What is the better method of learning theoretical physics ?

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I can think of two methods to learn new physics.

1 - Try to think about some problem , Say the Ising model , which involves a lot of physics. One can then pick up various techniques & concepts from various textbooks as one tries to solve a problem such as this.

2 - Read a standard textbook on a subject thoroughly. I think that one disadvantage of this is that one is compelled to follow the thoughts of the author. @RonMaimon

asked Mar 21, 2017 in Chat
recategorized Mar 21, 2017

Without thinking about a problem one cannot learn anything. On the other hand, without thorougly reading a textbook on a subject you'll waste a lot of time - rediscovering yourself known things is a very time consuming process. Better learn first what is known about some question of interest - and then find out whether you can contribute something that goes beyond it.

In any case, the two ''methods'' you mention must go hand in hand!

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