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Ok the bad rating isn't really about the material inside the book, because that in itself is as good as any other textbook and is really insightful. The rating is more for the lack of updates and the price of this book. For 170 you get pretty much the same things as the 8th edition, with only changes in the problem numbering and their variables. That's it. I have both 8th and 9th editions. The ONLY reason I bought the 9th edition was because of the problem specific questions that were asked in my class that came directly from the book. This edition doesn't even come with the WileyPlus code which is one of the best parts and has so many resources such as videos and detailed explanations. Don't buy this version of the book. Buy a cheap 8th edition and a WileyPlus code if you can.
I've used both Halliday and Giancoli, though the latter I used as a Freshman back in 2002 for first semester physics and the former I used as a post-bac student in 2006/07 when I completed the second semester.
I do have to strongly disagree with previous reviewers that the problems are of a difficulty beyond that of the chapters. I had an amazing teacher, but often I found that a problem wasn't exactly like one he went over in class--which is a good thing as the only way to learn physics meaningfully is to spend long hours working away and trying to figure out a problem until that "aha!" moment. There really is no better way to grasp the fundamentals--and this is extremely important depending on your major (such as engineering).
I also found the text to be lighthearted--something you rarely find in texts these days. There are many problems that made me quietly laugh while in the library, often involving penguins or a jumping armadillo (when I later TA'd physics, my students and I had a discussion on whether armadillo's can actually jump; none of us knew the answer...)
This text really helped me learn physics--I missed two lectures and I was able to still do the problems assigned and understand the material covered on my own, albeit at a much greater investment of time compared to how it would have been had I made it to the lectures. I will agree the text is difficult, but that is the way calculus-based physics should be.
Physics is only ever easy for two reasons--one, because you're following cookie-cutter formulas and the material simply isn't testing your knowledge well enough.Read more ›
It is unfortunate that there exist two groups of people who might read this textbook at some point: Those who enjoy physics and those who need only to pass a physics class (or three) in college. It is easy to appeal to the former, because this book is comprehensive and reads like a novel for the physics-minded. It covers all of the standard topics thoroughly and clearly without getting into overly-specialized topics, hence the title (notice the word 'fundamentals.')
However, sad as it may be, most people are not 'physics-minded.' Even more unfortunate is that almost all criticism will come from disgruntled college students who do not like the textbook because it does not give a fully-worked example for every type of problem ever considered or because they had a hard time in the class. There is a great deeper level of knowledge acquired in finding out for oneself the true nature of a physics concept. The contents of this book allow perfectly for such rewarding study, but let me be clear: YOU HAVE TO WORK FOR IT. An engineering-based physics textbook may give its readers all the material explicitly and easily, and maybe even completely outline how to solve all of the book's problems, but it really doesn't teach anything that pertains to physics as a pure and THEN applied science.
One final note: Some of the problems in this book are very challenging, and are designed to promote thinking beyond the level required from the content of the book's explanations. However, no one expects you to do the 100-or-so problems at the end of every chapter. The first few problems for every subsection are straightforward enough and sufficient to reinforce the concepts of that section. So don't be deterred by the nature of the problems! You could never look at a problem in this book and still get more than from other elementary physics textbooks.
For my first semester of physics in college, I needed to purchase volume 1 of this textbook, which is the only thing my campus bookstore had. But for next semester I would need the second volume. I figured I would just buy this one and use it for both. For anyone wondering if there are any differences between this and just Volume 1, there are exactly 0. The page numbers and problems are exactly the same. I compared Volume 1 with this copy after I got it just to make sure. Definitely consider getting this for multiple semesters of physics.
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While there is probably no one text in any scientific discipline that covers all the bases for that branch of science, "Fundamentals of Physics Extended" comes close for the study of physics. Of course is does not go into the depth that a book on fluid dynamics or quantum mechanics would do for their respective disciplines, it does cover pretty much all subject areas well enough to make those more focused texts approachable while maintaining enough depth to be useful as both an undergraduate text and a reference text for professionals.
There are two facets of the book that really stand out in my opinion. First, if you simply open the book to a random page, you will encounter either a blend of textual material, pictures and diagrams, or problems, lots of problems. The instructive portion of the text looks more like a flashy High School physics text book rather than a dry but profound undergraduate text (sort of like comparing Giancoli with an older Sears, Zemansky, and Young text.) Don't let that distract you, the didactic text explanations are well thought out and focused. Additionally, text does assume that you can follow the math behind the physics and ties the theoretical concepts presented in the text with the necessary calculus based mathematics in lots of worked out examples. The concepts are then reinforced with problem for the student to work out, lots of problem that range from the simple to the more complex.
If there is one weakness, it would be the lack of mathematical rigor. As mentioned, it is assumed that can follow and understand the math. As a result, there are few areas were one can find a clear mathematical derivation from basic first principle relation to the more abstract expressions.Read more ›
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