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I hate Serway. Is it realistic to use a different book?

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Main Question or Discussion Point

I just took my intro physics I final today (mechanics) and am moving onto the second semester in the sequence (E&M) over the summer session.

The course will incorporate the usual suspects: daily homework (assigned through an online assignment manager), labs, lectures, and exams.

I really hated Serway. It wasn't mathematical. It seemed more like an engineering course in dynamics with the incorrect notation, more so than a physics course. Nothing was justified with math and nothing was mathematically approached. They derived the formula with calculus, and said "Here's the equation", and called it calc-based.


I want to use a different book. More specifically, I want to use Purcell's Electricity and Magnetism (or if anyone has a better suggestion, I am all ears).

Would it be realistic to do this? Could someone feasibly ignore the assigned book, and focus on another book, and still do well in the course?

Would this book compliment the courses lectures, or will it just not work?


Ideally, I would like to simply replace Tipler's book with Purcell's, and have the lectures compliment the book (and vise-versa), and be able to do the homework assignments from ONLY reading Purcell (though I will still be going to lecture), and still be able to do well on the exams.

Is this realistic, or will it just create problems for me?

(NOTE: I will still have a copy of the eBook through the webAssign code that I will have to buy for homework, and will be able to use this for anything that Purcell doesn't cover)
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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If your professor assigns and grades from problems in his specific book than your method won't work too well (speaking from experience).

If your professor does not do such a thing than what ever makes the material clearer in your mind will help tremendously, I've done this with success in electronics, complex analysis, and modern physics.

I've heard good things about Halliday and Resnick and having picked up a copy of it myself I like what I see, but you should note that neither physics I or II will be so mathematical as I think you want if you're looking at Purcell's book
 
  • #3
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It's 'intro physics' for a reason. You're supposed to be developing your intuition and problem solving ability, you'll get rigor later.

Also, just ask the prof. They're the best equipped to answer the question.

For my first classical mechanics -> E&M courses the prof said on the first day that they don't care what text we use as long as they're calculus based.
 

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