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Recommended physics ap book?

  1. Oct 7, 2004 #1
    I'm currently in 11th grade, but decided to get physics ap (physics at the college level) and got the result of my first test (59.2)!! =(

    I am currently using the Cutnell and Johnson Physics Sixth Edition book......i was wondering is there a better book than this and if so what is it?

    Thanks in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 7, 2004 #2
    That is an excellent text. I think you should look elsewhere to improve your marks.
  4. Oct 7, 2004 #3


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    I don't know, i personally feel Resnick and Halliday is the best.
  5. Oct 7, 2004 #4
    I used the Cutnell and Johnson fifth edition for gr. 11 physics. I thought it was fairly well done. However, i still recommend the Halliday/Resnick/Walker (which is what i use now, gr. 12 physics). It is quite easy to follow, if that is where you are having trouble. Of course, it is also more advanced. I think that the Cutnell and Johnson should be much more then adequate.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2004
  6. Oct 7, 2004 #5
    Hmm...the problem with Cutnell and Johnson is that it teaches you physics without calculus. Though that is not a wrong approach, it pays to do even a bit of calculus because I think calculus forms a bridge between general highschool physics (most of which is either nonmathematical or based on stuff like ratios and unitary method) and real physics. Indeed it is quite easy to follow but books like Resnick and Halliday and "Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Douglas Giancoli" are better texts for real physics. So I'd recommend either Resnick/Halliday, Resnick/Halliday/Walker or Giancoli right away.

  7. Oct 9, 2004 #6
    What do you think of Giancoli's Physics?
  8. Oct 9, 2004 #7


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    I've never seen giancoli... but recently i saw Zemansky et al, University Physics, i thought it was well done.
  9. Oct 10, 2004 #8

    Chi Meson

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    I teach my AP/IB class using Cutnell & Johson. Yet this text is nearly the same as both Halliday & Resnick, AND Serway & Vaugn (sp). I like allthree equally for algebra based college physics. I dislike Giancoli for this purpose; it is not the best book to use as a first exposure to PHysics.

    One book that will help in conjunction with C&J, is Hewitt's Conceptual Physics. IF you are learning something for the first time, this text does the best I have seen for making the concept straight forward, real, and understandable. OF course it does not go far enough, and you will need to go back to the other text, but if the core of the concept is in place, the "heavier" text will make more sense.
  10. Oct 10, 2004 #9
    Okay do you need a first exposure to physics? Hmm...well I don't know how a very elementary exposure without oversimplification/distortion is possible (especially if you don't know calculus). But yeah if you have your doubts, then perhaps Cutnell and Johnson is a good idea. I still think though that you should try and figure out the little bit of calculus that is part of the general physics text (and if you're going to do mechanics, I can't see how you can manage too much without calculus...I mean are you going to assume all the relationships?).
  11. Oct 10, 2004 #10

    Chi Meson

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    Although I agree with you about calculus-based physics being much, much better than algebra-based physics, it is very rare for a high school student to be ready for the calculus approach. NEarly all publishing companies have an algebra-based and a Calculus based text.

    There is no distortion at all introduced by using algebra, especially since all the algebra solution methods are specific derivations of "special" cases within the calculus approach. The only real drawback is that not all conditions can be examined (time dependant forces and accelerations eg), but that is exactly what advanced physics/ engineering in college is for.

    I am thoroughly convinced that algebra-based physics has its place with the introductory level of physics.
  12. Oct 10, 2004 #11
    Hmm.... I think I'll stick with this book but I need some help with concepts, since I don't want to create another topic I'll post it here. Why is gravity sometimes positive and sometimes negative? because in the book I see an object fall down and its negative then in another example an object is still falling down but it's positive WHY?

    Also, in my test 'The length of the barrel of a blowgun is 1.2 meters. Upon leaving the barrel, a dart has a speed of 14 m/s. Assuming the dart was uniformly accelerated, how long does it take for the dart to travel the length of the barrel?' I know the answer is .17s but on the test i got .086s and i know what I did wrong but I don't quite understand why it's like this. For some reason we had to take the avg speed but i dont understand why?

    Thanks in advance.
    I appreciate your help =)
  13. Oct 10, 2004 #12
    Your first question has been addressed here before. The sign of the gravitational constant depends on the direction you define as positive or negative. Objects on earth are accelerated downwards; if you define the downward direction as positive, than the gravitational constant is positive (an example of a situation where you may do this is if you are considering only the downward motion of a projectile and using kinematics). As long as you are consistent in using signs according to the way you define the directions throughout a given problem, you are ok.

    For the second question: please show us how you arrived at your answer.
  14. Oct 10, 2004 #13
    Dear Chi Meson

    I guess I have to agree with you now that I know there is little or zero exposure to calculus in highschool in your part of the world. In my country however, we are expected to know calculus in grades 11 and 12 (in grade 10 which is called highschool here, we have basic physics--forces, kinematics, momentum, statics, heat, light...no advanced issues though). Though the curriculum does not demand extensive use of calculus, mathematics does and there is no algebra based physics course out here.

  15. Oct 12, 2004 #14

    Chi Meson

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    That sounds wonderful. I would love to be able to teach Physics using calculus. Where are you located (Hmm, "Quantum Corral." Is that like a corral reef in the south pacific?)
  16. Oct 12, 2004 #15


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    I always recommend Resnick & Halliday, as an additional text. I've seen a lot of people use Giancoli - not sure how good it is, though.
  17. Oct 13, 2004 #16
    Haha...not really. I live in North India (where [tex]\frac{d}{dx}[/tex] and [tex]\int[/tex] are considered mere inverse operations).
  18. Oct 14, 2004 #17
    So from what I have heard, there aren't any calculus in beginning physics? I was going to take Physics next year and Pre-Cal at the same time. Do I need to know Pre-Cal before I enter a Physics classroom?
  19. Oct 14, 2004 #18
    Ask the teacher what course he teaches.

    I took Standard Physics last year which uses the most basic algebra and was mostly conceptual.

    This year I'm taking AP Physics B which uses algebra 2 and some pre-calc that you can learn concurrently.

    AP Physics C uses calculus.
  20. Oct 14, 2004 #19


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    General Physics I to III requires Calculus.
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