James S. Walker Physics

ISBN 13: 9780136331247

Physics

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Physics is designed to give readers conceptual insight and create active involvement in the learning process. The book provides a suite of pedagogical tools that give readers an active role in the learning and problem-solving process. This comprehensive book helps readers draw the situation described in the problem statement, visualize the processes taking place, identify and label important quantities, and set up coordinate axes. Shows readers how to analyze the problem, identify the key physical principles at work, and devise a plan for obtaining the solution. Contains a unique 2-column format. Appropriate for readers interested in Algebra-based Physics.

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About the Author:

James S. Walker obtained his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Washington in 1978. He subsequently served as a post-doc at the University of Pennsylvania, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California at San Diego before joining the physics faculty at Washington State University in 1983. Professor Walker's research interests include statistical mechanics, critical phenomena, and chaos. His many publications on the application of renormalization-group theory to systems ranging from absorbed mono-layers to binary-fluid mixtures have appeared in Physical Review, Physical Review Letters, Physica, and a host of other publications. He has also participated in observations on the summit of Mauna Kea, looking for evidence of extra-solar planets.

Jim Walker likes to work with students at all levels, from judging elementary school science fairs to writing research papers with graduate students, and has taught introductory physics for many years. His enjoyment of this course and his empathy for students have earned him a reputation as an innovative, enthusiastic, and effective teacher. Jim's educational publications include "Reappearing Phases" (Scientific American, May 1987) as well as articles in the American Journal of Physics and The Physics Teacher. In recognition of his contributions to the teaching of physics, Jim was recently named Boeing Distinguished Professor of Science and Mathematics Education.

When he is not writing, conducting research, teaching, or developing new classroom demonstrations and pedagogical materials, Jim enjoys amateur astronomy, bird watching, photography, juggling, unicycling, boogie boarding, and kayaking. He recently spent three weeks rafting through the Grand Canyon and hiking in various side canyons. Jim is also an avid jazz pianist and organist. He has served as ballpark organist for several Class A minor league baseball teams, including minor. league affiliates of the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants.

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Preface: To the Instructor

Teaching any subject can be a most challenging—and rewarding—experience. This is particularly true of the introductory algebra-based physics course, where students with a wide range of backgrounds and interests participate in a unique learning experience. With only a limited time at our disposal, we, the instructors, strive not only to convey the basic concepts and fundamental laws of physics, but also to give students an appreciation of its relevance and appeal. This is a tall order, but one that is well worth the effort.

To help with the task, this text incorporates a number of unique and innovative pedagogical features. These features, which evolved from years of teaching experience, have been tested extensively in the classroom and refined on the basis of interviews and discussions with students. The enthusiastic response I receive from students using this material has encouraged my belief that your students, like mine, will find the presentation of physics given in this text to be clear, engaging, and empowering.

Learning Tools in the Text

The goal of this text is to help students improve their conceptual understanding of physics hand in hand with the development of their problem-solving skills. One of the chief means to that end is the replacement of the traditional Examples in the text by an integrated suite of learning tools: fully worked Examples in Two-Column Format, Active Examples, Conceptual Checkpoints, and Exercises. Each of these tools performs some of the functions of an Example, but each is specialized to meet the needs of students at a particular point in the development of the chapter's content.

These needs are not always the same. Sometimes students require a detailed explanation of how to tackle a particular problem; at other times, they must be allowed to take an active role and work out the details for themselves. Sometimes it is important for them to perform calculations and concentrate on numerical precision; at other times it may be more fruitful for them to explore a key idea more fully in a non-quantitative context. Sometimes the analysis of a detailed physical context is essential; at other times, practice in using a new equation or relationship is all that is called for.

A good teacher can sense when students need a very patient exposition and when they need only minimal reinforcement; when they need to focus on concepts 'And when they need an opportunity to practice their quantitative skills. This text attempts to mimic the teaching style of successful instructors by providing the right tool at the right time and place.

Worked Examples in Two-Column Format

Examples provide the most complete and detailed illustration of how to solve a particular type of problem. The Examples in this text are presented in a unique two-column format that focuses on the basic strategies and thought processes involved in problem solving. The aim of this approach is to help students devise a strategy to be followed and then implement a clear step-by-step solution to the problem. The emphasis is thus on the relationship between the physical concepts and their mathematical expression. This focus on the intimate relationship between conceptual insights and problem-solving techniques encourages students to view the ability to solve problems as a logical outgrowth of conceptual understanding rather than a kind of parlor trick.

Each Example has the same basic structure:

  • Picture the Problem. The first, crucial element in this structure is Picture the Problem, which discusses how the physical situation can be represented visually and what such a representation can tell us about how to analyze and solve the problem. At this stage we set up a coordinate system where appropriate¿ label important quantities, and indicate which values are known.
  • Strategy. Closely linked with this visualization process is the formulation of at Strategy to be followed in solving the problem. The strategy addresses the commonly asked question, "How do I get started?" by providing a clear overview off the problem and helping students to identify the relevant physical principles. It then guides the student in using known relationships to chart a step-by-step path to the solution.
  • Solution. In the step-by-step Solution of the problem, each of the steps is; presented with a prose statement in the left-hand column and the corresponding mathematical implementation in the right-hand column. In effect,, each step shows how to translate the idea described in words into the appropriate equations.
    When reviewing an Example, note that the left-hand column gives the flow of ideas used in the solution; the right-hand column gives the mathematical calculations that were carried out. Students often find it useful to practice problem solving by covering one column of an Example with a sheet of paper and filling in the covered steps as they refer to the other column.
  • Insight. Each example wraps up with an Insight—a comment regarding the solution just obtained. Some Insights deal with possible alternative solution techniques, others with new ideas suggested by the results.
  • Practice Problem. Following the Insight is a Practice Problem, which gives the student a chance to practice the type of calculation just presented. The Practice Problems, always accompanied by their answers, provide students with a valuable check on their understanding of the material. Finally, each Example ends with a reference to some related end-of-chapter problems to allow students to test their skills further.

Active Examples

Active Examples serve as a bridge between the fully worked Examples, in which every detail is fully discussed and every step is given, and the homework problems, where no help is given at all. In an Active Example, the solution to a problem is broken down into a series of manageable steps, with the prose on the left and the mathematical implementation on the right, but in skeleton form which the student must flesh out. Students take an active role in solving the problem by thinking through the logic of the steps described on the left and performing the calculations indicated on the right. Working through Active Examples will make students better prepared to tackle homework problems on their own.

Conceptual Checkpoints

Conceptual Checkpoints help students sharpen their insight into key physical principles. A typical Conceptual Checkpoint presents a thought-provoking question that can be answered by logical reasoning based on physical concepts rather than by numerical calculations. These questions, which can be just as challenging as any numerical problem and just as educational, are presented in multiple-choice format to help focus the student's thinking. The statement of the question is followed by a detailed discussion and analysis in the section titled Reasoning and Discussion, and the Answer is given at the end of the checkpoint for quick and easy reference.

Exercises

Exercises present brief calculations designed to illustrate the application of important new relationships, without the expenditure of time and space required by a fully worked Example. Exercises generally give students an opportunity to practice the use of a new equation, become familiar with the units of a new physical quantity, and get a feeling for typical magnitudes.

Problem Solving Notes

In addition to the in-text elements just described, each chapter includes a number of marginal Problem Solving Notes. These practical hints are designed to highlight useful problem-solving methods while helping students avoid common pitfalls and misconceptions.

End of Chapter Learning Tools

The end of chapter material in this text also includes a number of innovations, along with refinements of more familiar elements.

Chapter Summary

Each chapter concludes with a Chapter Summary presented in an easy-to-use outline style. Key concepts and equations are collected in the summary for convenient reference. '

Problem-Solving Summary

A unique feature of this text is the Problem-Solving Summary at the end of the chapter. This is a new type of summary that addresses common sources of misconceptions in problem solving, and gives specific references to Examples and Active Examples illustrating the correct procedures. Each entry in the Problem-Solving Summary relates a specific type of calculation to the relevant physical concepts.

Conceptual Questions

The homework for each chapter begins with a section of Conceptual Questions. Answers to the odd-numbered questions can be found in the back of the book, so that students can check their reasoning and conclusions.

Numerical and Integrated Homework Problems

A collection of numerical and integrated problems are presented at the end of each chapter. Note that a number of problems are given for each section of the chapter. In addition, a section titled "General Problems" presents a variety of problems that use material from two or more sections within the chapter, or refer to material covered in earlier chapters.

Within each section of the homework, the problems are presented in order of difficulty. The most straightforward problems are labeled with a single bullet (·), problems involving several steps and more detailed reasoning are labeled with two bullets (··), and problems of a more challenging nature are indicated with three bullets (···).

Problems of special biological or medical relevance are indicated with the symbol BIO.

Certain problems throughout the homework, labeled with the symbol IP, integrate a conceptual question with a numerical problem. Problems of this type, which st...

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