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College is going to be HARD!

  1. Aug 31, 2012 #1
    I just got my 1st textbook today, University Physics with Modern Physics. MY GOD. THE THING IS HUGE:eek:

    It's 1600 pages. And the pages are wafer thin as well which kinda sucks... I think they might rip a bit too easily.

    But it makes me think, I have to cover the entire book in one year. 24 weeks actually! And that is only Phys 1 and Phys 2. I'll have 8 other modules on top of that. Oy Vey..

    But, at least I have a lot of the mechanics done from last year. So that shouldn't be too bad.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 31, 2012 #2


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    I bet you don't. I've never taken or taught a course that actually used the entire textbook. Textbooks (especially introductory textbooks) generally have more material than can be covered in a single course (or sequence). Authors and publishers don't want to lose a potential sale because they left out some professor's favorite optional topic.
  4. Aug 31, 2012 #3


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    Don't judge a class by the textbook used. Remember, classes do not go through entire texts like that. If it's calculus based, it should be a 3 semester course as well if it's taught in the traditional manner. Professors will usually pick only a certain number of chapters they want to go through as well. Of course, they WILL go through a good majority of the text most likely and there are probably a good 100 pages of appendices and the index.

    That doesn't mean college isn't hard though :)
  5. Aug 31, 2012 #4
    The only textbook I ever bought (because it was compulsory) was University Physics with Modern Physics. I can probably count the number of times I actually opened it on my fingers. The content is actually useful, but it is so huge that it can't stand up by itself and flops all over the place.

    So long as the lectures and lecture notes are good, you have no need to worry.
  6. Aug 31, 2012 #5
    @jtbell I think I will have to use the whole book, or at least a lot of it anyway, Phys1 is Mechanics Heat Electricity and Magnetism
    Phys2 is waves light and modern physics. So i'll have a lot to do. But I suppose that's pretty standard.

    @JesseC I think I will open it (or at least hope I will open it) a nice bit as it is a source of practice problems and if there's a motto for physics it's "PRACTICE"

    @Peng, Easy for you to say, nuclear physicist!! :redface:
  7. Aug 31, 2012 #6


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    You may cover material from all of the chapters, but you'll probably skip some sections in some or many chapters. Many chapters have sections that contain the various "optional topics" that I mentioned earlier. These tend to be later in the chapter.

    By the way, people usually refer to textbooks by their authors because the titles are usually pretty generic. Looking on amazon.com, I see two "University Physics with Modern Physics": one by Young, Freeman & Ford, and one by Bauer & Westfall. I'm betting your book is the first one because I've heard of its authors before and I know it's fairly common (never used it, though), whereas I've never heard of the other guys.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
  8. Aug 31, 2012 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    Bauer & Westfall is Wolfgang Bauer and Gary Westfall, both of MSU. It's a fairly new book.
  9. Sep 1, 2012 #8
    You seem to be excited haha. I also use the same introductory physics textbook (assuming that one's from Young and Freedman) I suggest you read each page as much as you can, or at least read every page of the 'required' topics that you'd go through that semester. It was pretty effective for me. I find it hard to bring it over to school though, it's so big I feel awkward carrying it around haha.
  10. Sep 1, 2012 #9
    That's actually pretty fast if you cover that book in just two semesters. When I took my introductory sequence, it was in 3 classes, and that's how I've usually seen it. Mine looked like this:

    1) Introductory mechanics: kinematics, work/energy, power, rotational motion, torque, simple harmonic motion

    2) Introductory E&M: Coulomb's law, Gauss's law, circuits (resistors, capacitors, series circuits, etc), magnetic force

    3) Fluid mechanics (Bernoulli's equation), Archemedes' principle, properties of materials (bulk modulus, etc) light, geometric optics, wave properties, thin film interference, heat, heat flow in solids.
  11. Sep 1, 2012 #10


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    Is this calculus or algebra-based? The textbook appears to be a calculus-based and I've never heard of a calculus-based intro series being done in two semesters.
  12. Sep 1, 2012 #11


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    When I was an undergraduate, a graduate student teaching labs, and on my first teaching job, we used Halliday & Resnick's "Fundamentals of Physics" for a two-semester sequence with no "modern physics." I'm sure we skipped a lot of the "optional" topics.
  13. Sep 1, 2012 #12
    Peng as far as I know it's calc based.

    Phys1: Linear motion: vectors, projectiles, circular motion, relative velocity. NewtonÆs laws: force, work, power, momentum, friction, gravitation. Conservation of energy. Linear and angular momentum: conservation of momentum, collisions. Rotation of a rigid body: moments of inertia, kinetic energy, angular momentum.

    The laws of thermodynamics. Equilibrium and temperature, heat and internal energy, heat capacities and latent heat. The ideal gas, isotherms and adiabats. The Carnot engine: efficiency. Classical and microscopic entropy.

    Electricity: charge, electric field, Coulomb's law, Gauss's law. Electric potential, capacitance, Ohm's law, KirchhoffÆs Laws, dc circuit analysis, Joule heating. RC circuits.

    Magnetism: magnetic field, magnetic force and torque, the galvanometer. Ampere's law. Electromagnetic Induction: inductance. Faraday's law,Lenz's law, the generator and motor, back emf.

    Phys2: Oscillations and simple harmonic motion: transverse and longitudinal waves, superposition, speed, reflection, harmonic waves.

    Sound: sound waves, sound intensity, Doppler effect. Light: EM Spectrum, Sources of light,

    Geometrical optics; reflection, refraction, dispersion, achromatic optics; Physical optics; interference, diffraction, diffraction gratings, polarisation; Optical systems; the microscope, the telescope, the eye.

    Special Relativity: Einstein's Postulates, time dilation, length contraction, the Lorentz Transformation, relativistic momentum and energy conservation.

    Atom: Classical models, Planck's quantum hypothesis, the Bohr atom, The photoelectric effect; quantized energy; the de Broglie wavelength.

    The nucleus: nucleons; isotopes; nuclear structure; binding energy. Radiation: X rays, alpa, beta and gamma radiation, the law of radioactive decay. fission and fusion; nuclear reactors. Detection, dosage.
  14. Sep 1, 2012 #13
    I also used Halliday & Resnick. It was a really good book!
  15. Sep 1, 2012 #14
    Don't judge a book by it's cover...or what is between the covers :)
    For the most part, I've found those with this textbook are most def. only going to go through parts of it, not all of it...but it differs per college and professor.
    You would be going through around 13 pages/day (excluding weekends and holidays) -- this is allowing for the materialthe subject of each chapter/section, the words/page and the speed in which your professor 'plows through it',etc --but it will sound overwhelming.
    My best advice is, don't stress yourself out :)
    I make a reading guide for each chapter if it is a more difficult subject...for me, re-writing the main points and then having them on hand at all times helps me learn loads faster.
    But again, that is just me.
  16. Sep 2, 2012 #15
    The standard I've seen (I live in Illinois and attend a state school) is Newtonian physics/Mechanics (projectile, ∑F=ma, work-energy theorem, impulse, momentum, vectors, "angular" mechanics, simple harmonic motion, gravitation, and basic fluid mechanics) in semester 1, E&M (Coulombs Law, Kirchoff's Laws, Ohm's Laws, Maxwell's Equations and plenty of topics related to them, Light-the wave equation, basic optics) in semester 2, Modern Physics (Special relativity, Particle-wave duality, basic quantum mechanics, Bohr model, Schroedinger equation, nuclear and particle physics) in semester 3, and then heat, wave, and fluid stuff (thermodynamic, gases, hydrostatics and fluid flow, optics and acoustics) in semester 4, and then everything else will be a smaller topic in greater depth at a higher level in physics (300 or greater).

    Now, I personally think, now that I'm older, that a student should have taken differential and integral calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra before taking Physics 1, multivariable calculus and partial differential equations before taking Physics 2, and Abstract Algebra and Complex Analysis before taking Physics 3, which should just about cover all the math you'd ever need afterwards, and possibly enough math for one to get a double major, but, not everyone will agree with me. I think that math, especially if one's understanding of math is understood very physically (geometrically) as opposed to analytically, greatly enhances understanding of physics and engineering.
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