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Physics for Scientists and Engineers (with PhysicsNOW and InfoTrac) 6th Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0534408428
ISBN-10: 0534408427
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Editorial Reviews


"Prior to the adoption of this book (PHYSICS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS, 5th edition), the textbook was FUNDAMENTALS OF PHYSICS by Halliday and Resnick. Although Halliday and Resnick's book was the textbook chosen by the Physics Department, many students were observed by the faculty to be studying from Serway's book. The students had acquired old used versions of the Serway book, and they were actively studying out of this book rather than the prescribed textbook. Serway's book became our students' popular choice. The Physics Department, recognizing this, adopted a "give them what they want" attitude, and accordingly Serway's book was made the textbook for the calculus-based undergraduate physics course."

"Some of the general things I look for are the end-of-chapter questions and problems, and the quality of explanations. Feedback from students is also important--past students have given Serway more favorable reviews...another reason we went with Serway this semester."

"Quick Quizzes are a really good component. Pitfall Preventions answered a number of my criticisms of the text. I am very pleased with the overall emphasis on conceptual understanding. I have been very pleased with Serway. I have no expectations of switching texts in the near future."

"Would I use this text for my classes, both Engineers and Honors students? I certainly would."

"Finally, I would like to add that my son is taking high school physics. He is using the non-calculus version of the text. He likes the book and he tells me that his fellow students do also."

About the Author

Raymond A. Serway received his doctorate at Illinois Institute of Technology and is Professor Emeritus at James Madison University. In 2011, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from his alma mater, Utica College. He received the 1990 Madison Scholar Award at James Madison University, where he taught for 17 years. Dr. Serway began his teaching career at Clarkson University, where he conducted research and taught from 1967 to 1980. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award at Clarkson University in 1977 and the Alumni Achievement Award from Utica College in 1985. As Guest Scientist at the IBM Research Laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland, he worked with K. Alex Müller, 1987 Nobel Prize recipient. Dr. Serway also was a visiting scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, where he collaborated with his mentor and friend, the late Sam Marshall. In addition to PHYSICS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS, Dr. Serway is the coauthor of PRINCIPLES OF PHYSICS, Fifth Edition; COLLEGE PHYSICS, Ninth Edition; ESSENTIALS OF COLLEGE PHYSICS; MODERN PHYSICS, Third Edition; and the high school textbook PHYSICS, published by Holt McDougal. In addition, Dr. Serway has published more than 40 research papers in the field of condensed matter physics and has given more than 60 presentations at professional meetings. Dr. Serway and his wife Elizabeth enjoy traveling, playing golf, fishing, gardening, singing in the church choir, and especially spending quality time with their four children, nine grandchildren, and a recent great-grandson.

John W. Jewett, Jr., earned his undergraduate degree in physics at Drexel University and his doctorate at Ohio State University, specializing in optical and magnetic properties of condensed matter. Dr. Jewett began his academic career at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, where he taught from 1974 to 1984. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Physics at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Through his teaching career, Dr. Jewett has been active in promoting science education. In addition to receiving four National Science Foundation grants, he helped found and direct the Southern California Area Modern Physics Institute (SCAMPI) and Science IMPACT (Institute for Modern Pedagogy and Creative Teaching). Dr. Jewett's honors include the Stockton Merit Award at Richard Stockton College in 1980, selection as Outstanding Professor at California State Polytechnic University for 1991-1992, and the Excellence in Undergraduate Physics Teaching Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) in 1998. In 2010, he received an Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award from Drexel University in recognition of his contributions in physics education. He has given over 100 presentations both domestically and abroad, including multiple presentations at national meetings of the AAPT. Dr. Jewett is the author of THE WORLD OF PHYSICS: MYSTERIES, MAGIC, AND MYTH, which provides many connections between physics and everyday experiences. In addition to his work on PHYSICS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS, he is the coauthor for PRINCIPLES OF PHYSICS, Fifth Edition, as well as GLOBAL ISSUES, a four-volume set of instruction manuals in integrated science for high school. Dr. Jewett enjoys playing keyboard with his all-physicist band, traveling, and collecting antique quack medical devices that can be used as demonstration apparatus in physics lectures. Most importantly, he relishes spending time with his wife Lisa and their children and grandchildren.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1408 pages
  • Publisher: Brooks Cole; 6 edition (July 21, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0534408427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0534408428
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.8 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #622,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book has its ups and downs.

Like another reviewer mentioned, this book is very verbose and unnecessarily full of pictures that are not helpful.

Concepts are often very poorly worded. Just because I'm an EE undergrad doesn't mean I like to decipher sentences that appear to be paragraphs at first glance. After 4 commas, two dashes, and a colon, I no longer have any interest in net-torque on a cylinder. A subtitle of "for scientists and engineers" is not an excuse to write in indecipherable technical terms.

There are easier ways to explain things.

Ultimately, I think this book fails for the same reason most physics books and professors fail: it is written by and for people with a natural gift for physics. For the other 98% of the world, it might as well be greek.

While a thorough reference and good guide for physically-inclined folk, this is a very difficult book for first year undergrads to use.

I would opt for a different textbook if I had the chance.
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Format: Hardcover
This was the required text for a course I TAed. I found the text useful for preparing my own lectures, as it often reminded me of ideas I would have 'taken for granted' among my students, although I found derivations often uncompelling and examples often glossing over subtle points. Also, examples and homework problems seemed predominantly to explore only straightforward applications of course concepts. I imagine, however, that many students at this level (freshmen bio, geo, and non-science majors) would prefer this kind of treatment, which is why, considering also this text's clarity and simplicity of presentation, I gave the above four star rating.
Students who consider themselves more analytically inclined would be wise to consult instead Purcell. In fewer words Purcell describes E&M more clearly and more completely, with interesting examples and homework problems which evoke a fuller understanding of the theory.
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Format: Hardcover
When Serway and Jewett confuse me, I read an older Physics book that I have. For an expensive scientific textbook, I would expect less ambiguous writing. Perhaps I am too critical when reading.

A quick example in chapter 20: " . . .we explore more details about heat as a means of energy transfer and consider two other transfer methods that are often related to temperature changes - convection ( a form of matter transfer) and electromagnetic radiation." At first, I thought convection and radiation might be another form of energy transfer that is not heat nor work. I really don't know what they are trying to say. Latter in the section they say radiation is the transfer of energy.

I waste hours in each chapter trying to decipher the ambiguity. Also, The mixture of text with resolving equations is tedious. I would rather have the concepts explained and then have the equations derived. I would rather spend less money and receive less color printing. Most of the color pictures are a waste of space; I think about all of the superfluous pictures and verbose text whenever I lift this heavy book. On the plus side, the quick quizzes are helpful. I bookmark the answer page and check my progress of understanding as I read the chapter.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is by the far the worse physics book for a introductory college course. It states in the introduction that it is the best introductory physics book out there that will help anyone who has not taken physics. However, I disagree. The examples are very limited, and the problems are by far difficult. If one improvement was suggested to author, I would ask him to write in plain laidpack English before getting technical with much of the terms. In other words, Mr Serway please write it in plain English for just not the really bright people to understand, but also for the ones who have absolutely no experience in physics before. Plus, add some humor into the book to excite the studuent and keep the student interested. The jokes should be related to physics, of course but if you were to write another book I suggest you grab Mr. Paul Hewitt to help you write the conceptual part. He's examples are very clean and in English. He included comics for the student to see it more clearly.

Overall, this book is not really that great... the problems are harder than the book saids.
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Format: Hardcover
Wow. The book was so illustrated and so colourful, I got distracted. And, boy, do they like to write...I guess it also combats illiteracy!

I foresee a crucial change in forthcoming editions: the style of the guy's pants in the elevator will go out of fashion and they will have to issue a new edition (it will cost more, however, because printing technology will allow you to see the guy in 3D).

I personally find the "features" in these American-style textbooks to be nothing but distractions. Besides, the level of physics students went down, not up, as physicists will tell you. So how are the pedagogical "features" helping? Accordingly, in truth, the level of the books went down. The reality is that they're targeting a certain niche market here, keep that in mind. Granted, this book has been around. But, for real, it's overpriced and if that is what they made you buy, well, I'm sorry. On the bright side, you could be using Halliday's, in which case you'd be even worse off. Seriously though, this book is representative of a slew of books that are full of fluff and overpriced.

If you feel adventurous, get yourself something with less colour and more math, straight out of the 70s, like Alonso and Finn, or McKelvey and Grotch. I garantee you will get to calculate the apparent weight of fishes in elevators. Besides, come to think of it, hey, all the good math and physics books from Springer and Kluwer are in black-and-white!
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