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Physics Textbook

  1. Sep 30, 2010 #1
    I wanted to buy a nice, detailed and problem filled physics text for myself(high school level).

    I have heard a lot about Halliday and Resnick Fundamentals Of Physics and also University Physics by Young And Freedman.

    So which among them should I choose , or else if there's some other good one please suggest!

    Also i have heard that the earlier editions(1st to 3rd) are better than the modern 7th and 8th editions... is this true?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 30, 2010 #2


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    H&R and Y&F are fairly standard. I'd probably go with one of those.
  4. Sep 30, 2010 #3
    Are you a senior in high school? Do you want to study physics in college? The reason I ask is because I used Halliday/Resnick senior year in AP physics and it wasn't sufficient for my first year mechanics course as a physics major. We used Kleppner, which is far more challenging, but also more useful and rigorous. So, if you want to prepare yourself (perhaps overprepare) than I'd go with Kleppner. However, I'm sure Halliday would still be an excellent book you can learn a lot of physics from.
  5. Sep 30, 2010 #4
    I am in grade 10 so which of them would be better?
  6. Sep 30, 2010 #5


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    Halliday is okay in spots, but on most topics it's a plug and chug book. Certain statements are wrong (e.g., the claim that conservation of angular momentum is provable as a theorem based on Newton's laws). Certain topics are poorly treated, either because the authors don't understand them or because they don't think students really want to understand the whys and wherefores (e.g., relativistic dynamics). For a student who really wants a deep understanding of physics for its own sake, Kleppner is far superior.

    My own (free) book is also an option: http://www.lightandmatter.com/area1sn.html Obviously I'm biased, but it is designed for a student who wants a deep understanding of physics for its own sake.

    If you want a high school book (i.e., one that assumes you don't care about where the equations come from), then one way to go is to get a high school book. High school books are designed for students who are not yet at the level of intellectual development where they can really understand things deeply.

    If you want a high school book (i.e., one that assumes you don't care about where the equations come from), another option is to choose almost any university-level book. Almost all university-level physics books are written for people who don't want to understand why things are the way they are. If you're choosing from among these, then Halliday is better than most.

    If you want a book that's not a high school book (i.e., one that assumes you do care about where the equations come from), then one good book is PSSC Physics (which is marketed as a high school book).

    Have I managed to confuse you?
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2010
  7. Sep 30, 2010 #6
    Well if you say so i'll just see some preview of PSSC physics and if I like it then I'll go for it.
    I liked your own book....nicely written!:approve:

    I never knew H&R had such problems.
    Thanks for the advice and your book!!!

    You did manage to confuse me a bit .... but its ok not much...
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2010
  8. Sep 30, 2010 #7
    Kleppner is not a good introductory physics book. It's for people who all ready have the basics of calculus and physics down. Good for perhaps a second course in physics,
  9. Oct 1, 2010 #8
    ^^I used it for my first college physics course, after taking AP.
  10. Oct 1, 2010 #9
    As I said -- not a good first course in physics, especially for someone that doesn't know basic calculus very well.
  11. Oct 1, 2010 #10
    As a high schooler I'd recomend you not rush yourself too much, by all menas start learning calculus and physics but if it takes you awhile to understand some things don't get discouraged, you are already (well) ahead of the curve.

    On topic I think kleppner is fine to learn mechanics from but the book uses a lot of calculus. If you don't know any calculus I don't think you'll be able to understand it. However the book does not assume a great deal of calculus knowledge. If you want to read the book I'd really consider learning some calculus first. Calculus Made Easy is highly recomended, Kleppner also wrote "Quick Calculus" which I'd certain;y assume to fit the bill. even if you haven't taken much high school math I wouldn't be discouraged you do not need "pre-calculus" to take calculus, all you need is basic algebra the rest (including trig) you can learn as you learn calculus.Another option is to just use a different book.
  12. Oct 1, 2010 #11
    about the calculus....
    All i know is about how to differentiate , integrate functions with limits and by substituions...
    I also know the geometrical meanings of the two (eg integration gives area under curve)
    That's all.

    even so i'll still take a deeper course in calculus as many, many things are still to be done.
    will this be enough for the book (kleppner)... i do know the required trig and basic algebra .. i guess.

    The 'another option' of yours seems to ring a bell!! :biggrin:
    (and seemingly my mind fits into PSSC physics and H &R)
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2010
  13. Oct 2, 2010 #12
    All the books mentioned in this thread are used for first year physics in good universities, use whatever clicks with you. I just wanted to give my opinion on the math Kleppner requires.
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