Physics for Scientists and Engineers, Volume 1

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Saunders College Pub., 2000 - Science - 1551 pages
2 Reviews
Available in single hardcover volumes, 2-volume hardcover sets, and 4- or 5-volume softcover sets as listed below. This bestselling calculus-based introductory physics text for science and engineering students is recognized throughout the world for its clear and logical presentation of the basic concepts and principles of physics. The carefully crafted revision introduces coauthor Robert Beichner and contributing author John W. Jewett, Jr., who bring to the new edition their experience and talent in the area of physics education. The historically strong problem-solving approach has been further enhanced through increased realism in the worked examples and through additional guidance to students in building a systematic, step-by-step approach to solving homework problems. An updated ancillary package including full multimedia support, on-line homework plus a content-rich Web site for instructors and students complements this unsurpassed textbook and is more fully integrated with the text than ever before.

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This was my textbook for three physics courses, which covered classical mechanics, thermodynamics, waves, optics, the wave-particle nature of light, electromagnetism and electric current. I found it to be very easy to read, the important equations are properly formatted so that you can easily skim through a chapter when doing a review, and the end-of-chapter summaries are actually, wonder of wonders in a textbook, useful! The questions seemed to be pretty varied, quite a few dealt with real world examples when picking values (although this does mean a calculator helps a lot), and they were helpful organized into three color coded skill levels.
When I didn't understand a concept completely right away (and not by any fault of the book, often the equations involved take some practice before you can master them), starting from the easy questions (as annoyingly trivial as they may have seemed at times, again mostly due to my own impatience rather than their faults), then moving on to the intermediate questions, and finally moving on to the challenge questions worked for me every time. Half the time I gave up on the challenge questions after a day's effort and a stack of sheets paper filled with equations, but even then they were useful in helping me understand the topic. One issue I had was that only odd numbered questions have answers, which is odd (Har har... Actually it may be even questions but that would destroy my pun *even* further. Ha!). The answer-less questions were mostly the find value x type rather than prove equation y, and when you are finding the electric field exerted on a point by an infinitely thin ring made of some non-existent metal that carries some random charge and decide if it makes sense.
I suppose one could buy the companion problem set book for more questions but really, the ethics of selling that separately aside, if they were gonna give n answers, why put in 2n questions instead of n? If there should be 2n questions, why not have 2n answers? Fortunately, I didn't see many answer-less questions which were that different from the answered ones, so you're not missing anything important (unlike what some evil, evil books adore doing).
At the end there is an appendix with a summary of mathematics used in the book, and lots of tables of mathematical constants to a lot of digits, if you happen to need those. When it is important for the topic, there are also small lists of example values for a given property (say, thermal conductivity) which are not terribly detailed, but they're nice when you want a sort of feel for the magnitudes involved or want to make a "so rubber on rubber has a lot of this thing called friction, but ice on ice has much less" kind of conclusion. My example aside, it can be helpful for the more abstract concepts.
There were also these cute little vignettes with each chapter, which applied the topic to a common situations often occurring in daily life (and yes, the daily life of normal people in a normal universe, not that weird fantasy world which some physics books can inhabit where everybody just *loves* to make everything hinge on extremely contrived physical tie-ins). I mean, geez, I learned how to make a soda can not foam after shaking it, how cool is that? Pretty cool, according to some people I've shown my "magic trick" to.
One thing to be careful about: I bought this fourth edition, which came with a CD. I have no clue what was in it, because as my usage of "CD" and not "DVD" should have warned you it was old. I got some error about Win95 or Win98 dlls missing and couldn't use it. The weblinks given for some question's answers are also gone without a trace. So if you're into that kinda thing, don't buy really old second hand editions.
And I suppose if the digital supplements were so horridly offensive that they'd change my opinion of the book... Yeah, you can assume this review ignores them, I suppose.

Review: Physics for Scientists and Engineers: Volume 2 Chapters 23-46

User Review  - Gagan - Goodreads

I learned that it costs 36 dollars to provide Electricity to a major metropolitan city. This is shown in the chapter of Alternating Current. I've always enjoyed the joke where the mechanic says that I ... Read full review


Physics and Measurement
Motion in One Dimension

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About the author (2000)

Raymond A. Serway is Physics Professor Emeritus at James Madison University, Virginia.

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