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My first book on physics
vanity | 07/10/2008 | Free Me

Posted on 07/10/2008 6:51:50 PM PDT by free me

My wife just took up an interest in physics. What would be a good book for her to start with?

I've never posted a vanity thread before, but I'm sure there is no better people to ask than my fine freeper friends.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!!


TOPICS: Books/Literature; Education; Science
KEYWORDS: physics
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1 posted on 07/10/2008 6:51:50 PM PDT by free me
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To: free me

Relativity by Einstein might be a good choice.


2 posted on 07/10/2008 6:56:14 PM PDT by Farmer Dean (168 grains of instant conflict resolution)
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To: free me
By "took an interest," do you mean she is interested in something like a textbook or a more popular read?

(However, regardless of your answer, I think "The Feynman Lectures on Physics" would be a good choice. They are well written and enjoyable to read. They explain topics very well while capturing the wonder - and eventually get into some math.)
3 posted on 07/10/2008 6:57:38 PM PDT by kc8ukw
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To: free me
What are her math skills like? Does she know calculus or would she be better served with a more pop physics kind of book?

My personal favorites are the The Feynman Lectures on Physics volumes I, II and II

4 posted on 07/10/2008 6:57:41 PM PDT by chaos_5
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To: Farmer Dean

Thank you. Is there a book that maybe explains what the study of physics is and where the field stand today?


5 posted on 07/10/2008 6:58:40 PM PDT by free me
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To: free me

How advanced and which physics? Classical, Quantum, Relativity? Maybe a book on the history of physics?


6 posted on 07/10/2008 6:58:41 PM PDT by LeGrande
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To: free me

I’m not sure, but if she finds this, let me know.

How can an insect fly around inside a car that is going 75 miles an hour? Or something dropped inside the car goes straight down. How is the outside the moving vehicle the only thing that is affected?

I know it has something to do with the Theory of Relativity, but I don’t know enough about it to answer that riddle for myself.


7 posted on 07/10/2008 6:59:20 PM PDT by autumnraine
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To: chaos_5

Oh no, we both said the same thing! Those books do use quite a bit of calculus after the first few chapters though, don’t they?


8 posted on 07/10/2008 6:59:33 PM PDT by kc8ukw
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To: free me

“Physics” is a very broad subject covering everything from gravity to how light refracts through a lens to how a pendulum works to quantum physics. Unless your wife has at least a minor in math, stay away from any college level books.


9 posted on 07/10/2008 7:01:27 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
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To: kc8ukw
and eventually get into some math.

Some math? I too think that they are great but there is a lot of math : ) Some of Feymans books are very funny and great reads.

10 posted on 07/10/2008 7:01:28 PM PDT by LeGrande
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To: kc8ukw

Thank you. I have warned her about the math. She is certainly capable but I think to start with the “pop physics” route is the way to go for now.


11 posted on 07/10/2008 7:02:00 PM PDT by free me
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To: kc8ukw
Oh no, we both said the same thing! Those books do use quite a bit of calculus after the first few chapters though, don’t they?

When I was in high school, we used Giancoli's physics textbook, which only required algebra. The AP kids used Tipler's books.

12 posted on 07/10/2008 7:02:50 PM PDT by rabscuttle385 (Off balance sheet liabilities...they're not just for Enron anymore!)
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To: autumnraine
How can an insect fly around inside a car that is going 75 miles an hour? Or something dropped inside the car goes straight down. How is the outside the moving vehicle the only thing that is affected?

They are all relative motion, but have nothing to do with the Theory of Relativity : )

13 posted on 07/10/2008 7:05:23 PM PDT by LeGrande
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To: free me

“Seven ideas that shook the universe”

I bought the book in College in the 80s...still relevant today.


14 posted on 07/10/2008 7:05:37 PM PDT by Malsua
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To: free me
With much less math - hopefully this isn't insulting, but when I was a preceptor for a physics class for advanced 8-10 grade students we used Physics for Poets as the textbook. It's more tilted toward modern physics - which is fun to think about. Much more fun than ball rolling down plane.
15 posted on 07/10/2008 7:05:54 PM PDT by kc8ukw
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To: free me

At what level is she starting? Is she interested in the subject as an academic type interest or a personal pursuit?

This will let people know what books would fit her specific interest.

All the best!
DK


16 posted on 07/10/2008 7:09:42 PM PDT by Dark Knight
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To: kc8ukw

Space Child’s Mother Goose. Frederick Windsor.


17 posted on 07/10/2008 7:10:29 PM PDT by CH3CN
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To: free me
If you can find it, Isaac Asimov’s ‘Understanding Physics’ (three volume edition) is an easy read for basic Newtonian physics, including the all-too-important 2nd Law of Thermodynamics ;-)
18 posted on 07/10/2008 7:11:36 PM PDT by 50cal Smokepole
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To: free me

Halliday & Resnick

These books were used by all students who went for a BS in any school.


19 posted on 07/10/2008 7:11:46 PM PDT by MASS-2 FAC
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To: free me
That depends are you looking for a good first semester college physics text?

In that case I've always been partial to the Halliday and Resnick text. It's calculus based and the examples are great. And I just think it's formatted better.

If you're looking for an eclectic mix the Feynman lectures on Physics are wonderful. There is some history of mathematics stuff in there that makes you realize that Feynman wasn't just brilliant he could break stuff down and render it understandable.

On the same note if you're looking for some understanding of Quantum Mechanics Feynman's QED is a great read explaining the essence of Quantum Electrodynamics to the lay person.

And if you like the lay person's type of guide to Quantum Mechanics then the book GHOST IN THE ATOM is a nice synopsis of what the argument is all about in quantum mechanics. I believe it was based on a series of interviews broadcast on the BBC.

Finally if you don't want to tackle calculus (which by the way isn't that bad and is the only way to really understand what is going on in physics) I believe the Giancoli series has an algebra only based text. But the real beauty of how classical physics works will be lost and your understanding will be choppy.

20 posted on 07/10/2008 7:12:00 PM PDT by stig
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To: free me
Isaac Asimov (deceased), Had a series of paperback books called, Understanding Physics....a very good set of books.
21 posted on 07/10/2008 7:12:00 PM PDT by skinkinthegrass (If you aren't "advancing" your arguments,your losing "the battle of Ideas"...libs,hates the facts 8^)
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To: free me

Physics is so huge and broad. But if I wanted to take a first step I would go to a “Dummie” book first:

http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Dummies-Math-Science/dp/0764554336/ref=pd_sim_b_2


22 posted on 07/10/2008 7:13:54 PM PDT by LiberConservative ("Typical" white guy)
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To: Dark Knight

It’s a personal persuit.


23 posted on 07/10/2008 7:14:20 PM PDT by free me
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To: LeGrande

Ok, that’s good to know. I will study relative motion.

Thank you!


24 posted on 07/10/2008 7:14:30 PM PDT by autumnraine
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To: chaos_5

“pop physics”

Could I have substituted that for Physics 101?


25 posted on 07/10/2008 7:15:21 PM PDT by Rebelbase (Black dogs and bacon bombs.)
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To: Farmer Dean

The “Feynman Lectures on Physics” is the all-time classic. Caltec owns rights to his books, probably available through Amazon, but much can be found on-line through a search on the quotes. Einstein’s books require too much knowledge in mathematics like the Taylor Series Transform for most to begin to understand. The Feynmann Lectures were more of a classical physics for the non-physics PHD.


26 posted on 07/10/2008 7:16:18 PM PDT by MtnClimber (http://www.jeffhead.com/obama/nobamanation-sticker.jpg)
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To: free me

Buy low, sell high.

Whoops, wrong thread, but it’s still good advice.


27 posted on 07/10/2008 7:16:24 PM PDT by Drango (A liberal's compassion is limited only by the size of someone else's wallet.)
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To: free me

http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Physics/index.htm

It’s free but OMG it’s hard.


28 posted on 07/10/2008 7:18:52 PM PDT by Drango (A liberal's compassion is limited only by the size of someone else's wallet.)
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To: free me
Physics for Dummies

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Physics

This my sound silly, but they provide a good overview of the topics, and are at the beginner's level

29 posted on 07/10/2008 7:19:39 PM PDT by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: free me
I personally like Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe. You can read the book or watch the DVD series. He talk about the theories of general relativity, quantum mechanics and the unified field theory. If your looking for something that involves no math.
30 posted on 07/10/2008 7:19:54 PM PDT by wallace144
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To: All

Thanks everyone. I knew I would get the best and most exhaustive advice here.

I now must read about 15 books to keep ahead of the MRS.


31 posted on 07/10/2008 7:20:34 PM PDT by free me
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To: free me

After almost ten years on Free Republic and just posting your first vanity post, I’d say you’ve overcome the law of inertia.:-0


32 posted on 07/10/2008 7:22:11 PM PDT by Paul Heinzman (OMG, can we please stop being so judgmental and assigning blame here?)
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To: kc8ukw
LOL, so we did!

Yeah, they do require some math skills. =o)

I think someone who is at least good at algebra would be OK with Newtonian physics, and classical mechanics. Electricity and Magnetism are going to need some calculus, especially when dealing with flux thorough a curved surfaces in 3D space. After that, Quantum Mechanics needs strong math skills. The wave equations deal with complex numbers, and the math gets very difficult.

33 posted on 07/10/2008 7:22:47 PM PDT by chaos_5
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To: Paul Heinzman

Great, now I have to look up the “law of intertia”!!

JK/thanks!


34 posted on 07/10/2008 7:23:49 PM PDT by free me
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To: kc8ukw

I agree with the Feynman lectures.


35 posted on 07/10/2008 7:23:51 PM PDT by Kirkwood
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To: free me

How about “Physics in a Male Patriarchal Society from a Feminine Perspective in a Modernistic Sustainable Environment”?


36 posted on 07/10/2008 7:24:21 PM PDT by windsorknot
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To: free me

Find a good book on Newtonian mechanics. If one starts any higher it’s like trying to run a marathon before you can run a mile.


37 posted on 07/10/2008 7:24:26 PM PDT by oldleft
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To: free me

Find a good book on Newtonian mechanics. If one starts any higher it’s like trying to run a marathon before you can run a mile.


38 posted on 07/10/2008 7:24:27 PM PDT by oldleft
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To: Rebelbase
LOL, maybe.

I was referring to books like “The Universe in a Nutshell” and others like that.

39 posted on 07/10/2008 7:24:37 PM PDT by chaos_5
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To: windsorknot

Oh MY!


40 posted on 07/10/2008 7:25:34 PM PDT by free me
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To: LeGrande
They are all relative motion, but have nothing to do with the Theory of Relativity : )

Well, we could rephrase the question. What if the car was traveling at .75c and the fly had a wrist watch? LOL

41 posted on 07/10/2008 7:28:33 PM PDT by chaos_5
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To: free me

physics is the study of?


42 posted on 07/10/2008 7:28:54 PM PDT by mdittmar (May God watch over those who serve,and have served,to keep us free)
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To: chaos_5

hmmmm, The Mrs. is a telecommunications professional. Perhaps Newtonian is the way to start,

I’ll be showing her this thread tommorow,we’ll see what happens.

Thanks for the input!


43 posted on 07/10/2008 7:29:40 PM PDT by free me
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To: free me

I am a college student studying physics and mathematics.

I am not going to recommend a book, but instead some very excellent videos.

One of the best physics “teaching” professors in the world was featured in the NY Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/19/education/19physics.html

His video lectures are available for free from the MIT here:
Physics I:
http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Physics/8-01Physics-IFall1999/VideoLectures/index.htm
Physics II:
http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Physics/8-02Electricity-and-MagnetismSpring2002/VideoAndCaptions/index.htm

These lectures are the first year of college physics. The demonstrations in these videos are very entertaining as well. Good luck!


44 posted on 07/10/2008 7:30:21 PM PDT by camerakid400 (Oy Gevalt)
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To: mdittmar

Now now, we all know what Physics is.


45 posted on 07/10/2008 7:31:12 PM PDT by free me
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To: free me

I recall a pretty good physics book that was gentle on the math side called “Physics for the Life Sciences” by Alan Cromer. As the name implies, it was written for someone with a biomedical interest, but who doesn’t need the heavy math going into the calculus, differential equations, and such. It should be out of print by now, but you might be able to pick it up used.


46 posted on 07/10/2008 7:33:38 PM PDT by Kirkwood
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To: free me

The Tao of Physics.

The Matter Myth

Super Strings and the Theory of Everything

A Brief History of Time

Cosmos


47 posted on 07/10/2008 7:34:44 PM PDT by Soliton (Investigate, study, learn, then express an opinion)
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To: autumnraine
How can an insect fly around inside a car that is going 75 miles an hour? Or something dropped inside the car goes straight down. How is the outside the moving vehicle the only thing that is affected?

Everything inside the car, including the air molecules, are all traveling at 75mph.

The air, and the insect, are not even aware that they are moving as they are not experiencing any friction with the road or the outside air.

On the other hand, the car tires and windshield are experiencing considerable friction with the unmoving roadway and outside air.

48 posted on 07/10/2008 7:36:22 PM PDT by iowamark
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To: free me

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene.
In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat by John Gribbon.


49 posted on 07/10/2008 7:36:58 PM PDT by kellyrae
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To: free me

I flunked out of a computer repair class in the 80’s,darn zenor diods.


50 posted on 07/10/2008 7:37:16 PM PDT by mdittmar (May God watch over those who serve,and have served,to keep us free)
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