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Understanding Physics, 1st Edition

Understanding Physics, 1st Edition (EHEP000405) cover image
Built on the foundations of Halliday, Resnick, and Walker's Fundamentals of Physics Sixth Edition, this text is designed to work with interactive learning strategies that are increasingly being used in physics instruction (for example, microcomputer-based labs, interactive lectures, etc. ). In doing so, it incorporates new approaches based upon Physics Education Research (PER), aligns with courses that use computer-based laboratory tools, and promotes Activity Based Physics in lectures, labs, and recitations.
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CHAPTER 1. Measurement.

1-1 Introduction.

1-2 Basic Measurements in the Study of Motion.

1-3 The Quest for Precision.

1-4 The International System of Units.

1-5 The SI Standard of Time.

1-6 The SI Standards of Length.

1-7 SI Standards of Mass.

1-8 Measurement Tools for Physics Labs.

1-9 Changing Units.

1-10 Calculations with Uncertain Quantities.

CHAPTER 2. Motion Along a Straight Line.

2-1 Motion.

2-2 Position and Displacement Along a Line.

2-3 Velocity and Speed.

2-4 Describing Velocity Change.

2-5 Constant Acceleration : A Special Case.

CHAPTER 3. Forces and Motion Along a Line.

3-1 What Causes Acceleration?

3-2 Newton’s First Law.

3-3 A Single Force and Acceleration Along a Line.

3-4 Measuring Forces.

3-5 Defining and Measuring Mass.

3-6 Newton’s Second Law for a Single Force.

3-7 Combining Forces Along a Line.

3-8 All Forces Result from Interaction.

3-9 Gravitational Forces and Free Fall Motion.

3-10 Newton’s Third Law.

3-11 Comments on Classical Mechanics.

CHAPTER 4. Vectors.

4-1 Introduction.

4-2 Vector Displacements.

4-3 Adding Vectors Graphically.

4-4 Rectangular Vector Components.

4-5 Unit Vectors.

4-6 Adding Vectors Using Components.

4-7 Multiplying and Dividing a Vector by a Scalar.

4-8 Vectors and the Laws of Physics.

CHAPTER 5. Net Force and Two-Dimensional Motion.

5-1 Introduction.

5-2 Projectile Motion.

5-3 Analyzing Ideal Projectile Motion.

5-4 Displacement in Two Dimensions.

5-5 Average and Instantaneous Velocity.

5-6 Average and Instantaneous Acceleration.

5-7 Uniform Circular Motion.

CHAPTER 6. Identifying and Using Forces.

6-1 Combining Everyday Forces.

6-2 Net Force as a Vector Sum.

6-3 Gravitational Force and Weight.

6-4 Contact Forces.

6-5 Drag Force and Terminal Speed.

6-6 Applying Newton’s Laws.

6-7 The Fundamental Forces of Nature.

CHAPTER 7. Translational Momentum.

7-1 Collisions and Explosions.

7-2 Translational Momentum of a Particle.

7-3 Isolated Systems of Particles.

7-4 Impulse and Momentum Change.

7-5 Newton’s Laws and Momentum Conservation.

7-6 Simple Collisions and Conservation of Momentum.

7-7 Conservation of Momentum in Two Dimensions.

7-8 A System with Mass Exchange—A Rocket and Its Ejected Fuel.

CHAPTER 8. Extended Systems.

8-1 The Motion of Complex Objects.

8-2 Defining the Position of a Complex Object.

8-3 The Effective Position—Center of Mass.

8-4 Locating a System’s Center of Mass.

8-5 Newton’s Laws for a System of Particles.

8-6 The Momentum of a Particle System.

CHAPTER 9 Kinetic Energy and Work.

9-1 Introduction.

9-2 Introduction to Work and Kinetic Energy.

9-3 The Concept of Physical Work.

9-4 Calculating Work for Constant Forces.

9-5 Work Done by a Spring Force.

9-6 Work for a One-Dimensional Variable Force—General Considerations.

9-7 Force and Displacement in More Than One Dimension.

9-8 Multiplying a Vector by a Vector:The Dot Product.

9-9 Net Work and Translational Kinetic Energy.

9-10 Power.

CHAPTER 10. Potential Energy and Energy Conservation.

10-1 Introduction.

10-2 Work and Path Dependence.

10-3 Potential Energy as “Stored Work”.

10-4 Mechanical Energy Conservation.

10-5 Reading a Potential Energy Curve.

10-6 Nonconservative Forces and Enegy.

10-7 Conservation of Energy.

10-8 One-Dimensional Energy and Momentum Conservation.

10-9 One-Dimensional Elastic Collisions.

10-10 Two-Dimensional Energy and Momentum Conservation.

CHAPTER 11. Rotation.

11-1 Translation and Rotation.

11-2 The Rotational Variables.

11-3 Rotation with Constant Rotational Acceleration.

11-4 Relating Translational and Rotational Variables.

11-5 Kinetic Energy of Rotation.

11-6 Calculating Rotational Inertia.

11-7 Torque.

11-8 Newton’s Second Law for Rotation.

11-9 Work and Rotational Kinetic Energy.

CHAPTER 12. Complex Rotations.

12-1 About Complex Rotations.

12-2 Combining Translations with Simple Rotations.

12-3 Rotational Variables as Vectors.

12-4 The Vector or Cross Product.

12-5 Torque as a Vector Product.

12-6 Rotational Form of Newton’s Second Law.

12-7 Rotational Momentum.

12-8 The Rotational Momentum of a System of Particles.

12-9 The Rotational Momentum of a Rigid Body Rotating About a Fixed Axis.

12-10 Conservation of Rotational Momentum.

CHAPTER 13 Equilibrium and Elasticity.

13-1 Introduction.

13-2 Equilibrium.

13-3 The Center of Gravity.

13-4 Indeterminate Equilibrium Problems.

13-5 Elasticity.

CHAPTER 14. Gravitation.

14-1 Our Galaxy and the Gravitational Force.

14-2 Newton’s Law of Gravitation.

14-3 Gravitation and Superposition.

14-4 Gravitation in the Earth's Vicinity.

14-5 Gravitation Inside Earth.

14-6 Gravitational Potential Energy.

14-7 Einstein and Gravitation.

CHAPTER 15. Fluids.

15-1 Fluids and the World Around Us.

15-2 What Is a Fluid.

15-3 Pressure and Density.

15-4 Gravitational Forces and Fluids at Rest.

15-5 Measuring Pressure.

15-6 Pascal's Principle.

15-7 Archimedes’ Principle.

15-8 Ideal Fluids in Motion.

15-9 The Equation of Continuity.

15-10 Volume Flux.

15-11 Bernoulli’s Equation.

CHAPTER 16. Oscillations.

16-1 Periodic Motion: An Overview.

16-2 The Mathematics of Sinusoidal Oscillations.

16-3 Simple Harmonic Motion:The Mass–Spring System.

16-4 Velocity and Acceleration for SHM.

16-5 Gravitational Pendula.

16-6 Energy in Simple Harmonic Motion.

16-7 Damped Simple Harmonic Motion.

16-8 Forced Oscillations and Resonance.

CHAPTER 17. Transverse Mechanical Waves.

17-1 Waves and Particles.

17-2 Types of Waves.

17-3 Pulses and Waves.

17-4 The Mathematical Expression for a Sinusoidal Wave.

17-5 Wave Velocity.

17-6 Wave Speed on a Stretched String.

17-7 Energy and Power Transported by a Traveling Wave in a String.

17-8 The Principle of Superposition for Waves.

17-9 Interference of Waves.

17-10 Reflections at a Boundary and Standing Waves.

17-11 Standing Waves and Resonance.

17-12 Phasors.

CHAPTER 18. Sound Waves.

18-1 Sound Waves.

18-2 The Speed of Sound.

18-3 Interference.

18-4 Intensity and Sound Level.

18-5 Sources of Musical Sound.

18-6 Beats.

18-7 The Doppler Effect.

18-8 Supersonic Speeds; Shock Waves.

CHAPTER 19. The First Law of Therodynamics.

19-1 Thermodynamics.

19-2 Thermometers and Temperature Scales.

19-3 Thermal Interactions.

19-4 Heating, Cooling, and Temperature.

19-5 Thermal Energy Transfer to Solids and Liquids.

19-6 Thermal Energy and Work.

19-7 The First Law of Thermodynamics.

19-8 Some Special Cases of the First Law of Thermodynamics.

19-9 More on Temperature Measurement.

19-10 Thermal Expansion.

19-11 More on Thermal Energy Transfer Mechanisms.

CHAPTER 20. The Kinetic Theory of Gases.

20-1 Molecules and Thermal Gas Behavior.

20-2 The Macroscopic Behavior of Gases.

20-3 Work Done by Ideal Gases.

20-4 Pressure,Temperature, and Molecular Kinetic Energy.

20-5 Mean Free Path.

20-6 The Distribution of Molecular Speeds.

20-7 The Molar Specific Heats of an Ideal Gas.

20-8 Degrees of Freedom and Molar Specific Heats.

20-9 A Hint of Quantum Theory.

20-10 The Adiabatic Expansion of an Ideal Gas.

CHAPTER 21. Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

21-1 Some One-Way Processes.

21-2 Change in Entropy.

21-3 The Second Law of Thermodynamics.

21-4 Entropy in the Real World: Engines.

21-5 Entropy in the Real World: Refrigerators.

21-6 Efficiency Limits of Real Engines.

21-7 A Statistical View of Entropy.

CHAPTER 22. Electric Charge.

22-1 The Importance of Electricity.

22-2 The Discovery of Electric Interactions.

22-3 The Concept of Charge.

22-4 Using Atomic Theory to Explain Charging.

22-5 Induction.

22-6 Conductors and Insulators.

22-7 Coulomb’s Law.

22-8 Solving Problems Using Coulomb’s Law.

22-9 Comparing Electrical and Gravitational Frces.

22-10 Many Everyday Forces Are Electrostatic.

CHAPTER 23. Electric Fields.

23-1 Implications of Strong Electric Forces.

23-2 Introduction to the Concept of a Field.

23-3 Gravitational and Electric Fields.

23-4 The Electric Field Due to a Point Charge.

23-5 The Electric Field Due to Multiple Chargs.

23-6 The Electric Field Due to an Electric Dipoe.

23-7 The Electric Field Due to a Ring of Charge.

23-8 Motion of Point Charges in an Electric Field.

23-9 A Dipole in an Electric Field.

23-10 Electric Field Lines.

CHAPTER 24. Gauss’ Law.

24-1 An Alternative to Coulomb’s Law.

24-2 Electric Flux.

24-3 Net Flux at a Closed Surface.

24-4 Gauss’ Law.

24-5 Symmetry in Charge Distributions.

24-6 Application of Gauss’ Law to Symmetric Charge Distributions.

24-7 Gauss’ Law and Coulomb’s Law.

24-8 A Charged Isolated Conductor.

CHAPTER 25. Electric Potential.

25-1 Introduction.

25-2 Electric Potential Energy.

25-3 Electric Potential.

25-4 Equipotential Surfaces.

25-5 Calculating Potential from an E-Field.

25-6 Potential Due to a Point Charge.

25-7 Potential and Potential Energy Due to a Group of Point Charges.

25-8 Potential Due to an Electric Dipole.

25-9 Potential Due to a Continuous Charge Distribution.

25-10 Calculating the Electric Field from the Potential.

25-11 Potential of a Charged Isolated Conductor.

CHAPTER 26. Current and Resistance.

26-1 Introduction.

26-2 Batteries and Charge Flow.

26-3 Batteries and Electric Current.

26-4 Circuit Diagrams and Meters.

26-5 Resistance and Ohm’s Law.

26-6 Resistance and Resistivity.

26-7 Power in Electric Circuits.

26-8 Current Density in a Conductor.

26-9 Resistivity and Current Density.

26-10 A Microscopic View of Current and Resistance.

26-11 Other Types of Conductors.

CHAPTER 27. Circuits.

27-1 Electric Currents and Circuits.

27-2 Current and Potential Difference in Single-Loop Circuits.

27-3 Series Resistance.

27-4 Multiloop Circuits.

27-5 Parallel Resistance.

27-6 Batteries and Energy.

27-7 Internal Resistance and Power.

CHAPTER 28. Capacitance.

28-1 The Uses of Capacitors.

28-2 Capacitance.

28-3 Calculating the Capacitance.

28-4 Capacitors in Parallel and in Series.

28-5 Energy Stored in an Electric Field.

28-6 Capacitor with a Dielectric.

28-7 Dielectrics: An Atomic View.

28-8 Dielectrics and Gauss’ Law.

28-9 RC Circuits.

CHAPTER 29 Magnetic Fields.

29-1 A New Kind of Force?

29-2 Probing Magnetic Interactions.

29-3 Defining a Magnetic Field B.

29-4 Relating Magnetic Force and Field.

29-5 A Circulating Charged Particle.

29-6 Crossed Fields: Discovery of the Electron.

29-7 The Hall Effect.

29-8 Magnetic Force on a Current-Carrying Wire.

29-9 Torque on a Current Loop.

29-10 The Magnetic Dipole Moment.

29-11 The Cyclotron.

CHAPTER 30. Magnetic Fields Due to Currents.

30-1 Introduction.

30-2 Magnetic Effects of Currents—Oersted’s Observations.

30-3 Calculating the Magnetic Field Due to a Current.

30-4 Force Between Parallel Currents.

30-5 Ampère’s Law.

30-6 Solenoids and Toroids.

30-7 A Current-Carrying Coil as a Magnetic Dipole.

CHAPTER 31. Induction and Maxwell’s Equations.

31-1 Introduction.

31-2 Induction by Motion in a Magnetic Field.

31-3 Induction by a Changing Magnetic Field.

31-4 Faraday’s Law.

31-5 Lenz’s Law.

31-6 Induction and Energy Transfers.

31-7 Induced Electric Fields.

31-8 Induced Magnetic Fields.

31-9 Displacement Current.

31-10 Gauss’ Law for Magnetic Fields.

31-11 Maxwell’s Equations in a Vacuum.

CHAPTER 32. Inductors and Magnetic Materials.

32-1 Introduction.

32-2 Self-Inductance.

32-3 Mutual Induction.

32-4 RL Circuits (with Ideal Inductors).

32-5 Inductors,Transformers, and Electric Power.

32-6 Magnetic Materials—An Introduction.

32-7 Ferromagnetis.

32-8 Other Magnetic Materials.

32-9 The Earth’s Magnetism.

CHAPTER 33. Electromagnetic Oscillations and Alternating Current.

33-1 Advantages of Alternating Current.

33-2 Energy Stored in a –Field.

33-3 Energy Density of a –Field.

33-4 LC Oscillations, Qualitatively.

33-5 The Electrical–Mechanical Analogy.

33-6 LC Oscillations, Quantitatively.

33-7 Damped Oscillations in an RLC Circuit.

33-8 More About Alternating Current.

33-9 Forced Oscillations.

33-10 Representing Oscillations with Phasors:  Three Simple Circuits.

33-11 The Series RLC Circuit.

33-12 Power in Alternating-Current Circuits.

CHAPTER 34. Electromagnetic Waves.

34-1 Introduction.

34-2 Maxwell’s Prediction of Electromagnetism.

34-3 The Generation of Electromagnetic Waves.

34-4 Describing Electromagnetic Wave Properties Mathematically.

34-5 Transporting Energy with Electromagnetic Waves.

34-6 Radiation Pressure.

34-7 Polarization.

34-8 Maxwell’s Rainbow.

CHAPTER 35. Images.

35-1 Introduction.

35-2 Reflection and Refraction.

35-3 Total Internal Reflection.

35-4 Polarization by Reflection.

35-5 Two Types of Image.

35-6 Plane Mirrors.

35-7 Spherical Mirrors.

35-8 Images from Spherical Mirrors.

35-9 Spherical Refracting Surfaces.

35-10 Thin Lenses.

35-11 Optical Instruments.

35-12 Three Proofs.

CHAPTER 36. Interference.

36-1 Interference.

36-2 Light as a Wave.

36-3 Diffraction.

36-4 Young’s Interference Experiment.

36-5 Coherence.

36-6 Intensity in Double-Slit Interference.

36-7 Interference from Thin Films.

36-8 Michelson’s Interferometer.

CHAPTER 37. Diffraction.

37-1 Diffraction and the Wave Theory of Light.

37-2 Diffraction by a Single Slit: Locating the Minima.

37-3 Intensity in Single-Slit Diffraction, Qualitatively.

37-4 Intensity in Single-Slit Diffraction, Quantitatively.

37-5 Diffraction by a Circular Aperture.

37-6 Diffraction by a Double Slit.

37-7 Diffraction Gratings.

37-8 Gratings: Dispersion and Resolving Power.

37-9 X-Ray Diffraction.

CHAPTER 38. Special Relativity.

38-1 Introduction.

38-2 Origins of Special Relativity.

38-3 The Principle of Relativity.

38-4 Locating Events with an Intelligent Observer.

38-5 Laboratory and Rocket Latticeworks of Clocks.

38-6 Time Stretching.

38-7 The Metric Equation.

38-8 Cause and Effect.

38-9 Relativity of Simultaneity.

38-10 Momentum and Energy.

38-11 The Lorentz Transformation.

38-12 Lorentz Contraction.

38-13 Relativity of Velocities.

38-14 Doppler Shift.


Appendix A. The International System of Units (SI).

Appendix B. Some Fundamental Constants of Physics.

Appendix C. Some Astronomical Data.

Appendix D. Conversion Factors.

Appendix E. Mathematical Formulas.

Appendix F. Properties of Common Elements.

Appendix G. Periodic Table of the Elements.

Answers to Reading Exercises and Odd-Numbered Problems.

Photo Credits.


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  • A narrative style that supports student learning - Rather than fragmenting the text with sidebars, extraboxes, and examples, this text presents a smooth expository flow that facilitates understanding. Critical examples (sample problems) are positioned as Touchstone Examples.
  • Emphasis on observation and experimentation - The experimental evidence for many of the physical laws and relationships discussed in the narrative have been presented in graphical form.
  • Incorporates active learning -- The story line is reinforced by the use of Reading Exercises that help students focus on thoughtful reading of the text sections in each chapter.
  • Alternative problem selections - Based on the authors' knowledge of research on student learning difficulties, these new problems require careful qualitative reasoning and explicitly connect conceptual understanding to quantitative problem solving. In addition, estimation problems, video analysis problems, and 'real life' problems add to student understanding.
  • Presentations that are known to be associated with common student confusions have been rewritten and clarified. Some topics have been rearranged (especially the introduction of the New Mechanics Sequence) to provide a more pedagogically coherent learning path and story line.
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Instructors Resources
Wiley Instructor Companion Site
Physics DVD
80+ videos showing live physics demonstrations that can be used with any Wiley physics text. Accompanying instructor's guide that keys demos to text is available. The guide includes Personal Response System questions for each demonstration.
Instructor's Solutions Manual Volume 1 to accompany Understanding Physics, First Edition
This manual provides worked-out solutions for most of the end-of-chapter problems.
Instructor's Solutions Manual Volume 2 to accompany Understanding Physics, First Edition
This manual provides worked-out solutions for most of the end-of-chapter problems.
Instructor Resource CD t/a/ Understanding Physics First Edition
This CD contains: The entire Instructor's Solutions Manual. A Computerized Test Bank, with full editing features will help you customize tests. All text illustrations, suitable for classroom projection, printing, and web posting.
Test Bank to accompany Understanding Physics
This manual provides worked-out solutions for most of the end-of-chapter problems.
RealTime Physics, Mechanics, Module 1
RealTime Physics: Module 1: Mechanics (12 labs)
RealTime Physics,Heat and Thermodynamics, Module 2
RealTime Physics: Module 2: Heat and Thermodynamics (6 labs)
Activity-Based Tutorials: The Physics Suite, Volume 1
These tutorials consist of a set of worksheets designed to supplement instruction by lectures and textbook in standard introductory physics courses.
Available Materials
by Karen Cummings, Priscilla W. Laws, Edward F. Redish, Patrick J. Cooney, J. Richard Christman
May 2004, ©2004, Paperback (E-book also available)
This Manual provides students with complete worked-out solutions for approximately 450 of the odd-numbered end-of-chapter problems.
by Karen Cummings, Priscilla W. Laws, Edward F. Redish, Patrick J. Cooney
May 2004, ©2004, Paperback (E-book also available)
This student study guide provides chapter overviews, hints for solving selected end-of-chapter problems, and self-quizzes.
by Edward F. Redish
February 2003, ©2003, Paperback
This book is not only the "Instructors Manual" for Understanding Physics, but it is also a book for anyone who is interested in learning about recent developments in physics education. It is a handbook with a variety of tools for improving both teaching and learning of physics-from new kinds of homework and exam problems, to surveys for figuring out what has happened in your class, to tools for taking and analyzing data using computers and video.
by David R. Sokoloff, Ronald K. Thornton
September 2006, ©2004, Paperback
ILDs are worksheet-based guided demonstrations designed to focus on fundamental principles and address specific naive conceptions. The demonstrations use computer-assisted data acquisition tools to collect and display high quality data in real time.
by Priscilla W. Laws
March 2004, ©2004, Paperback
Workshop Physics courses are designed to replace traditional lecture and laboratory sessions.
by Priscilla W. Laws
May 2004, ©2004, Paperback
Workshop Physics courses are designed to replace traditional lecture and laboratory sessions.
by Michael C. Wittmann, Richard N. Steinberg, Edward F. Redish
February 2005, ©2004, Paperback (E-book also available)
These tutorials consist of a set of worksheets developed to supplement lectures and textbook work in standard introductory physics courses.
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Wiley Student Companion Site
Available Materials
by Karen Cummings, Priscilla W. Laws, Edward F. Redish, Patrick J. Cooney, J. Richard Christman
May 2004, ©2004, Paperback (E-book also available)
This Manual provides students with complete worked-out solutions for approximately 450 of the odd-numbered end-of-chapter problems.
by Karen Cummings, Priscilla W. Laws, Edward F. Redish, Patrick J. Cooney
May 2004, ©2004, Paperback (E-book also available)
This student study guide provides chapter overviews, hints for solving selected end-of-chapter problems, and self-quizzes.
A research-based online environment for learning and assessment.
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Instant access to textbooks as eTextbooks.
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