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bcrowell
#4
Jan5-12, 07:03 PM
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Good physics B textbooks?

Giancoli is a typical commercial physics textbook. "Typical" means that it's fine if you just want to learn how to plug numbers into formulas without understanding anything.

If you want something that will actually allow you to get any deeper understanding, it's going to depend on your math background. Hewitt's Conceptual Physics is quite good, IMO; virtually no mathematical content, but it's actually quite a good book intellectually. You can easily find inexpensive used copies or check it out from the public library. Even if you intend to learn the subject at a more mathematical level, reading Hewitt first could give you a good base to start from. At the high school algebra/trig level, PSSC Physics is about the only decent option I know of, but it's overpriced. (Touger is a college book at a similar level to Giancoli and much better than Giancoli, IMO -- but that ain't saying much, and the price is really exploitative.) If you've had calculus and want a really rigorous, kick-*** intro, then Kleppner and Kolenknow is the classic to start with.

My own book is free online (google "crowell physics"), but of course I can't give you an unbiased evaluation of its quality.