Suggestions on Undergraduate Physics Textbooks

In summary, the speaker is seeking suggestions for an introductory physics textbook for their upcoming college studies. They prefer a book that covers all the basics of physics and is calculus-based, but not too simplified. They mention two potential options, "University Physics with Modern Physics" and "Kleppner - Intro to Mechanics," and recommend checking out various textbooks at a university library to find the best fit.
  • #1
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In a few months I'll be entering college towards a physics degree, and I'm in need of some suggestions for introductory physics textbooks. I'm looking for a book that encompasses all of the basics of physics, but nothing too watered-down. Calculus-based would be nice. Anyone have any suggestions? I've been looking at this one:

University Physics with Modern Physics 12th Edition - Hugh D. Young, Roger A. Freedman
 
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  • #2
I'm going through Morin - Introduction to Classical Mechanics and I like it. It's the book from Harvard's freshman honors physics.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0521876222/?tag=pfamazon01-20

There's also MIT's honors mechanics book, Kleppner - Intro to Mechanics, but I've never used it.
 
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  • #3
I've been using University Physics for self-study, and I'm very satisfied with it. A lot of interesting problems and examples, good organization and exposition of materials, isn't afraid to use some advanced math (it introduces the gradient in Chapter 7, for example, and does some stuff on differential equations in the section on fluid resistance. I haven't seen such material in the Halliday Resnick book), but a beginner to physics can fully understand it. But of course, in the end it's up to your personal preference, as there are many good books out there. Go to an university library and see which fits your style the best.
 

1. What are the most important factors to consider when choosing an undergraduate physics textbook?

When choosing an undergraduate physics textbook, it is important to consider the level of difficulty, the author's writing style, the organization and layout of the book, the inclusion of relevant and up-to-date information, and the availability of supplemental resources such as practice problems and online resources.

2. Are there any specific textbooks that are highly recommended for undergraduate physics students?

There are many highly recommended textbooks for undergraduate physics students, including "University Physics" by Young and Freedman, "Fundamentals of Physics" by Halliday and Resnick, and "Introduction to Classical Mechanics" by David Morin. However, it ultimately depends on the individual student's learning style and the specific course requirements.

3. What are some features to look for in a good undergraduate physics textbook?

A good undergraduate physics textbook should have clear and concise explanations, a good balance between theory and application, plenty of examples and practice problems, and a comprehensive index and glossary. It should also include relevant and up-to-date information, as well as visual aids such as diagrams and illustrations.

4. How can I determine the level of difficulty of an undergraduate physics textbook?

The level of difficulty of an undergraduate physics textbook can be determined by looking at the prerequisites listed, the topics covered, and the level of mathematical rigor. It can also be helpful to read reviews and ask for recommendations from professors or other students who have used the textbook.

5. Is it necessary to stick with the textbook recommended by my professor?

While it is generally recommended to use the textbook recommended by your professor, it is not always necessary. If you find that the recommended textbook does not suit your learning style or is not meeting your needs, you may consider using a different textbook as long as it covers the same topics and is at a similar level of difficulty.

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