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Preface

Welcome to College Physics, an OpenStax resource. This textbook was written to increase student access to high-quality learning materials, maintaining highest standards of academic rigor at little to no cost.

About OpenStax

OpenStax is a nonprofit based at Rice University, and it’s our mission to improve student access to education. Our first openly licensed college textbook was published in 2012, and our library has since scaled to over 20 books for college and AP courses used by hundreds of thousands of students. Our adaptive learning technology, designed to improve learning outcomes through personalized educational paths, is being piloted in college courses throughout the country. Through our partnerships with philanthropic foundations and our alliance with other educational resource organizations, OpenStax is breaking down the most common barriers to learning and empowering students and instructors to succeed.

About OpenStax Resources

Customization

College Physics is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY) license, which means that you can distribute, remix, and build upon the content, as long as you provide attribution to OpenStax and its content contributors.

Because our books are openly licensed, you are free to use the entire book or pick and choose the sections that are most relevant to the needs of your course. Feel free to remix the content by assigning your students certain chapters and sections in your syllabus, in the order that you prefer. You can even provide a direct link in your syllabus to the sections in the web view of your book.

Instructors also have the option of creating a customized version of their OpenStax book. The custom version can be made available to students in low-cost print or digital form through their campus bookstore. Visit your book page on openstax.org for more information.

Errata

All OpenStax textbooks undergo a rigorous review process. However, like any professional-grade textbook, errors sometimes occur. Since our books are web based, we can make updates periodically when deemed pedagogically necessary. If you have a correction to suggest, submit it through the link on your book page on openstax.org. Subject matter experts review all errata suggestions. OpenStax is committed to remaining transparent about all updates, so you will also find a list of past errata changes on your book page on openstax.org.

Format

You can access this textbook for free in web view or PDF through openstax.org, and in low-cost print and iBooks editions.

About College Physics

College Physics meets standard scope and sequence requirements for a two-semester introductory algebra-based physics course. The text is grounded in real-world examples to help students grasp fundamental physics concepts. It requires knowledge of algebra and some trigonometry, but not calculus. College Physics includes learning objectives, concept questions, links to labs and simulations, and ample practice opportunities for traditional physics application problems.

Coverage and Scope

College Physics is organized such that topics are introduced conceptually with a steady progression to precise definitions and analytical applications. The analytical aspect (problem solving) is tied back to the conceptual before moving on to another topic. Each introductory chapter, for example, opens with an engaging photograph relevant to the subject of the chapter and interesting applications that are easy for most students to visualize.

Chapter 1: Introduction: The Nature of Science and Physics
Chapter 2: Kinematics
Chapter 3: Two-Dimensional Kinematics
Chapter 4: Dynamics: Force and Newton’s Laws of Motion
Chapter 5: Further Applications of Newton’s Laws: Friction, Drag, and Elasticity
Chapter 6: Uniform Circular Motion and Gravitation
Chapter 7: Work, Energy, and Energy Resources
Chapter 8: Linear Momentum and Collisions
Chapter 9: Statics and Torque
Chapter 10: Rotational Motion and Angular Momentum
Chapter 11: Fluid Statics
Chapter 12: Fluid Dynamics and Its Biological and Medical Applications
Chapter 13: Temperature, Kinetic Theory, and the Gas Laws
Chapter 14: Heat and Heat Transfer Methods
Chapter 15: Thermodynamics
Chapter 16: Oscillatory Motion and Waves
Chapter 17: Physics of Hearing
Chapter 18: Electric Charge and Electric Field
Chapter 19: Electric Potential and Electric Field
Chapter 20: Electric Current, Resistance, and Ohm’s Law
Chapter 21: Circuits and DC Instruments
Chapter 22: Magnetism
Chapter 23: Electromagnetic Induction, AC Circuits, and Electrical Technologies
Chapter 24: Electromagnetic Waves
Chapter 25: Geometric Optics
Chapter 26: Vision and Optical Instruments
Chapter 27: Wave Optics
Chapter 28: Special Relativity
Chapter 29: Introduction to Quantum Physics
Chapter 30: Atomic Physics
Chapter 31: Radioactivity and Nuclear Physics
Chapter 32: Medical Applications of Nuclear Physics
Chapter 33: Particle Physics
Chapter 34: Frontiers of Physics
Appendix A: Atomic Masses
Appendix B: Selected Radioactive Isotopes
Appendix C: Useful Information
Appendix D: Glossary of Key Symbols and Notation

Concepts and Calculations

The ability to calculate does not guarantee conceptual understanding. In order to unify conceptual, analytical, and calculation skills within the learning process, we have integrated Strategies and Discussions throughout the text.

Modern Perspective

The chapters on modern physics are more complete than many other texts on the market, with an entire chapter devoted to medical applications of nuclear physics and another to particle physics. The final chapter of the text, “Frontiers of Physics,” is devoted to the most exciting endeavors in physics. It ends with a module titled “Some Questions We Know to Ask.”

Key Features

Modularity

This textbook is organized as a collection of modules that can be rearranged and modified to suit the needs of a particular professor or class. That being said, modules often contain references to content in other modules, as most topics in physics cannot be discussed in isolation.

Learning Objectives

Every module begins with a set of learning objectives. These objectives are designed to guide the instructor in deciding what content to include or assign, and to guide the student with respect to what he or she can expect to learn. After completing the module and end-of-module exercises, students should be able to demonstrate mastery of the learning objectives.

Call-Outs

Key definitions, concepts, and equations are called out with a special design treatment. Call-outs are designed to catch readers’ attention, to make it clear that a specific term, concept, or equation is particularly important, and to provide easy reference for a student reviewing content.

Key Terms

Key terms are in bold and are followed by a definition in context. Definitions of key terms are also listed in the Glossary, which appears at the end of the module.

Worked Examples

Worked examples have four distinct parts to promote both analytical and conceptual skills. Worked examples are introduced in words, always using some application that should be of interest. This is followed by a Strategy section that emphasizes the concepts involved and how solving the problem relates to those concepts. This is followed by the mathematical Solution and Discussion.

Many worked examples contain multiple-part problems to help the students learn how to approach normal situations, in which problems tend to have multiple parts. Finally, worked examples employ the techniques of the problem-solving strategies so that students can see how those strategies succeed in practice as well as in theory.

Problem-Solving Strategies

Problem-solving strategies are first presented in a special section and subsequently appear at crucial points in the text where students can benefit most from them. Problem-solving strategies have a logical structure that is reinforced in the worked examples and supported in certain places by line drawings that illustrate various steps.

Misconception Alerts

Students come to physics with preconceptions from everyday experiences and from previous courses. Some of these preconceptions are misconceptions, and many are very common among students and the general public. Some are inadvertently picked up through misunderstandings of lectures and texts. The Misconception Alerts feature is designed to point these out and correct them explicitly.

Take-Home Investigations

Take Home Investigations provide the opportunity for students to apply or explore what they have learned with a hands-on activity.

Things Great and Small

In these special topic essays, macroscopic phenomena (such as air pressure) are explained with submicroscopic phenomena (such as atoms bouncing off walls). These essays support the modern perspective by describing aspects of modern physics before they are formally treated in later chapters. Connections are also made between apparently disparate phenomena.

Simulations

Where applicable, students are directed to the interactive PHeT physics simulations developed by the University of Colorado. There they can further explore the physics concepts they have learned about in the module.

Summary

Module summaries are thorough and functional and present all important definitions and equations. Students are able to find the definitions of all terms and symbols as well as their physical relationships. The structure of the summary makes plain the fundamental principles of the module or collection and serves as a useful study guide.

Glossary

At the end of every module or chapter is a Glossary containing definitions of all of the key terms in the module or chapter.

End-of-Module Problems

At the end of every chapter is a set of Conceptual Questions and/or skills-based Problems & Exercises. Conceptual Questions challenge students’ ability to explain what they have learned conceptually, independent of the mathematical details. Problems & Exercises challenge students to apply both concepts and skills to solve mathematical physics problems.

In addition to traditional skills-based problems, there are three special types of end-of-module problems: Integrated Concept Problems, Unreasonable Results Problems, and Construct Your Own Problems. All of these problems are indicated with a subtitle preceding the problem.

Integrated Concept Problems

In Integrated Concept Problems, students are asked to apply what they have learned about two or more concepts to arrive at a solution to a problem. These problems require a higher level of thinking because, before solving a problem, students have to recognize the combination of strategies required to solve it.

Unreasonable Results

In Unreasonable Results Problems, students are challenged to not only apply concepts and skills to solve a problem, but also to analyze the answer with respect to how likely or realistic it really is. These problems contain a premise that produces an unreasonable answer and are designed to further emphasize that properly applied physics must describe nature accurately and is not simply the process of solving equations.

Construct Your Own Problem

These problems require students to construct the details of a problem, justify their starting assumptions, show specific steps in the problem’s solution, and finally discuss the meaning of the result. These types of problems relate well to both conceptual and analytical aspects of physics, emphasizing that physics must describe nature. Often they involve an integration of topics from more than one chapter. Unlike other problems, solutions are not provided since there is no single correct answer. Instructors should feel free to direct students regarding the level and scope of their considerations. Whether the problem is solved and described correctly will depend on initial assumptions.

Additional Resources

Student and Instructor Resources

We’ve compiled additional resources for both students and instructors, including Getting Started Guides, an instructor solution manual, and PowerPoint slides. Instructor resources require a verified instructor account, which can be requested on your openstax.org log-in. Take advantage of these resources to supplement your OpenStax book.

Partner Resources

OpenStax Partners are our allies in the mission to make high-quality learning materials affordable and accessible to students and instructors everywhere. Their tools integrate seamlessly with our OpenStax titles at a low cost. To access the partner resources for your text, visit your book page on openstax.org.

About the Authors

Senior Contributing Authors

Paul Peter Urone, Professor Emeritus at California State University, Sacramento
Roger Hinrichs, State University of New York, College at Oswego

Contributing Authors

Kim Dirks, University of Auckland
Manjula Sharma, University of Sydney

Reviewers

Matthew Adams, Crafton Hills College, San Bernardino Community College District
Erik Christensen, South Florida Community College
Douglas Ingram, Texas Christian University
Eric Kincanon, Gonzaga University
Lee H. LaRue, Paris Junior College
Chuck Pearson, Virginia Intermont College
Marc Sher, College of William and Mary
Ulrich Zurcher, Cleveland State University

License

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College Physics by OSCRiceUniversity is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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