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Intro Physics Alternative physics intro books to Young and Halliday?

  1. Jun 13, 2015 #1
    Hi I know eveyone buys Young University physics, and i think it's great for easy problem solving, a bit wordy but quite clear, however I like books that give a bit more insight into the reasoning and mathematical development and/or derivations of the theories, instead of just telling you "this equations solves this problem". Thy type of book that teaches you how to think, but also gives clear examples and solutions so you can confirm that your thinking is correct.

    Can you recommend some other introductory books on physics? Old books are also accepted :)

    So far I've considered
    Isaac Asimov - understanding physics
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2015 #2
    Kolenkow and kleppner, however you need to have completed the equivalent of calculus 2 to understand it.
  4. Jun 13, 2015 #3
    Alonso and finn
  5. Jun 14, 2015 #4
    Thank you midgetDwarf! I think I will read Thomas Calculus (3rd edition) first :)
  6. Jun 14, 2015 #5
    I actually bought physics by Alonso Yesterday from 1972 hardcover on amazon. I've also considered getting the 3 Volume version. Which version do you have? What do you personally like about this book if i may ask? :)
  7. Jun 14, 2015 #6
    I have the old spanish 3 vol version. It covers topics books like Halliday or Zemnasky don't and it also do a good use of vectors and calculus.
  8. Jun 14, 2015 #7
    It is quite expensive! Is at the level of KK?
  9. Jun 14, 2015 #8
    I never used extensively the Kleppner so I don't now. Something to consider is that the alonso and finn are not only devoted to mechanic, vol 1 covers mechanics and some special relativity, vol 2 electricity, magnetism and waves and the vol 3 cover statistical and modern physics (I don't have that one so I can say how good is the vol 3 but I heard good things about it).

    If you are interested solely in mechanics then the Kleppner is probably better since it covers more topics.
  10. Jun 15, 2015 #9
    The one-volume "Physics" by Alonso and Finn is a watered down version of the three-volume edition. Contents from the first, second and third volumes have been retained in an exponentially decreasing way. Meaning that there is almost nothing of the third volume in it, but a qualitative description of an introduction to a high-school version of quantum mechanics. Electricity and magnetism have also been dumbed down, so I suggest you find the three volume edition - I wonder why they stopped printing it... (Oh, yeah, they had to market that one tome version for high schoolers...)
    All that said, for an intro to mechanics, you can do far worse than Alonso and Finn's one volume "Physics".

    For a true introduction to physics and mechanics, I cannot think of a better book than French's "Newtonian Mechanics", though. A bit old school, but... what a teacher French is.
    For EM, check out Kip's "Fundamentals of Electricity and Magnetism", 2nd edition.

    As far as single tomes go, I like Ohanian a lot. The older the edition, the better. I have the second edition and while I have not used it to study physics from, I find it and entertaining read.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2015
  11. Jun 15, 2015 #10
    Thank you very much for the recommndations´. I just got Kip's Electricity and magnetism 2nd edition :)
    Does French Neewtonian mechanics explain everything Alonso and Ohanihan explains about newtonian mechanics? I'm thinking it might be good to get french and either alonso or ohanihan to get different explanations? Lastly Would it be easy for a complete beginner in physics to go throught french book?
  12. Jun 15, 2015 #11
    French's Newtonian Mechanics is in my opinion the best intro to physics one can get. I wish that I had had it as my first physics book. It definitely is a book for beginners.
    But... I would not use it alone. It's a bit wordy and its focus is not on exercises. It's more on what science (and physics of course) is all about. It's a master's view of many concepts that other introductory physics books give for granted or simply hint at. I once wrote in this forum that French shows you the content that is usually written between the lines.
    Being an old school text, I suggest you find a copy in a local library and judge by yourself. Don't be scared if it seems too wordy. It's a master talking to you about his passion.

    And for 3.50 dollars (ok, and a couple more for having it delivered at your doorstep) get a copy of Ohanian's Physics. That will give you a more exercise oriented perspective.

    Alonso's single tome is also good on the mechanics first half (or so), but you might not find such a good bargain as the Ohanian.
    (I have all three these books, plus I've read the three volume edition of Alonso)
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2015
  13. Jun 16, 2015 #12
    If I were you, just get Kleppner's Mechanics, it is one of the best mechanics text out there. If you are having trouble at some part, you can just go back to the lower division mechanics text like Young, Resnick, Serway, and read the sections where you are confused in Kleppner (which I doubt coz Kleppner is very clear). As for Calculus, basic knowledge of differential and integral calculus will do, Kleppner covers the "vector calculus" you need. If you finish Kleppner, you won't need text like Taylor, Gregory, Marion, etc which students usually take after the basic mechanics with Young, Resnick, etc. IMO Kleppner covers the newtonian mechanics far better than those intermediate level mechanics text, also you will be exposed to HARD problems which require good physical intuition as opposed to mathematical formalism like Gregory. You can just grab a text like Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Mechanics by Calkin to study the topics that Kleppner didn't cover and which you will need for upper division mechanics. After that, you are already prepared for Goldstein. Good luck!
  14. Jun 16, 2015 #13
    Again thank you for the recommendation. Just wondering: I've been reading 3 chapters in Ohanian 3rd edition before and i find it quite good. I can see that the 2nd edition only has about 1088 pages while the 3rd edition has about 1584 pages. I do find that an image is worth a 1000 words, but would you say that the 3rd edition has been watered down in any way compared to the 2nd, or is it just that extra images have been added? Does Alonso cover mechanics better than ohainan in your opinion?
  15. Jun 16, 2015 #14
    Sounds like a good book to. Which versio of Kleppner do you recommend?
  16. Jun 16, 2015 #15
    If it's "Physics for scientists and engineers" 3rd edition, I have only flipped through its pages. The superficial impression I've got is that much of the bloating is due to adding (often distracting) color and pictures. This is not necessarily to add useful information but to make it harder to xerox. If you already own it, go with that especially if you are not bothered by the "kindergarten look". But the book I was talking about is titled "Physics, 2nd expanded edition" and has about 1200 pages plus a hundred more of appendixes.

    Alonso is more succinct and that is its main strength. It gives you the basic principles and guides you in deriving the accessory formulas. It's not bad at all. Only it was much better in the 3 volume edition.
  17. Jun 17, 2015 #16
    Actually, Kleppner's book is already on 2nd edition but IMO, no big change was done with the second edition aside from rearrangements of the topics and it was done in latex format. So, I think the first edition will do.
  18. Jun 18, 2015 #17
    Thank you very much: I think I might just go with the 3rd Edition: The look (kindergarden or not) does not bother me, it's more about how clear, how well the material is presented and most important that equations are derived or built following a logic pattern of thinking instead of just defining it "The equation for X is" :)
  19. Jun 20, 2015 #18

    rude man

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    When Resnick & Halliday came out it was revolutionary. My calculus-level physics text (Furry, Purcell & Street) was terrible by comparison. R&H had great graphics and, most importantly, used vector algebra and calculus almost from the outset. I still would recommend the two-volume R&H set (also available at the time in 1 unwieldy volume). Admittedly, I have not seen more modern textbooks. But physics hasn't changed all that much now, has it.
  20. Jun 20, 2015 #19
    Can any one recommend a physics textbook for nonsense major (I mean non-science major)?
    It must have simple algebra based Math for solving physics problems.
    It should also explain conceptual sides of physics topics.

    I never taught such basic low level physics, and having difficulty choosing a right book.
    As examples, Giancoli/Wilson/Buffa books are too advanced for these students.
    On the other hand, Christopher/Kuhn book-chapters are not complete enough.
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