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In need of a better text

  1. Jun 5, 2014 #1
    I wasn't sure where to post this. I've already searched the Learning Materials forum in vain. I'm needing a better physics text for self teaching. The one I'm using does a good job of explaining, however simply it may be, but it's sorely lacking in giving lots of problems with solutions. It is reminding me of college Physics, which left me feeling stupid because there weren't enough worked problems to enable me to learn from my mistakes. Can anyone recommend some resources? I don't care if they are out of print.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2014 #2


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    This will get moved to the book section so no need to worry about that. (I don't think there are any good resources online for this).

    I want to add a pointer to this other thread where it is clear you are already using a book with a teacher's manual, so what you really want is solutions.

    Actually I'm not entirely convinced that the book section is the ideal place, there should be videos showing how to do certain types of problems. But that is for you to search and find, kstbts.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Jun 6, 2014 #3
    Your request is a bit vague. What topic area or subject of Physics do you need learning materials in? What is your current mathematics and physics knowledge?
  5. Jun 6, 2014 #4
    You're right Austrian. Sorry about that. The only Physics I've taken was an Algebra based college level Physics I, but that was 15years ago. I had a terrible 9th grade Physical Science teacher who had a nervous breakdown that year, and I never took high school Physics. Thankfully, I'm not hindered by poor math skills. I've taken trig and calculus, though I am rusty. What I'm trying to do is to *really* learn Physics this time, not do whatever it was I did before that somehow allowed me to earn an A in college. (No, I didn't cheat, but I'm a good crammer/test taker). So, I'm starting at the beginning with fundamental concepts, using Hewitt's Conceptual Physical Science because that's what I happen to have on hand. I'm sometimes left wishing I had more explanation for the answers in the teacher's guide. So, perhaps the book @verty mentioned would work for that.

    Thanks, Verty! I saw that book on Amazon.com, but wasn't sure if it would help.

    I would also love a meatier text that gives more in depth explanations for some of the material, something I can use both as a secondary reference for now and a primary text later after I'm finished with Hewitt's book.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Jun 6, 2014 #5


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    So just to be clear, your math is good, you got an A in college and you are refreshing your physics knowledge in a more conceptual way. And your book is called Conceptual Physics but I suppose the explanations are not as detailed as you would like.

    But then you say, you wish the teacher's manual had solutions. So I'm just about to say, here's a more advanced book, but it seems like you are struggling with the questions in Hewitt. So is it that Hewitt is too easy or superficial or is it that you are struggling to answer the questions?

    Ignoring the teacher's manual for now, do you have a problem learning from the Hewitt book?
  7. Jun 6, 2014 #6
    In many ways I feel like it is challenging me to think more than my college texts did. Or maybe I'm just more motivated and I'm trying to do more than recognize that a problem fits a particular pattern and apply the pattern I know. But the material isn't difficult. The problem seems to be that the teacher's solutions give no explanation for the answers to the end of the chapter problems. So if I get the problem incorrect, I have to sometimes wonder if I really got it wrong or if the teacher's guide is in error. And it's not like I can go back to the text and reference a sample problem because those in the text are few and far between, and what few there are are superficial.
  8. Jun 6, 2014 #7


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    I think any book is going to have this problem. There will always be answers that don't match the answer you get. Then you either look it over and decide that what you did is correct, or decide that you made a mistake. And this requires conceptual knowledge. Because you look at it again and say, did I apply the concepts correctly? Was my reasoning flawed? If it holds up to scrutiny, the book is wrong and just move on.

    I don't think this is a huge impediment to learning. If it is, ask questions here on PF.com. Or if you do decide you want a more difficult book then say that vehemently and you'll get recommendations. But I see no problem here.
  9. Jun 6, 2014 #8
    I'm pretty much doing as you've described, and the folks on this forum have already been helpful in verifying some erroneous answers in the teacher's guide. Still, I'd like to go ahead and get a more advanced book to use after I finish this one. That way I can also use it as a secondary reference for now.
  10. Jun 7, 2014 #9


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    This is simply the most comprehensive book available (to my knowledge):

    It also comes split into 3 parts:

    It has solutions manuals:

    I'm thinking what to say now but all I can say is, solutions manuals are difficult to find, these are cheap so this is what you want. Of course it all depends on where you are located, but if you can get these cheaply, this is a very good option.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  11. Jun 7, 2014 #10


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    I agree; Young and Freedman is quite verbose. You said you know calculus so you should get this book (even if it isn't used that much). Once you work through chapters 1 - 13, you should get Kleppner and Kolenkow, which uses calculus much more and is a text used by advanced freshmen and sophomores: https://www.amazon.com/An-Introduction-Mechanics-Daniel-Kleppner/dp/0521198119
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  12. Jun 8, 2014 #11
    Thanks Verty and Radarithm! I will look for these texts. What do you think of this book? While waiting for a response here, I got a response from the head of the Physics dept at the university I plan to attend. He said, "We are using the 8th addition of the "Physics for Scientists and Engineers" by Serway and Jewett published by Brooks/Cole"
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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