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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2002
This is a terrible book if you are trying to learn fundamentals of calculus based physics. First of all, there are very few examples in each chapter. And if an example is solved, it lacks steps and details.
If you are planning to take advanced courses or MCAT after using this book, well, good luck. Most of us had to use this book because it was required. Rule of thumb for Math and Physics students, it is not something that can be rote memorized. You actually have to see the worked-out problems and try to solve them yourselves. If a book doesn't contain enough examples (like this one), you are one a slippery downward slope. You may be able to get an A by memorizing every word but you won't learn anything. If you're stuck with this book because it is required, start signing up for tutoring sessions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Physics for Scientists and Engineers makes for an excellent addition to one's scientific library as well as an invaluable resource tool.
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11 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2002
No matter how you look at it, any Calculus-based Physics text is difficult to understand. But this text somehow makes it even harder. There are almost no proofs for the formulas provided, and very little explanation. Lots of important information (which should be in the body of the text) is actually included in the examples. Even the examples are bad--some of them show the steps used in solving a problem, but most don't--they just skip to the answer.
When I first started my Physics class my teacher told us we wouldn't get credit for any problem we did that was done like the book. I think it's a basic rule in Physics, Calculus, even Algebra that you should show your intermediate steps to allow others to understand what you're doing. In a textbook this is especially true, but the authors here totally disregard this rule.
I have not yet encountered a really good book on this subject, but I do know that this will be one textbook I'll be selling as soon as I possibly can. It just isn't that helpful. The one thing I did like were the different levels of problems--you could always see how difficult a problem was before you undertook it. Other than that, I'm not very satisfied with the book.
Most people who buy this book won't have a choice--it will be for a class. If you can't avoid it, my apologies. If you can, keep looking--there's got to be a good Calculus-based Physics text out there somewhere.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2004
I am not sure whether this text is worthwile having in conjunction with a physics course. It is, however, wonderful for self instruction. The author often shows several different ways you can see the same concept, which defefinately helps you gain a deep understanding of physics. The prose is clear and organized. The author is constantly showing you phenomena related to whatever Serway may be talking about to help foster your curiousity (though that may be unecessary). I recommend you get the two seperate volumes. This one is HUGE and heavy. That is my only criticism. Half the book is problems. The problems are excellent and sometimes require deep thought. I learned college physics this way, and am only in middle school. This book really has all you need.
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23 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2003
For undergraduates in the physical sciences (Physics, Astronomy, Engineering, Computer Science, Math, and Chemistry), this book is great. If someone has a good math background in Trig and Calculus they should be able to understand almost everything. Where I think it may fail is in its application for undergraduates in the Life Sciences (Biology, possibly Psychology if they are hard-core enough to take a physics class). Half of all science majors are Biology majors, and it's not fair that they have to read the same text that physical science undergraduates read. Most biology programs do not require trigonometry to be taken, so a biology major will quickly be lost reading this book.
Also, life scientists like me can easily figure out things like optics, but are very confused by the terminology of Physics. For example, in Biology a "cell membrane" is a very understandable term. It's the protein-lipid bilayer that surrounds a cell and is semi-permeable to small molecules. It's common sense---anyone can understand it. But in physics, the terminology in this text is anything but common-sense. I will give you two examples. First they define torque as "the moment-arm of rotation about an axis". I understand rotation about an axis, but what the heck is a "moment arm"? Define that please! Second, they define magnetism as the flux force through a charged area. I understand charges, areas, but flux force? This is why lay people and life scientists hate physics, because the terminology is deliberately arcane. Don't just define the terms, explain them!
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2004
I am not sure about the problems that some of the other users have come in contact with, but I found this text extremely useful. I used the text 3 or 4 years ago, and I still refer to it often. It has such a wide range of topics with excellent descriptions and great example problems. The text is also beneficial to those who are, lets say, mathematically inclined.
Don't forget, the book isn't going to do all of the work for you, you do have to put some effort into it.
The same goes for Volume II
Hope this helped.
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13 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2003
This book would be fine for a student with a very good teacher but, if you have a teacher that is very hard to understand because of his accent ,as in my case, then you need a book that makes it possible to teach yourself and this one is definitely not it!
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2003
Serway does a decent job explaining the concepts but there were few problem examples- and the study guide only went over a few selected problems. The color illustrations were helpful but sometimes Serway would present 13 different forms of the same formula- some with integrals/derivatives, some without, and choosing which form to use was often confusing. I have not been able to sample other physics books, but I am sure there are better choices, although this one isn't too bad. My physics professor for Physics I and II was an interesting fellow, with a twisted sense of humor and a hatred of his own car, as well as this book. I can't say that made class easier, but it certianly made it more interesting.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2003
~~~~~Good:
1) Many visual and applied examples.
2) Problems have levels of difficulty. Enough easy ones to solidfy the basics, plenty of difficult problems to fully understand the concepts, and some challenging problems to make sure you will never forget physics and obscure mathematical concepts you've learned before.
3) Covers all basic fields of physics: mechanics, wave, thermodynamics, eletromagnetism, light, sound, special relativity, and modern physics.
Bad:
1) Great book,~~ but~~ it still lacks some deep theoretical concepts and derivations for hard-core physics majors.
Overall, this book is great preparation for studies in any field of science and engineering. I've used this book in high school to get 5's on E/M & Mech of AP Physics C exams. Now at Caltech, this is still one of the basic reference text books for freshmen physics courses. The effects of this book are everlasting; very worthy investment.~~~~~
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2003
This book is excellent, if u have previous highschool background in most of the topics in the book.. even if u don't u can manage.. but u have to spend more time...
Knowledge of Calculus is a must..... you can get away with not using calculus on tests.. .but then u'd have to memorize formulas...... if u know the calculus.. u can derive most of the experessions needed for the solutions....
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