"The Feynman Lectures on Physics" are arguable the best physics textbook till date, yet some would agree that one must not start his/her journey in Physics using this textbook. Although the text book neatly,clearly and concisely guides the student to develop an intuitive understanding of Physics, I think it is essential that he/she be acquainted with many of the concepts (like Vectors, Gravitation, Atomic theory etc.) before he embarks on this amazing journey through the world of Physics with Feynman.
Four years after graduating (Bachelors in Electronics Engineering), I finally started reading these lectures. The intention was to complete my understanding of Physics - fill in the gaps in my knowledge - which would help me become a better engineer! I recommend reading these to that anyone who has even a slight inclination towards science (and has studied science at school).
Lemme decribe the education I have received so far and how I think it might have helped me to be capable to comprehend the lectures:
I have studied under the Central Board of Secondary Education in Mumbai, India. A rough outline of my schooling is as follows:
- Nursery (I was 2½ yrs old when I started this)
- Kindergarten: Junior K.G. and Senior K.G. (2 years, thru ages: 3½ to 5½) School: Rajhans Balvatika
- Primary School: Standards I,II,III,IV a.k.a. Grades 1,2,3,4 (4 years, thru ages: 5½ to 9½) CBSE School: Rajhans Vidyalaya
- Secondary School: Standards V,VI,VII,VIII,IX,X a.k.a. Grades 5,6,7,8,9,10 (6 years, thru ages: 9½ to 15½) CBSE School: Rajhans Vidyalaya
- Senior Secondary School/Intermediate/Junior College: Standards XI,XII a.k.a. Grades 11,12 (2 years, thru ages: 15½ to 17½) CBSE School: Rajhans Vidyalaya
- Undergraduate: Bachelor of Electronics Engineering (4 years : 2002 to 2006, thru ages: 17½ to 21½) College: VESIT
- Job: (4 years, thru ages: 21½ to 25½) 1½ years at L & T EmSyS followed by 2½ at LARE
- ....Started reading Feynman Lectures at age 25½ in 2010
By 2004, I had been through a complete iteration of studying fundamental concepts in physics and chemistry. Like most Indian students who have opted for science after completing secondary school, I studied these concepts during the 2 years in Standards XI and XII (Grades 11 and 12). These two years require intense studying since the students usually have to prepare for the enterance examinations. Getting good percentile rank is the only way to gain admission to prestigious institutes (like IIT) for undergraduate studies. So I got most of my concepts during those 2 years (mostly from Resnick and Halliday). The first year of undergraduate studies also involved advanced Physics, Chemistry and Maths which involved the studying a few more concepts. During the 2nd year of undergraduate studies (ie 2004) - me and my friend Deepan Gandhi got interested in studying Einstein's theory of Special Relativity. This wasn't a part of our undergraduate course and so Professor Atul Mody who is a Physics professor at the adjoining VESCASC. Owing to a lot of distractions (Robotics contests, flunking subjects, studying for HAM Radio License), I could never really hold on to the concepts and within a month or two, the whole thing had evaporated. So another motivation behind reading the lectures was to have another go at trying to understand relativity. We studied the Maxwells equations during 4th year of undergraduate study - had a tough time then. Again - that was another thing I wanted to have a shot at.
So after graduating and working for 4 years, I finally decided to make time for studying the Lectures.
Even though the Lectures are divided into short easy to read chapters, they still require 1-2 hours each to read and understand fully.
I started reading these lectures in September 2010 and found myself searching for/stumbling upon related resources which were available online.
I decided to collect links to all these interesting resources and sorted then according to the chapters in which those corresponding concepts were referred to.