Six Ideas That Shaped Physics: Unit C: Conservation Laws Constrain Interactions Paperback – Jun 4 2002
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About the Author
Thomas A. Moore is a professor in the physics department of Pomona College. He graduated from Carleton College in 1976, and earned an M. Phil. in 1978 and a Ph. D. in 1981 from Yale University. He then taught at Carleton College and Luther College before taking his current position at Pomona College in 1987, where he won a Wig Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1991. He served as an active member of the national Introductory University Physics Project (IUPP), and has published a number of articles about astrophysical sources of gravitational waves, detection of gravitational waves, and new approaches to teaching physics. His previous books include A Traveler's Guide to Spacetime (McGraw-Hill, 1995) on special relativity, and a six-volume introductory calculus-based physics text called Six Ideas That Shaped Physics (McGraw-Hill, 2003).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Moore's books literally changed my life. After taking University Physics, I fell in love with the subject again, and am now a junior undergraduate majoring in both math and physics. My only regret is that I sold Moore's texts back after completing the course, as I needed the money. I wish I still had them for references, and chances are I will end up buying the set again for just that.
Unit C: Conservation Laws Constrain Interactions covers the bare minimum for any student's physics education: vectors, energy, and linear and angular momentum. Notably, Moore refuses to cover forces in any great extent in his first text of the series, which for a person (like myself) with a strong introductory physics background, should be highly novel and interesting. However, I can only imagine the complexities this approach presents to a student trying to grasp physics for the first time, and my own experience taught me the book was useless for one who has already gone through it once!
The major fault with this textbook (and with the whole series), is that the reader is not left with a "deep" understanding of physics. Some basic situations and principles are shown, such as a pair of billiard balls colliding on a table, but the sort of physical intuition needed to solve complicated problems is left out amid the conversational prose and nondescript end of chapter problems. From Unit C, you will certainly learn what the conservation of momentum looks like mathematically, you will understand what a one-dimensional potential energy well is, but the book will likely not give you the enlightenment necessary for solving challenging problems. You will need Kleppner and Kolenkow for that.
The Six Ideas series textbooks, and Unit C in particular, are good reads for the individual who has a reasonable physics background and wants to solidify it through a summer of light reading. In particular, the two page pre-chapter overviews and two minute post-chapter problems make the book valuable to the self-studier; it would be wonderful if other textbooks used a similar arrangement. But beyond the novel perspective, the broad approach to mechanics ranging from the conservation of linear momentum to the brief overview of thermal energy contained in this text, and the bells and whistles Moore's student-centered approach provides, the book is just one more of many introductory textbooks out there.
So if you are studying physics over the summer, go ahead and purchase the series. Otherwise, the classics are just too good to replace.
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