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Can anyone recommend any popular physics books explaining forces and fields etc?

  1. May 11, 2007 #1

    AJH

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    I have had some success with a recent question on electric fields where people kindly explained the nature of electric fields by analogies without recourse to mathematical terminology. I would be interested to pick up any guide on mainstream physics that would resolve all the obvious why and how questions that arise when you consider the world. I wouldn't mind a detour into the strange world of the uber-small but am far less interested in black holes, the birth and shape of the universe etc.

    Any tips would be highly appreciated.:smile:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2007 #2

    jtbell

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    Staff: Mentor

    A textbook that is very popular for "conceptual physics" and "descriptive physics" courses at the college/university level:

    Paul Hewitt: Conceptual Physics

    New copies of the current edition are rather expensive (as are most textbooks), but used copies of earlier editions are much cheaper, and will work just about as well for your purposes.
     
  4. May 11, 2007 #3
    The books i like the most regarding specifically the conceptual part of physics are the three volumes of "The Feynman Lectures on Physics", writen obviously, by Richard P. Feynman. Those books help me a lot understanding the concepts, he explains in a very clear and interesting way, i very much enjoy the reading.
    i highly recommend it.

    (excuse my english,i missed that class =P )

    pd: The volume 1 is about mechanics, radiations and heat; the volume 2 about electromagnetism and matter and de volume 3 is about quantum physics
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2007
  5. May 12, 2007 #4
    If you want the best introductory physics textbook, get Matter & Interactions by Ruth Chabay and Bruce Sherwood. It's a two volume set, with the first volume concentrating on modern mechanics and the second volume concentrating on electromagnetic theory. Fields are emphasized HEAVILY in the second volume.
     
  6. May 13, 2007 #5

    vanesch

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    I will second the Feynman lectures books, they are a superb read. That said, they don't work by "analogies" for physical ideas and they do use some mathematics - I personally find that a very misleading thing to do, to do physics by analogy to avoid maths. Physical ideas are very intimately related to mathematical concepts. In fact, many mathematical concepts found their original idea in physical concepts, after which mathematicians distilled away the physical application and kept the abstract mathematical structure. Now, you have a certain liberty in the mathematical sophistication you want to apply, but trying to do *without* it, is like trying to get answers to the conceptual problems in business bookkeeping without wanting to have a recourse to arithmetic.
     
  7. May 13, 2007 #6
    yes, Feynman uses some mathematics, but to understand the math is not that necessary to understand the concepts underneath it (of course, to really undestand it you have to be familiar with math, I mean, as a first approach to it). Obviously, i recomend you to study math and to learn physics through it. Anyway, this applies to the first and second volumes, since you definetly need to comprehend mathematical concepts in order to be able to understand quantum physics (the third volume)
     
  8. May 13, 2007 #7
    Err..

    Any old physics book will work... I mean, physics hasn't changed over the years in reality. Older=cheaper too XD
     
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