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What is the Best College Physics Text?

  1. Jun 10, 2007 #1
    I am looking to buy some more Physics texts to enrich my library. Based on your experience, what do you think is the best Physics text(s) (the one(s) that explains things the clearest)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 10, 2007 #2
    Also, are there any texts that you specifically recommend be avoided in a search for good Physics texts?

  4. Jun 10, 2007 #3


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    Physics is a field, not a specific subject. There are dozens of textbooks, comprising fifteen years' worth of material, which could all be considered clear and easy to follow. You might want to provide a specific subject, like "special relativity" or "statistical mechanics."

    - Warren
  5. Jun 10, 2007 #4
    I have been using Halliday and Resnick's Fundamentals of Physics. It covers a wide range of fundamental topics. The text it well thought out, imo, and provides a clear, step-by-step learning process.

    Here is a link
    http://he-cda.wiley.com/WileyCDA/HigherEdTitle/productCd-0471216437,courseCd-PH1200.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  6. Jun 11, 2007 #5
    Thanks, Saladsamurai, I have looked at the link and will take this into consideration. Also, what is "imo"; I'm new to this forum thing so I don't quite know all the abbreviations.

    In reply to chroot's comment: I am looking for a first-year college text that would be used in a Calculus-based Physics 1 and Physics 2 class. Also, does anyone know of an Electricity and Magnetism text that is easy to follow? I have never taken an EM class, but I have heard that they tend to be very abstract and difficult.
  7. Jun 11, 2007 #6


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    Halliday and Resnick is indeed the clear choice, in my opinion.

    - Warren
  8. Jun 11, 2007 #7
    First year courses tend to recommend the likes of Young & Freedman's University Physics: big fat bulky pretty glossy textbooks with a bit of everything in them - I REALLY REALLY wouldn't bother with books like these... they are just far too soft and waffly and you'll find the math half-arsed and wishy-washy....
    A good book to buy would be a beginner to intermediate mechanics / dynamics textbook...
    Kleppner & Kolenkow cover pretty much all of first year dynamics and then there's Marion & Thornton which is at a slightly higher level but still probably accessible to anyone with a bit of calculus...

    If you're keen on physics i don't understand how you're gonna get away from E&M.... http://orca.phys.uvic.ca/~tatum/elmag.html serves to introduce the subject.. if you want to look at first/second year material then: Grant & Phillips - Electromagnetism, or something along those lines (use Amazon 'look inside' and search for similar books)
  9. Jun 11, 2007 #8
    Halliday & Resnick is precisely the type of book i spoke of above... very pretty but bloody annoying!

    But, it does seem to have everything in it that you are lookin' for...
    Kleppner & Kolenkow is so much more enjoyable though and it probably wouldn't cost a great deal extra to buy both this and an E&M book as separate resources
  10. Jun 12, 2007 #9
    Thanks guys. I do own University Physics by Young and Freedman. I will gladly look into these other resources you all have given me.

    Thanks again.
  11. Jun 12, 2007 #10


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    Stay away from Knight, "Physics for Scientists and Engineers." The guy means well, but it just doesn't work for me. He's to wordy and yet somehow ends up still not explaining everything well enough.

    I reccommend Halliday and Resnick as well. Also, for a good Modern Physics Text(200 Level) I recommend Serway, Moses, Moyer, "Modern Physics."
  12. Jun 12, 2007 #11
    I have a Beer and Johnston Statics and Dynamics 7th Edition text. I think it's very colorful and filled with great illustrations. Unfortunately, the example problems are not sufficient for mastering the concepts and leave the student hanging on the homework problems. Also, I think the book's proof of the projection of moment vectors is absolutely terrible; they use vector algebra (mixed triple product) and don't explain themselves very clearly. Also, I think their introduction of the dot product for three dimensions could be developed with a little more motivation and thoroughness. All that to say this, does anyone know of a better Statics and Dynamics (or just Statics) text that explains things with a little more motivation and clarity?
  13. Jun 15, 2007 #12
    I had Halliday & Resnick in school which was very good. Recently I obtained a used (but great condition) set of "Physics for Engineers and Scientists", vols 1& 2, Douglas C. Giancoli, which I like even better. I purchased them to go with MIT's "Electricity and Magnetism" 8.02 open courseware class http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Physics/8-02Electricity-and-MagnetismSpring2002/CourseHome/index.htm [Broken] Actually, MIT 8.02 only uses vol 2 but I liked it so much that I bought the first volume to complete the set. Giancoli has lots of VERY clear, step-by-step, illustrated, example calculations which is important to my way of learning. The books also have plenty of excellent illustrations and a large, well designed, set of problems for each topic.

    If you want a great, yet relatively inexpensive, undergraduate textbook on Electrodynamics I'd recommend "Introduction to Electrodynamics" by David J. Griffiths.

    Last, but certainly not least, at the undergrad level, I highly recommend Richard Feynman's 3 volume set, "Lectures in Physics". The paperback version of this classic isn't too expensive. If you've never experienced Feynman then you are in for a real treat! My set is marked up with many of my own eureka moments that his teaching always seems to produce. I also own the audio recordings that this set is based on. There's nothing better (or more dangerous) than driving down the highway listening to Feynman elaborate on some subtle and profound aspect of physical science.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  14. Jun 15, 2007 #13
    Thanks, jackiefrost. By the way, what is the ISBN for Richard Feynman's 3 volume set titled "Lectures in Physics"?

    Here are two links to Barnes and Noble's website that will take you to the Feynman's series that I found. Would you please let me know if these are the ones you're talking about?



    Is this the Haliday & Resnick text you're talking about? http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?ATH=Halliday+&+Resnick&z=y

    also, is this the Electrodynamics text you're talking about, or are you refering to another edition? http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780138053260&itm=1

    Thanks again, jackiefrost.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2007
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