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Best Undergraduate Introductory book to Physics

  1. Sep 6, 2009 #1
    I read a post a while back about getting Physics by Resnick, Krane and Halliday 1st or 2nd Edition but I can't find the first and second edition online. I can only find the fourth edition and the fifth edition. Which one should I buy? Which one is better in terms of explanations, proofs, calculus based problems and really understanding/learning physics.

    Thanks!! :D
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 6, 2009 #2
    Textbook editions are mostly the same textbook, typically new editions just fix typo's / rearrange things. So basically it's just a way for a publisher to keep making money.
  4. Sep 6, 2009 #3


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    Very true statement.

    In general, the only reason to get the newest edition of a text is if you will be doing problems out of it for a class. Older editions often have different problems, or they are renumbered in such a way that makes finding problem 4.13 difficult or impossible. For subject matter such as introductory physics, both mechanics and e&m, these obviously haven't changed much in 10, 20, even 50 years. So older editions of the books are just fine for self study.

    For something like cosmology, though, which has changed radically in the past ten years, newer editions of texts are markedly different.
  5. Sep 6, 2009 #4


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    The great mathwonk always said that the 1st (or 2nd) edition is usually the best edition(s) of a textbook, because it is written the way the author actually envisioned it to be.

    The subsequent editions, most of the time, are watered-down, in order to accomomodate a wider variety of audience.

    That being said, I have the 5th edition of HRK's Physics, and I think it's just fine for an introductory course.
  6. Sep 6, 2009 #5
    Well as far as I know, Stewarts has always been a typical not-very-rigorous textbook. Spivak usually fixes some typos, and the fourth edition might actually present the concept of limit in a more logical order. I don't think Halliday and Resnick has changed much at all, but then again I learned most of my physics from Giancoli (which is not calculus based but it didn't matter much to me). Also, I wouldn't buy a new edition just because the problems are renumbered (or some have been added) unless you don't feel like knowing anybody who is also taking the particular class or something like that (or you are self-studying, in which case google books might work).
  7. Sep 6, 2009 #6


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    I think there are about 8 editions of "Fundamental of Physics" by Halliday, Walker and Resnick. However there are much less editions of "Physics" by Resnick, Halliday and Krane. This is probably the one you're looking for.
  8. Sep 6, 2009 #7


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    The FOP book by Jearl Walker is the watered down version of the original physics texts by Halliday and Resnick. I suggest you don't get that one.
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