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How to Solve Physics Problems 1st Edition.



Preface: the purpose of this book is to show you how to do physics problems. It is only through application of concepts to solving problems that we can know for certain that we understand something. Nowhere is this more true than in a physics course where performance is measured almost exclusively by your ability to do problems.

This book is not a collection of problems. Neither is it a text. It is an attempt to strike a balance between theory and problem solving with heavy emphasis on the problem solving. As such it is intended to complement your course text. Generations of physics students, the authors included, have often lamented, concerning their physics courses, "I understood everything in lecture and the text but I can't do the problems." This book will lielp you du die problems.


Learning physics is different from most other disciplines. Most disciplines can be learned by reading and listening, with mastery demonstrated by writing. Physics is not like that. Reading and listening are the first step, but mastery is demonstrated by doing problems. Writing comes easy to most people. Working problems in mathematical symbulism is not su casy lo most, and it is not something we do regularly. Learning plıysics requires learning to do the problems of physics not by writing about them but by manipulating mathematical symbols in the correct manner.


The book was started around 1980 (by RMO) and was provided in rough form to his students in the elementary physics scqucncc to help them understand concepts and give them practice and confidence in working problems. The favorable response from those students provided motivation to continue to expand the number and extent of the topics. In 1984 the problems were used (by DMO) as an aid in the elementary physics courses he was taking. Since then the collection of problems and text has been expanded by both authors and refined through further use by their students. It is the sincere desire of the authors that this book help you to better understand physical concepts and work the associated problems. We would like to thank the many students who have contributed to this work by using the material and offering their suggestions. Also the fine staff at McGraw-Hill, especially our editor, Arthur Biderman, have contributed greatly to the clarity of presentation.

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