I am leaving these forums, however, I know many intelligent people reside here, so, do you have any recommendations on physics books? I'm interested in it, for a lil summer reading. I'm taking chemistry next year btw, not physics...physics in 2 years.
I recommend Robert Sproul's Modern Physics. It is a little dated now, but it provides a wonderfully clear insight into the revolution in physics that took place between the wars. It is also written by a very good physicist so he gets the physics right as well as the history.
what kind of physics book are you looking for? if you want one that starts off with Newton's laws and lots of problem solving, then I recommend Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday Resnick and Walker. this is how i learned physics, so it's therefore the best way if you just want to read about physics and not do problems, then umm, i dunno.
there you have it, get Halliday Resnick and Walker. if you can do those problems, then your physics class in two years will be a breeze. I found it enjoyable to read, too.
The Resnick book is taught in the regular physics class... some like it and some hate it. I'd say it's good if you've never taken a physics course.
I just finished the honors physics series at UC Berkeley, so here's what I think:
Mechanics and Dynamics: Kleppner & Kolenkov (sp)
Overall it's a good book. Intelligently written, with engaging problem sets. 1st year calculus required.
Vibrations: some book by French, not recommended.
basic 1st, 2nd order ordinary differential equations required.
Electricity & Magnetism: Berkeley Physics Book Vol 2 by Purcell
required - multivariable calculus, linear algebra
This is the best E&M book imho. Purcell is a genious when it comes to the stuff, and his text shows it. The problem sets are awesome, requiring serious conceptual thinking... but rewarding you in the end.
Optics: do not use the optics book by Fowles. It is horrible.
Quantum: Modern Physics by Tipler and Llwelyn (sp)
be familiar with ODE's and PDE's.
Great reading, but the problem sets were too basic for what our professor expected us to learn.
Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" isn't exactly physics, but it is very entertaining.
"The Tao of Physics," by Fritjof Capra, is a wonderfully thought-provoking exploration of the common ground where science and mysticism meet.
If the quantum world interests you, here are a few other "weird science" suggestions:
"The Non-Local Universe: The New Physics and Matters of the Mind," Robert Nadeau, Minas C. Kafatos, Menas Kafatos.
"The Bit and the Pendulum: How the New Physics of Information is Revolutionizing Science," Tom Siegfried.
"Ultimate Zero and One: Computing at the Quantum Frontier," Colin P. Williams & Scott H. Clearwater.
I saved the best for last. If your library has this book, grab it and get ready for a wild, challenging mental trip. Very, very heavy stuff, not exactly summer reading, but you'll never forget it. The book is "The Physics of Quantum Information: Quantum Cryptography, Quantum Teleportation, Quantum Computation." It is edited by Dik Bouwmeester, Artur K. Ekert, and Anton Zeilinger. Wow.