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Halliday/Resnick/Walker - Text Question

  1. Feb 5, 2007 #1
    I am not sure if this is actually the correct forum but I have asked mathematics text questions before so I figured I could pose a physics text question here. If not please move my post.

    I picked up my text for Physics 195A, Mechanics entitled Fundamentals of Physics, Volume 1 - 7th Edition by Halliday, Resnick and Walker.

    Is anyone familiar with this text? Is it a good text to work through for an introduction to Mechanics?

    Also, can anyone recommend a text that I can use in conjunction with this one that might expand a bit deeper and reinforce this text?

    Thanks guys, I appreciate it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 5, 2007 #2
    I did a search and found threads regarding this text but it didn't seem like there was a concensus about which text was better.

    They require this text but it looks like everyone hated it.

    Also, I realize now there is a subforum for these questions, can someone move my thread?
  4. Feb 5, 2007 #3
    HRW is pretty standard. If you are looking for a reference that's similar to HRW in style, I think Tipler is pretty good. I hear "University Physics" (dunno the author) is a good book as well. If you want somewhat of an unconventional textbook, you can always use Feynman lectures:)
  5. Feb 5, 2007 #4
    Whatever you do, don't look at Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Knight for reference. It's a horrible textbook that is very mickey-mouse.
  6. Feb 5, 2007 #5
    I was supposed to use HRW as a prescribed first year physics textbook. It's decent, but it's really a matter of personal preferences. I ended up using "Understanding Physics" by Cummings et al, which is *very* similar in style to HRW and a bit cheaper. :blushing:

    For a bit of further studies, I have used the Berkeley Physics (the proper name slipped my mind, but it came in a couple of volumes and contained a lot more maths) books. Feynmann lectures were fun to read too. For a thorough understanding though, you should try books written for the specific topics, say mechanics, optics, etc.
  7. Feb 6, 2007 #6
    you should be aware that for basic mechanics the book is only really going to be able to give you problems to aid in your thinking, mechanics is one of those things that you will probably understand without much explanation as long as you know your calculus.

    As for the fundamentals of physics (by HRW HRK is a good book by contrast), I must say that it is the worst book that I've ever had to lay eyes on let alone pay for, and the course I took that was taught out of it has to be the worst physics course I ever took (although the instructor wasn't that good either)
  8. Feb 6, 2007 #7
    That sounds fantastic, gives me a lot of hope!

    /saracsm :(

    that sucks man. what would you recommend?
  9. Feb 6, 2007 #8
    physics by halliday, resnick, krane and also physics by Halliday Resnick are far better books imo, and in general any book that doesn't include a fast facts section is good.

    The problem wit HRW in my oppinion is mainly that they over-emphasize "conceptual physics" which is really a fancy way of saying that because math is just a bunch of formulas were going to give you a "conceptual" understanding of physics so that you know whats going on and then you just find the formulas that include the things your looking for.

    unfortunatly physics doesn't work like that, and a true understanding comes from being able to work with the equations from the beginning, as the equations represent the concepts. Take ampere's law as an example, while there is a conceptual understanding here, ie that any moving charge has a B field circulating around it, and if you some up the cuurents then they are going to be equal to the total circulation of the b field around the current, you also need to understand how you write that, how you prove it, and finally how to apply that result to toher things in order to gain even deeper results.

    the second 3/4's is whats missing from HRW, and imo the understanding that HRW gives you is on par with what you would get if you read a calc textbook and didn't do any problems, or someone saying that they understand calculus just because they know what a derivative and an integral are.

    But I wouldn't worry about it if you have a good prof, as freshman mechanics can't really be taught out of a book anyway (imo) as it is essentially writing down and quantizing what every human already knows (except for energy and power), and if you have a half decent prof you will learn everything everyone is expected to learn in a freshman mechanics course.

    Its a similar situation for E&M, however significantly less so. and there it might benefit you to have some extra reading mterial such as an old copy of HRK or HR from the school library.
  10. Feb 6, 2007 #9
    Assuming I work through this book, am I going to be severely hindered when I transfer into a University? I am at a CC right now, so I don't know how good the lecturers are compared to a University.

    Should I work through this to satisfy the lecturer's requirements but also work through the 4th edition concurrently, to reinforce my understanding? If so, would it be beneficial to work through the 7th, then reinforce with the 4th? Or work through the 4th and refresh using the 7th?

    This will be my first formal physics class, so I don't know what to expect. I'm self-taught (not very deep at all, pretty basic stuff which is why I am glad I am taking a formal course).
  11. Feb 6, 2007 #10
    The Feynman Lectures volume 1 and the original edition of French's Newtonian Mechanics. A good library should have both.
  12. Feb 7, 2007 #11
    well I read HRK E&M and did the problems on my own, and now that I'm in a university I can say that my understanding of E&M is on par or above everyone else I've met.

    I would say that HRK is a far better book to work through, and as such I would highly recommend reading that book and then doing whatever problems you have to in HRW for homework (assuming you can get a free copy of HRK in your library, or some other similar book). you may get lucky and have a good physics department at your school, at my old CC they had an amazing math department but the physics department was a joke. and if you have a good lecturer then the book is superfluous, just be sure that they aren't one of those guys who thinks that the math is superfluous to the physics.

    and do the 3 dot problems in HRW, there aren't many that are worth it but there are a few goodies.
  13. Feb 7, 2007 #12
    I appreciate the advice, CPL.Luke and I will for sure look for that text. I am glad to hear that your transition into a University has been pretty smooth, my friend.

    As for our Math department, I am assuming it's not very good considering the extremely awkward conversation I had with our Mathematics department head the other day. As for Physics, I guess I will find out.
  14. Feb 7, 2007 #13
    don't always judge a department by its head, the head of my current department was a bit of a beuracrat, but I'm finding that the rest of the department is significantly better.

    although it can be an indication.

    good luck with your course, and remember the only reason why students can be unprepared for university after going to a CC is because they worked to the minimum that the professors had them work for. If you put in some extra work and engage the professors outside of class you'll do great.
  15. Feb 7, 2007 #14
    I was just going to ask about French's Newtonian Mechanics.

    complexphilosophy, I was also wanting a deeper look at mechanics than my first semester course is going to offer and in another thread someone recommended An Introduction to Mechanics by Kleppner and Kolenkow.

    In the course of researching a best choice for a more rigorous mechanics text I was under the impression that French's book is a little easier going than K/K but perhaps not as mathematically deep.

    Could someone correct me if I'm wrong to say that, in ascending order of difficulty, something like <whichever all in one phys sequence text> -> French -> K/K is an accurate depiction of these texts?
  16. Feb 7, 2007 #15
    French is much more thorough than any of the big general first year texts, but well below the level of a book like, say, Symon. For example, vector algebra is kept to a minimum. He's particularly good on celestial mechanics and rotational dynamics. There are answers to most of the exercises in the back. At 742 pages, it's a very leisurely book, and there's actually http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Classical-Mechanics-J-French/dp/0412381400/sr=1-2/qid=1170907887/ref=sr_1_2/105-5132629-7912426?ie=UTF8&s=books [Broken] that cuts the page count in half. You pay more for less, though.

    A caveat is that French offloads material on waves into a separate book, though the simple harmonic oscillator is covered.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017 at 3:39 PM
  17. Feb 7, 2007 #16
    Being that I own both the 7th and 4th editions (and the 4th edition's student guide book), for Halliday, Resnick, Walker; I can suggest you just pick one of the two to work from. The 4th edition is, in my humble opinion, a much better read compaired to the 7th edition. This is due to how the 7th edition altered the chapter set up (slightly, but still signifigant to throw things off a little bit).

    Don't, I repeat, do not do the problems in both texts. HRW has the horrible habit of between editions of not really adding any new problems, for the most part. Once in a while you will see something new, but for the most part they are the same.
  18. Feb 8, 2007 #17
    ^physicist do you mean the 4th edition with HRK as authors or HRW as authors?
  19. Feb 8, 2007 #18
    HRW, I have yet to get myself a copy HRK.
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