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Halliday and resnik, superficial

  1. Oct 12, 2006 #1
    does anyone else not like halliday and resnick? it seems to me that the majority of the text is pretty superficial.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 12, 2006 #2
    This is a text that goes back to the early 60s. I learned from the 1977 third edition of Physics in two volumes. Later there was a single volume Fundamentals of Physics that did seem watered down to me. What title/edition do you have?
  4. Oct 12, 2006 #3
    Can you be more specific? In its derivations, theoretical insight, challenge of problems, what?
  5. Oct 12, 2006 #4


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    My copy of Fundmentals is copyrighted 1970 and may well be the first edition of it. In the preface the authors say of the revision from Physics:

    "The effect of this surgery hast been to decrease apreciably the size of the book and to redurce somewhat is level of sophistication without scarificing a broad coverage of the fundantals."
  6. Oct 12, 2006 #5
    I didn't realize that Fundamentals went back that far.
  7. Oct 13, 2006 #6
    mine is the latest iteration, most of the problems seem to just require memorization of all of their quick reference formula's and then its just a matter of plugging in the numbers, i've yet to encounter a single problem that made me think about any interesting implications, or even a problem that was remotely challenging.

    but my biggest qualm is the lack of any sophistication in the physics of the text, the fluid dynamics section lacks any and all forms of calculus, and the section of waves derives the wave equation in a string for a transverse wave, while making some horrible assumptions that can just as easily have been avoided.

    I'll have to poke around for an older version and see if its a bit better.
  8. Oct 13, 2006 #7

    Dr Transport

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    My advisor for my masters TA'd for Resnick at RPI back in the mid-60's and worked all of those problems for the 1st ed.

    I think it is the best book out there for the first course in physics.
  9. Oct 17, 2006 #8
    I think there are challenging questions in Halliday Resnick... half the problems aren't plug and chug, and there are no examples to follow from for those. I actually really like the way it's written, especially the "strategies" and check points. It doesn't throw so much stuff at you that you're overwhelmed and confused. However, the transition from the Halliday-Resnick style to my modern textbook was a little difficult. I wish the advanced stuff could be broken down the way the H-R book is.
  10. Oct 17, 2006 #9


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    I second that! I used a 1993 reprint of the 1962 (second) edition of "Physics".
  11. Oct 25, 2006 #10


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    as a freshman in 1960 we were forced to use resnick and halliday. it was the worst textbook of any course i was taking at the time, math, french, philosophy, physics, english.

    there was a general rebellion by the class to the extreme dullness and boredom of the class as a whole, and at least we got a better lecturer second semester for E&M. by that time however i had lost all interest in physics, and have spent decades trying to get it back.

    i think resnick and halliday was used primarily to reduce the number of people going into physics, as it was extremely stultifying.

    presumably resnick has stopped contributing, or maybe has died, as the name has changed to halliday and resnick.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2006
  12. Oct 25, 2006 #11
    I had a very good experience with the 1977 edition of Physics, which I still keep on my shelf. I remember doing all the problems.

    Since the OP has access to a library, he can try several different textbooks.
  13. Oct 27, 2006 #12


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    perhaps gokul and daverz would say more about what they liked about this awful book, so the rest of us could try to see its beauty through their eyes?

    i loved feynman's lectures by the way, enjoyed somewhat newton's principia, and the little tome on relativity by archibald and wheeler, as well as many popular works, such as de broglie's book on quanta, and emile borel's work on relativity, and einstein's own general writings, not so much his original papers, and pauli's writings on relativity, and max planck's (born?) series of introductions to physics.

    also the paper showing the ether unobservable, by two early physicists, ah yes, michelson and morley. that was a beauty.

    but I like feynman best. oh also galileo's two new sciences, that is terrific. and as i recall goldsteins classical mechanics is impressive.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2006
  14. Oct 27, 2006 #13


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    Halliday and Resnick is a classic intro physics text. If you find it too simple, then consider switching into a more advanced course. The U I attended had and still has an advanced frosh physics sequence that assumes solid calculus background and moves fast.

    There's a great variation in students' sophistication and preparation, and schools have to teach to the mean--I'm not sure it's fair to criticize the book. Power to you that you're on the high end of the distribution. You're ready to move up.
  15. Oct 27, 2006 #14
    what about Introduction to Mechanics by Kleppner? That looks pretty good.
  16. Nov 11, 2006 #15
    My teacher explicitly warned me against getting Fundamentals, and I instead got the 1967 edition called Physics, in two volumes. I think they are excellent and highly comprehensive books for a high-school level course, where the majority of students are only beginning into calculus. They even manage to pack in a derivation of the differential forms of Maxwell's equations from the integral forms, all in quite two sleek and stylish looking volumes. At a more advanced level (advanced high-school students/introductory undergrad) where basic knowledge of calculus may be assumed, specialised books are available.

    I find Kleppner and Kolenkow's Introduction of Mechanics to be a slim but good introduction to Newtonian dynamics and Special relativity including a slightly outdated but gem of a chapter on 4-vectors and Minowski geometry: it condenses into a single chapter a complete and highly understandable introduction to relativity that beats the previous chapters more conventional introduction hands down.

    For EM, Griffith's Introduction to Electrodynamics is good. For QM, Intro to Quantum Mechanics by same author. About Statistical Physics or Fluid Mechanics, I've no idea.
  17. Nov 11, 2006 #16


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    Halliday-Resnick-Krane is more akin to the classic Halliday-Resnick, rather than Halliday-Resnick-Walker (Fundamentals). Among comparable introductory textbooks for general consumption, it was one of the best... as many that followed seemed to be variations on its theme. (I recall a joke about how one could pick up one these textbooks, select a place to open it, and guess the topic before opening it.) A new textbook that is based on it is "Understanding Physics" (Cummings, Laws, Redish, Cooney) http://physics.dickinson.edu/~abp_web/abp_Suite/UP.html , which incorporates a lot of "Physics Education Research".

    Kleppner and Kolenkow and Purcell are more sophisticated and more challenging texts. I really like Kleppner-Kolenkow... but it's not for everybody.

    In addition to "Understanding Physics" above,
    here are two new introductory textbooks [which are totally different from the HR-type textbooks]:
    "Six Ideas That Shaped Physics" (Moore) http://www.physics.pomona.edu/sixideas/
    "Matter & Interactions" (Chabay and Sherwood) http://www4.ncsu.edu/~rwchabay/mi/
  18. Nov 13, 2006 #17
    Halliday-Resnick-Krane: how is it? What are the similarities and differences with the original H&R?
  19. Dec 12, 2006 #18
    This topic may be dead, however, I would like to add my couple of cents into it.

    I own both the current (7th edition) and the 4th edition, along with the 4th edition's study guide, for Halliday and Resnick's Fundamentals of Physics, and I have also used the 6th edition. The 7th edition, I can tell you out right, has been watered down a bit since the 4th edition, and the 6th edition is perhaps my least favorite. I used the 4th edition and the 6th edition in when I was in high school for an independent study course, and both were useful. The 6th, if I remember correctly, was my least favorite due to its design and layout; the material, I felt was rather solid. The 4th edition, which has been my favorite, was quite challenging, partly because it was the first time I actually had to really think about a problem, and partly because of Halliday and Resnick's style of presenting information in that text.

    The 7th edition...well it has its moments. Sadly, I can actually find the same questions from the 4th edition in the 7th edition, and with minimial changes. The same can be said for the 6th edition. However, if you actually get ahold of multiple versions of these books, you get to play with multiple iterations of the material and can get fairly good at solving the problems.

    As for the comment on "plug and chug," for the first term I can see this, for a good half of the term, consitering most of it is "Find the velocity at t=40s," but take into account many of these questions had a first part to it that required you to dish out quite a bit of manpulations of the equations and concepts. I, personally, had a hard time with quite a few of the Halliday problems for the first two terms (Mechanics and E&M), while the third term on light and wave motion, was treated very well. In fact, Halliday and Resnick shine on these categories.

    Also for the comment on upper level material for an introduction course: The introduction course is designed to survey the material and give you a brief understanding of how to approach particular physical "problems" that will aid you in working through a Classical Mechanics text or an E&M text. If you are confident in your ablity to pass the introductory courses, perhaps you could talk to your major adviser and see if you can take modern physics or a physics elective course out of the standard sequence while still in the general/introduction physics course, to give you a better understanding of the material.

    One last note: Memorizing the formulas in the Halliday and Resnick book's, at least in my experance, will not help you at all. Remember the concepts and the procedures taken after you worked through the problems, and you will really get everything out of this book.

    There I can get off my soap box.
  20. Jan 14, 2007 #19


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    We used Halliday and Resnick in high school physics - and I'd probably agree with mathwonk's assessment. :rofl:
  21. Jan 18, 2007 #20
    which resnick & halliday r u guys talkin abt....
    1) resn, hall & WALKER
    2) resn, hall & KRANE

    "...KRANE" is quite rigorous and really good at concepts atleast 4 highschool senior yr in which i am studying(walker on the other hand is not that gr8...it's ordinary).

    ps:i also find feynman lectures 2 b quite good.
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