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Who uses University Physics by Young?

  1. Jan 22, 2010 #1
    Is it just me or is this book complete ****? I've only read the second chapter on velocity and acceleration but it's horrible. The examples use algebraic formulas and are nothing like the assigned problems. I remember one the questions asks to find the initial velocity and initial position of a function [itex]x(t)=a + b\cdot t - c\cdot t^2[/itex], where a is initial position, b is initial velocity, and c is initial acceleration.

    The book doesn't mention what a, b, and c are. Instead, it's left up to the reader to magically figure it out? I don't know how a student can be expected to learn from this textbook when everything is obtuse.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 22, 2010 #2
    Sometimes getting started is difficult until you see an approach.

    This problem is as straightforward as a problem gets. Just recall that velocity is the derivative of positon with respect to time and you'll be on your way to a quick solution. Other portions of the text may be quite obtuse....good luck, don't give up.
  4. Jan 22, 2010 #3
    I hate how the example problems are completely worthless. In my calculus and chemistry textbooks, there are a few good example problems for each subsection in a chapter. In this book, there is one half-assed example that uses no calculus and is nothing like the problems at the end. I can't believe this is 1. a $200 book 2. so "highly" recommended and 3. required for this course.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  5. Jan 22, 2010 #4
    I used this book in my intro physics courses and I also read various other books at that level. The thing that at level there is only one book that has many different cover. I think Young UP is good for what it is. If you want a real mechanics text use. An Introduction To Mechanics (Hardcover)by Daniel Kleppner.

    As for that problem the point is to make you think about dimensional analysis. it is a nice intro exercise.
  6. Jan 22, 2010 #5


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    Initial means t=0. Position is x, velocity is dx/dt. a, b, c are numbers that don't depend on time. Give your answer in terms of a, b and c.

    Yes, it's horrible that it costs $200. I'd bet Young would agree.
  7. Jan 22, 2010 #6
    I'm currently using it for E&M. I felt the exact same way about it as you did when studying mechanics. My best advice would be to use wikipedia, and wolfram science world to "compare" explanations with the ones provided by the book.
  8. Jan 22, 2010 #7
    I had to get the book as well but it had the accompanying online homework called "mastering physics" that came with it. It was part of our curriculum so we had to do it but I eventually realized the example problems in the book were pretty much the "hold your hand" type even though they were very ideal and limited, while the mastering physics problems, while still ideal and still having a sense of heavy guidance, were much better suited to the task of allowing you to practice real test problems. The teacher would even occasionally put a question or two reworded from the online homework onto the test. I don't know how it would work if you weren't supposed to get it but it's worth looking into. Or perhaps the solutions manual for the chapter problems.

    Another thing, I used in ap chem a chemistry book that had example problems that were pretty much cut and paste to the ones in the chapter problems. Physics isn't going to be like that at all (mine certainly wasn't), so don't expect it to be. That was my initial mistaken assumption.
  9. Jan 25, 2010 #8


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    University Physics aims to introduce you to physics at the university level. That means, unlike (some of) high school, that you will have to think about problems, instead of looking up some formulae and plug in numbers, or copying a worked example.

    All information to solve this problem is contained in the chapter.
  10. Jan 25, 2010 #9
    If you want an alternative, I like Tipler's book. However, Young/Freedman is a standard text and is self contained for most of its problems. Your first physics course is meant to introduce you to analytical thinking and problem solving skills(which can not be taught from any text, nor teacher) so instead of blaming your text, you should put more effort into absorbing and reflecting on the material.
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