coursera. Students learn a physics concept weekly using real-world examples. Topics include accelerated motion, angular momentum and velocity, and optical physics. There are also weekly practice exercises to ensure your understanding and a final exam to complete the course.
Mechanics: Motion, Forces, Energy, and Gravity | Coursera
This Coursera course uses video tutorials, clips of key experiments, animations, and solved example problems to explain the fundamental theory of mechanics. It is an on-demand course recommended for anyone who wants to dip their feet in physics for the first time. You will explore constant speed, the action of forces, and atomic nuclear physics.
Astronomy: Exploring Time and Space | Coursera
This University of Arizona course explores innovative astronomy and time. The course begins with an introductory physics lecture, making it one of the best beginner courses online. It has incredible tutors and a flexible schedule that allows students to learn at their own pace. The course covers physics as a phenomenon in nature in terms of cosmology, celestial bodies, galaxies, exoplanets, and life in the universe.
From the Big Bang to Dark Energy | Coursera
If you want to learn about how the universe was formed, where it’s going, and dark matter, this course is for you. It is a 14-hour course offered by The University of Tokyo through Coursera and taught by Hitoshi Murayama. The course is offered in English. You have access to nine practical exercises that touch on fundamental science concepts, conservation laws, and central theories.
Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory Of Relativity | Coursera
This eight-week course seeks to understand Einstein and his complete theory of relativity in detail. You will learn about the natural philosophy of relativity, how Einstein came up with that theory, and what is so special about it. The instructor is Dr. Larry Lagerstrom, the Director of Academic Programs at Stanford University Center for Professional Development.
Physics – Kinematics for High School and AP Physics 1 | Udemy
This beginner-friendly course comes with lifetime access to video lectures, demonstrations, and practical examples. It has separate sections for high school and AP level physics, and the videos are clearly labeled. You will learn about different fields of physics such as accelerator physics, velocity, absolute time, mathematical methods, and distance versus displacement.
Intro to Physics with Interactive Problems | Udemy
Udemy designs this course for students pursuing upper-level physics. You will explore basic physics fundamentals, including electricity and magnetism, heat and thermodynamics, optics, atomic physics, and advanced physics concepts. The course features 11 lectures facilitated by an interactive lecturer with over 15 years of experience in physics and mathematical methods.
Physics 1 | Udemy
Physics 1 is an intro to physics course for high school and first-year college students. This course is math-heavy and utilizes analytical methods. You have to take an algebra of trigonometry prerequisite before the start of this course. The course has over 30 lessons in an easily digestible format.
Is Learning Physics Worth It?
Yes, learning physics is worth it. Physics helps you understand the world and challenge your imagination. It is a vast body of knowledge and has been the foundation for life-changing inventions and technologies. Understanding basic laws of physics like gravitational field theory, the speed of light, and constituents of matter will help you understand the world around you.
Introduction to Physics FAQ
Yes, you can learn physics by yourself, but it’s not realistic if you don’t have a background in the subject. Physics is a broad subject with several disciplines, theories, and mathematical approaches, making it somewhat complicated. Reading a book on physics can help, but you are better off doing free online courses instead.
Yes, calculus makes physics easier. While you don’t need calculus to understand physics, doing calculus first will make certain aspects of physics so much easier to grasp. Physics involves a lot of math and problem solving, and calculus helps you have a better intuition for such formulas.
Yes, you should take a physics class. People who have studied theoretical and computational physics say it helped them develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
The best way to learn physics is through an introductory course, either online or in person. Besides finding a great beginner-friendly course, you should start by mastering the basic concepts and formulae. The best way to learn physics is to practice a concept until you get it. Look for courses with short video tutorials, good lecturers, and practice exercises. Online courses are a great place to start.
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