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A good beginners Physics book?

  1. Feb 21, 2013 #1
    I want to begin studying physics at university this summer, and I'd like to know. What is a good Physics basics books that will give me a good intuition and solid understanding of subjects such as gravitation, electricity, magnetism etc.? It's been a while since i studied physics in high school so i'd like to get up to speed with a good book.

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 21, 2013 #2
    It really depends on how deep you want to dive into the Mathematics.
    If you're seeking a textbook that is primarily conceptual with background mathematics, then look into Conceptual Physics 11th Ed. by Paul G. Hewitt.

    If you're into the more mathematical aspect of physics, check out the following textbooks:

    Physics vol. I by Resnick, Halliday and Krane, 5th Edition
    Physics vol. II by Resnick, Halliday, and Krane, 5th edition

    Vol I. focusses primarily on Mechanics whereas vol II. focusses primarily on Magnetism, Electrostatics, etc.
  4. Feb 21, 2013 #3
    I'm quite interested in a mix of the conceptual and a book with a good background in algebraic manipulation for physics(I wan't to be ready for calculus by having a solid background)

    I think the Physics by Resnick, looks interesting. It might be a big for me, if I was to read such a big book i might as well begin reading the physics textbook "university physics" since it's the book we will be reading at my university, but the again if it's really good it might give me a better understanding :)
  5. Feb 21, 2013 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    There's not a lot of difference between the common university intro physics texts (Halliday/Resnick, et al.). The differences are mainly in style and the exact sequence of topics. If you already know which book you'll be using at university, you might as well start with that, assuming you know some calculus already.

    Hewitt's book might be useful as a supplement or preliminary reading. You can get an idea of the concepts and general topics without getting bogged down in a lot of mathematical details. However, if you tend to become frustrated by gaps in explanations, or "hand-waving" to skip over mathematical details, then this might not be for you.
  6. Feb 21, 2013 #5
    Cutnell and Johnson for algebra-based.

    Knight's book for scientists and engineers for calc-based.

    "Physics of Everyday Phenomena" for super-simple conceptual intro (it was my first).

    Do not get Halliday and Resnick, just get The Flying Circus of Physics instead.
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