Calculus-Based Physics I
Jeffrey Schnick, Saint Anselm College
Pub Date: 2008
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Calculus-Based Physics I by Jeffery W. Schnick briefly covers each topic students would cover in a first-term calculus-based physics course. The read more
Calculus-Based Physics I by Jeffery W. Schnick briefly covers each topic students would cover in a first-term calculus-based physics course. The chapters are short and offer few example problems for the students to work through and no homework problems/exercises. Adding additional example problems may help in students’ overall understanding of the material. The lack of exercises in the book may cause issues with students who wish to work through additional problems or with instructors who wish to assign problems for homework.
I noticed no errors in the presented physics or calculations. One problem with the Free Body Diagrams (FBDs) is that some do not have proper scaling on the force vector arrows (e.g. the force vector arrows on page 84 have different magnitudes, but the arrow lengths are the same). Also, instead of having the FBDs indicate the net force on the object, the direction of the acceleration is shown. The notation used to define Newton’s Second Law is also problematic (chapter 12). The sum of the forces is written without indices to indicate the summation is over distinct forces on an object. Although this is stated in text, the notation is incorrect. This problem is also present in defining Newton’s Second Law for rotational motion (chapter 23).
The content in this textbook would not become irrelevant to introductory physics courses. All example problems are written in terms of the motion, energy, pressure, etc. of everyday objects (rocks, fishing lines, etc.) that students would be able to grasp.
The book reads easily, but contains few diagrams and pictures, which may leave students confused. The book as a whole reads like an upper division textbook and maybe be difficult for introductory students to follow. The brevity of the chapters may also lead to confusion, as students would only see several pages of explanation along with one to two example problems before moving on to the next topic.
The book is consistent with itself, though terminology occasionally differs from common introductory physics textbooks such as Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Randall D. Knight. Most notably the book introduces ‘g’ as the magnitude of earth’s gravitational field, instead of the free-fall acceleration on earth.
The short chapters would make assigning reading for the students easy. The order of the book is such that most physics instructors would need to jump around to different chapters, as opposed to following the chapters in a consecutive order.
The book begins with a good overview of mathematics needed for the course, but then jumps into several chapters dealing with conservation of energy and momentum (chapters 2-5). Concepts such as mass, speed, velocity, position, units, moment of inertia, and spring constant are only given brief definitions. These chapters may cause confusion among students, because they have not yet developed their own understanding of these concepts before applying them to conservation of energy/momentum problems. The mentioned concepts are covered in more depth, however, starting in chapter 6.
The book’s interface is easy to follow and all chapters, diagrams, and example problems are clearly labeled. Diagrams are simple, but are able to convey the situations and problems effectively.
I did not notice any grammatical errors.
There is no offensive or culturally insensitive content present.
I would recommend this textbook to be used only as a reference or supplemental textbook. The book does not offer enough content for the students to develop an in-depth understanding of the topics covered in an introductory calculus-based physics course. The book would also be useful for undergraduate physics majors studying for the Physics GRE, as it gives a brief overview of important topics.
Table of Contents
- 1 Mathematical Prelude
- 2 Conservation of Mechanical Energy I: Kinetic Energy & Gravitational Potential Energy
- 3 Conservation of Mechanical Energy II: Springs, Rotational Kinetic Energy
- 4 Conservation of Momentum
- 5 Conservation of Angular Momentum
- 6 One-Dimensional Motion (Motion Along a Line): Definitions and Mathematics
- 7 One-Dimensional Motion: The Constant Acceleration Equations
- 8 One-Dimensional Motion: Collision Type II
- 9 One-Dimensional Motion Graphs
- 10 Constant Acceleration Problems in Two Dimensions
- 11 Relative Velocity
- 12 Gravitational Force Near the Surface of the Earth, First Brush with Newton’s 2nd Law
- 13 Freefall, a.k.a. Projectile Motion
- 14 Newton’s Laws #1: Using Free Body Diagrams
- 15 Newton’s Laws #2: Kinds of Forces, Creating Free Body Diagrams
- 16 Newton’s Laws #3: Components, Friction, Ramps, Pulleys, and Strings
- 17 The Universal Law of Gravitation
- 18 Circular Motion: Centripetal Acceleration
- 19 Rotational Motion Variables, Tangential Acceleration, Constant Angular Acceleration
- 20 Torque & Circular Motion
- 21 Vectors: The Cross Product & Torque
- 22 Center of Mass, Moment of Inertia
- 23 Statics
- 24 Work and Energy
- 25 Potential Energy, Conservation of Energy, Power
- 26 Impulse and Momentum
- 27 Oscillations: Introduction, Mass on a Spring
- 28 Oscillations: The Simple Pendulum, Energy in Simple Harmonic Motion
- 29 Waves: Characteristics, Types, Energy
- 30 Wave Function, Interference, Standing Waves
- 31 Strings, Air Columns
- 32 Beats, The Doppler Effect
- 33 Fluids: Pressure, Density, Archimedes’ Principle
- 34 Pascal’s Principle, the Continuity Equation, and Bernoulli’s Principle
- 35 Temperature, Internal Energy, Heat, and Specific Heat Capacity
- 36 Heat: Phase Changes
- 37 The First Law of Thermodynamics
About the Book
Calculus-Based Physics is an introductory physics textbook designed for use in the two-semester introductory physics course typically taken by science and engineering students.
About the Contributors
Jeffrey Schnick, PhD is an assistant professor at Saint Anselm College.