Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. ~Henry Ford
|Sabine Hossenfelder:||The Present Phase of Stagnation in the Foundations of Physics Is Not Normal|
|P. Stallinga and I. Khmelinskii:||The state of science in 2014|
|П. Сталлинга, И. Хмельницкий:||Cостояние науки в 2014 году|
At the beginning of my research career in Physics I had a habit: every day I spent 20 minutes looking through the articles submitted to the electronic archive the day before.
Since 2013 this became impossible: in 14 years the number of articles submitted to arXiv.org increased by eight times. (It would grow even more but they introduced moderation and some people from non-US Universities complain that their articles are not accepted.)
Physicists became more "productive": they write more articles than before. However, despite this "productivity" boost, Physics is stagnated.
Most of modern scientific articles are pretty useless; in this sence they are similar to cancer cells that grow at the expense of the sane part of the body.
Some professions like Theoretical Physics or Programming can probably be learned without help of a teacher if a student chooses good text books.
Since programming is relatively simple, very often one can
distinguish bad text books from good ones
even before learning the book's content.
The situation with Physics is different: an unlucky student can try to learn from a bad textbook containing invalid proofs and even false statements.
Even if a book is written by a famous scientist about well-established facts, you can not completely trust it. Our quantum mechanics professor (a nice person and truly good scientist) probably wanted to save his time and partially copied his lectures from the well known course of Landau and Lifschitz on Theoretical Physics. Among other things that I had to learn for the exam was the proof of the fact that orbital momentum may only take integer (for bosons) and semi-integer (for fermions) values (measured in units of Planck constant).
I could not understand the proof, wasted time, finally realized that the proof was wrong, and made my own proof, which, however, could not exclude particles with mixed (both integer and semi-integer) values. The professor told me that for a truly rigid proof one has to learn Group Theory which I did not know at that time. Later I met other people complaining about Landau and Lifschitz course, which is not an example of a thorough work despite the fact that the authors are among top physicists of the XXth century.
Below there is a list of my favorite text books. Most of them are available online so no matter how poor you are you can still learn Theoretical Physics if you have time and internet connection.
To be updated, corrected, ordered and formatted...