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Thread: Where do I begin?

  1. #1 Where do I begin? 
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    Hi everyone,

    I'm at the beginning of my sophomore year of college, and after years of not knowing what I wanted to do, I now know that I NEED to become an astrophysicist. I love music, and initially wanted to be in the business, until I realized that to be "successful" I would have to encourage talented musician's to sell their souls. While drifting between possible majors, I watched Cosmos and I just knew this was my future. (I'm sure you guys hear this all the time). I used to hate math, but now I see it in a new light and I LOVE it. I got an A- in high school calculus, but I am incredibly rusty. I'm going to have to do some major catch up considering I don't have any classes related to astrophysics or math 3 semesters into college. Do you guys have any recommendations for good books? I want to really nail calculus and brush up on my algebra and geometry before I take some physics courses next semester. Any other literary recommendations related to astrophysics?

    And also, I'm currently at NYU, but I really hate the student body and I'm looking to transfer. Do you know anything about the reputation of the astrophysics departments at University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, or McGill? Have any other recommendations?

    (mods if this is the wrong section for this, please move it)
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  2. #2  
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    Brian May the lead guitarist for Queen is doctorate in astrophysics.
    Brian May - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  3. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by astronomerJ View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I'm at the beginning of my sophomore year of college, and after years of not knowing what I wanted to do, I now know that I NEED to become an astrophysicist. I love music, and initially wanted to be in the business, until I realized that to be "successful" I would have to encourage talented musician's to sell their souls. While drifting between possible majors, I watched Cosmos and I just knew this was my future. (I'm sure you guys hear this all the time). I used to hate math, but now I see it in a new light and I LOVE it. I got an A- in high school calculus, but I am incredibly rusty. I'm going to have to do some major catch up considering I don't have any classes related to astrophysics or math 3 semesters into college. Do you guys have any recommendations for good books? I want to really nail calculus and brush up on my algebra and geometry before I take some physics courses next semester. Any other literary recommendations related to astrophysics?

    And also, I'm currently at NYU, but I really hate the student body and I'm looking to transfer. Do you know anything about the reputation of the astrophysics departments at University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, or McGill? Have any other recommendations?

    (mods if this is the wrong section for this, please move it)
    If you want to transfer try Princeton or MIT. Although they are notoriously hard to get into.

    As for textbooks I'd have to say Astrophysics in a Nutshell. I just bought it and love it. You can even download it online at Astrophysics in a Nutshell (aka Basic Astrophysics) | Maoz, Dan | digital library BookOS
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  4. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by astronomerJ View Post
    And also, I'm currently at NYU, but I really hate the student body and I'm looking to transfer. Do you know anything about the reputation of the astrophysics departments at University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, or McGill? Have any other recommendations?
    FWIW, here's a ranking of schools with programs in physics and astronomy (the rankings apparently are for the combination of those two disciplines): Top 100 universities in the world for physics & astronomy 2011 | Higher Education Network | Guardian Professional

    NYU is ranked below UBC, Toronto and McGill on that list, so if you're limiting yourself to those three Canadian schools, you'd be upgrading (again, according to that ranking). At the risk of offending my friends at the other schools, I have a preference for UBC; Vancouver is beautiful.
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