Introductory Physics References
I am looking for good physics reference books for my daughter.
My daughter (14 years old) is a 9th grade student who is taking Honors
Physics. The class does not provide any textbooks only teacher handouts.
She is new to the school so does not have the benefit a having learned from
the science department and also knowing what resources are available to her.
Her physics teacher has been teaching for 30 plus years and is a very qualified
instructor, however my daughter is often not able to understand what he is
saying and since there is no textbook provided she cannot go home and teach
it to herself later. To compound the problem, we (her parents) are NOT scientists
or mathematicians, therefore we are unable to help her in anyway. She wants to
succeed in this class and is willing to work extra to do so, she just needs some
tools to help her. I tried scouring the Internet to find a good physics reference
book, but I'm not able to tell if it is adequate. I do not know who to consult.
Paul Hewitt Conceptual Physics 10th edition.
This will give a conceptual background that will help in establishing a foundation
for the math. It is readable and written as an introductory text.
Robert Karplus Introductory Physics: A Model Approach 2nd edition 2003
Excellent background and builds scientific models extremely well. It does not
have the math rigor listed in the syllabus.
William Kelly and Thomas Miner Physics for High School 1967
Traditional text. Helps some students. Algebra based.
Randall Knight, Brian Jones, and Stuart Field College Physics, A Strategic
This is a very readable text and is superb at scientific model building.
The student workbook is also worthwhile. The math assumes some trigonometry.
Most honors high school students find this readable and the chapter end
problems within easy reach (the sample pool is juniors and seniors, not
high school freshman). Up to date relative to physics education research.
Eric Rogers Physics for the Inquiring Mind 1960
Superb algebra based text. This is a classic.
Most of these texts have some errors, particularly in energy, but should
still serve as outstanding support. There are many mediocre texts and a few
poor texts out there. Perhaps asking your library for the above books on
Interlibrary Loan will give you an idea of what will work for your daughter,
and then selecting one to buy.
It looks like a very ambitious syllabus for a standard year long, 300 minute
per week, course.
---Nathan A. Unterman
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Update: June 2012