Rather stupid question but, I'm doing a Physics degree , only in my
3rd year (out of 4 or 5 MSc). And was wondering, what do I need to know in order to be able to design circuits that would allow me to build a computer from scratch like the APPLE I. Just like how Steve Wozniak did......
I do not think that college will really prepare you for that, You are now talking about reproducing 35 year old technology. People now say they are building computers from scratch if they go to a store like Fry's and buy a case, a mother board and a few things to plug in. I do not know if there is anyone using wire wrap to actually build circuits on an amateur level.
In the old days, a good introduction to what was needed was amateur radio. There are very few people building their own equipment these days. From what I just heard that EE undergraduates at UCLA no longer learn anything about power including three-phase power.
My suggestion is to attend a few IEEE meetings and talk to practicing engineers there. Maybe look at the publication Nuts and Volts. Do a few projects escribed there.
If you want to switch to EE, an MSEE isn't much harder after a BSc in Physics than after a BSEE; maybe a couple of courses. You really don't need much EE training to build something "like" and APPLE I. The only remarkable thing about the Apple was its marketing.
More than can be gleaned from Usenet. The advice to ask one of the lecturers from the engineering department is not bad advice at all. As a start may i recommend the book "The Art of Electronics" by Horowitz and Hill...i think Ed2 is the latest but i may be wrong. It covers analogue and digital electronics in a very readable and practical manner...and in sufficient depth. What Arch. Lev. says is true also about doing techie stuff. I myself started building stuff at around 12 years old...the cats whixker xtal set (ofcourse),amps and a dual beam tetrode power osc/class c amp transmitter...(highly illegal but fun...aged 15)...tech college 3 years...followed by about 6 years development in med electronics...then back to school (uni)...power engineering...2 masters degrees (elec eng and power eng)...and now work in the power utility industry (as a senior engineer). still learning all the time. It'd be nice if people on this group were not so rude to others who may have different opinions