1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Headstart on college physics

  1. Dec 3, 2009 #1
    Can someone kindly suggest to me a general physics book that explains concepts thoroughly and provides exercises at an introductory (to intermediate) sort of level?

    More specifically, I would like to learn more about electromagnetism, light and radiation. And I would like to self-teach myself the necessary mathematics (any math textbook suggestion would be much appreciated).

    Our school does not provide an Advanced Physics class so teaching myself college physics will give me a great start.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Are you looking for a book that uses calculus, or algebra?
  4. Dec 3, 2009 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    My introductory physics courses in College used the book Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Giancoli

    It's actually not bad in my opinion. It's pretty comprehensive over all the introductory phenomena (classical physics).

    It's calculus based, and some of the problems could be a bit hard for an introductory level, but once you get the gist of it, it's not bad.
  5. Dec 3, 2009 #4
    My first college physics class used Kleppner/Kolenkow's An Introduction to Mechanics, and I absolutely hated it.

    I did really like Halliday/Resnick/Krane's Physics (although I used an older edition of it, so maybe the newer ones have gotten worse). It's split into 2 volumes, with the first focusing on mechanics and the second on Electromagnetism (as well as some Modern Physics sprinkled in at the end).

    As for Math preparations, I cannot give a high enough recommendation to Div, Grad, Curl, and All That by H.M. Schey. It's not a formal or rigorous book by any means, but it helped me out way more than my Calc. II book did in just getting an intuitive feel for the vector calc that was needed for Physics II.
  6. Dec 4, 2009 #5
    I would like something that uses algebra. But I'll check out the ones already suggested. Thanks.
  7. Dec 6, 2009 #6
    My physics teacher says Halliday & Resnick might be the best undergraduate physics text ever. Can't say which edition he was referring to. There's also the Feynman Lectures.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook