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The Mechanical Universe: Mechanics and Heat, Advanced Edition

14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521304320
ISBN-10: 0521304326
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Review

This innovative physics textbook intended for science and engineering majors develops classical mechanics from a historical perspective. The presentation of the standard course material includes a discussion of the thought processes of the discoverers and a description of the methods by which they arrived at their theories. However the presentation proceeds logically rather than strictly chronologically, so new concepts are introduced at the natural moment.
The book assumes a familiarity with calculus, includes a discussion of rigid body motion, and contains numerous thought-provoking problems. It is largely based in content on The Mechanical Universe: Introduction to Mechanics and Heat, a book designed in conjunction with a tele-course to be offered by PBS in the Fall of 1985. The advanced edition, however, does not coincide exactly with the video lessons, contains additional material, and develops the fundamental ideas introduced in the lower-level edition to a greater degree. -- Book Description

Book Description

This textbook is aimed at undergraduate students of physics and engineering. Thus the authors go into certain questions more deeply, are more concerned in describing the scientific development and consider more fully the verification, implication and justification of the ideas discussed than in the lower level book.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (March 31, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521304326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521304320
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #949,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By John T. Willis on December 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I came across the Mechanical Universe telecourses after my third year of College and really liked them.
One day I discovered this book, and then had to buy its sequel.
They are awesome in their storytelling ability and in the clarity they bring to some very difficult concepts. The depth of content is simply HUGE, from Integration and Differentiation to Thermodynamics and Quantum Mechanics.. I can't wait for the telecourses to come out on DVD.
In the meantime, Annenburg also sells the series on video tape to consumers, and any books by Goodstein and Apostol who contributed to this book are similarly astounding.
Consider this a recommendation for casual reading, I already had my grades for the college courses and developed my fanaticism "after" school was out.
Trust me these are to Physics and Mathematics, what "Cosmos" was to Astronomy.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I saw the excellent Mechanical Universe Television series while I was in high school and I recently purchased this book. I've just finished reading this book and am simultaneously doing problems in Schaum 3000 Physics problems. This is a great reader to use as it puts the physics in the historical context and traces the reasoning these great scientists used in inducing their conclusions in the first place. The explanations are mostly very clear. Some of the historical interpretations are questionable but they do not detract from the overall value of the historical approach. This is how all physics should be taught.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Chee Lim Cheung on July 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a very good text on mechanics for college physics students. The level is appropriate-not too mathematical and not too theoretical. The basics are well-covered and there are interesting discussions of how such concepts as force, momentum and angular momentum are applied in daily life, e.g, why a boxer "rolls with a punch". The material on heat is not as well discussed as that on mechanics but overall it is a very good text.
The problem sets are thoughtful and stimulating.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Herbert Lukens on March 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I found The Mechanical Universe to be among the best texts on mechanics and heat that I've ever encountered. It is clearly written, gives background material on the development of the subject, builds student knowledge with logical development and orderly progression of subject matter. The inclusion of mathematical fundamentals is well advised. Too often, the student learns his mathematics in separate courses without a sense of its applicability in physics. In The Mechanical Universe, the applications are up front, which is very much to the student's advantage. Beyond that, the book has material not often found in physics texts. For example, I used material from the book's presentation of planetary orbits in writing my book, "Extra-Terrestrial Civilizations in our Neighborhood," which develops a serious estimate of the chances that at least one planet within a thousand light years has an advanced technical civilization. H. Richard Lukens, jr.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Steidl on August 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book may be older than my college-age daughter, but it's still one of the best introductions to elementary physics that you'll find anywhere. Marvelously readable, the authors do a wonderful job of interweaving historical context for the development of the ideas with lucid explanations of the modern understanding.

Be aware that calculus is sprinkled liberally throughout. Fortunately, the authors introduce and explain the calculus they use, and they do it in a way that is not only easy and painless; you actually begin to see why modern physics would not be possible without calculus.

With its highly readable explanations and historical perpective, this book might make a good back-up text for a college student taking Intro Physics. It's also suitable as the backbone of an advanced high school course where the instructor desires to incorporate calculus. In fact, there was a TV series that closely follows the text, minus the calculus, and is targeted at high school students. You can still find it on DVD and VHS (although not from Amazon) but you'll pay $450 to $500 for all 26 (maybe 28?) hours.

Finally, it's perfect if you (like me) went to school too many years ago and would just like to refresh your knowledge of the subject. I know a lot of amateur astronomers who fit in that category! As a bonus, you get a refresher course in calculus along the way.

Note that there is a second volume that dives into electromagnetism as well as quantum mechanics at the same introductory level. There is also an "advanced" version of this book that I have not looked at. Judging from the table of contents, however, it appears to be the same basic material slightly re-organized.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful approach into classical mechanics and heat. It really explains how the physics equations came to be and the thought process of the physicists.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very good service. /excellent exposition and photos printed. Good text. Mathematics levels are acceptable and
the physics lessons follow history.
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