Physics Demystified : A Self-Teaching Guide / Edition 1

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Now anyone with an interest in the physical sciences can master physics — without formal training or drowning in a sea of complicated formulas and equations. In Physics Demystified best-selling author Stan Gibilisco offers a fun, effective, and totally painless way to learn the fundamentals and general concepts of physics.

With Physics Demystified you master the subject one simple step at a time – at your own speed. Unlike most books on physics, general principles are presented first – and the details follow. In order to make the learning process as clear and simple as possible, heavy-duty math, formulas, and equations are kept to a minimum. This unique self-teaching guide offers questions at the end of each chapter and section to pinpoint weaknesses, and a 100-question final exam to reinforce the entire book.

Simple enough for a beginner but challenging enough for an advanced student, Physics Demystified is your direct route to learning or brushing up on physics.

* Understand the math used in physical science
* Solve mass/force/acceleration problems
* Create mathematical models of physical phenomena
* Perform distance vs. time calculations
* Determine potential and kinetic energy
* Calculate the wavelength of sounds and radio signals
* Understand visible light interference patterns
* Calculate the energy and frequency of a moving particle
* Understand atomic structure
* Learn about electric current, voltage, resistance, power, and energy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071382014
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
  • Publication date: 8/1/2002
  • Series: Demystified Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 599
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Stan Gibilisco is one of McGraw-Hill’s most diverse and best-selling authors. Known for his clear, user-friendly, and entertaining writing style, Mr. Gibilisco’s depth of knowledge and ease of presentation makes him an excellent choice for a book such as Physics Demystified. His previous titles for McGraw-Hill include The TAB Encyclopedia of Electronics for Technicians and Hobbyists, Teach Yourself Electricity and Electronics, and the Illustrated Dictionary of Electronics. Booklist named his book, The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Personal Computing, one of the Best References of 1996.

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Table of Contents

Preface xiii
Acknowledgments xv
Part 0 A Review of Mathematics
Chapter 1 Equations, Formulas, and Vectors 3
Notation 3
One-Variable First-Order Equations 9
One-Variable Second-Order Equations 12
One-Variable Higher-Order Equations 18
Vector Arithmetic 20
Some Laws for Vectors 23
Chapter 2 Scientific Notation 29
Subscripts and Superscripts 29
Power-of-10 Notation 31
Rules for Use 35
Approximation, Error, and Precedence 40
Significant Figures 44
Chapter 3 Graphing Schemes 49
Rectangular Coordinates 49
The Polar Plane 62
Other Systems 64
Chapter 4 Basics of Geometry 77
Fundamental Rules 77
Triangles 86
Quadrilaterals 92
Circles and Ellipses 101
Surface Area and Volume 103
Chapter 5 Logarithms, Exponentials, and Trigonometry 113
Logarithms 113
Trigonometric Functions 124
Trigonometric Identities 127
Test: Part Zero 133
Part 1 Classical Physics
Chapter 6 Units and Constants 147
Systems of Units 147
Base Units in SI 148
Other Units 154
Prefix Multipliers 158
Constants 160
Unit Conversions 165
Chapter 7 Mass, Force, and Motion 171
Mass 171
Force 175
Displacement 176
Speed 178
Velocity 181
Acceleration 183
Newton's Laws of Motion 188
Chapter 8 Momentum, Work, Energy, and Power 193
Momentum 193
Collisions 196
Work 202
Energy 204
Power 209
Chapter 9 Particles of Matter 217
Early Theories 217
The Nucleus 219
Outside the Nucleus 227
Energy from Matter 230
Compounds 234
Chapter 10 Basic States of Matter 241
The Solid Phase 242
The Liquid Phase 251
The Gaseous Phase 258
Chapter 11 Temperature, Pressure, and Changes of State 265
What Is Heat? 265
Temperature 269
Some Effects of Temperature 275
Temperature and States of Matter 278
Test: Part One 285
Part 2 Electricity, Magnetism, and Electronics
Chapter 12 Direct Current 297
What Does Electricity Do? 297
Electrical Diagrams 303
Voltage/Current/Resistance Circuits 305
How Resistances Combine 310
Kirchhoff's Laws 318
Chapter 13 Alternating Current 323
Definition of Alternating Current 323
Waveforms 325
Fractions of a Cycle 329
Amplitude 332
Phase Angle 336
Chapter 14 Magnetism 345
Geomagnetism 345
Magnetic Force 347
Magnetic Field Strength 351
Electromagnets 354
Magnetic Materials 357
Magnetic Machines 361
Magnetic Data Storage 366
Chapter 15 More About Alternating Current 371
Inductance 371
Inductive Reactance 375
Capacitance 380
Capacitive Reactance 384
RLC Impedance 390
Chapter 16 Semiconductors 397
The Diode 397
The Bipolar Transistor 405
Current Amplification 410
The Field-Effect Transistor 412
Voltage Amplification 414
The MOSFET 417
Integrated Circuits 421
Test: Part Two 425
Part 3 Waves, Particles, Space, and Time
Chapter 17 Wave Phenomena 437
Intangible Waves 438
Fundamental Properties 440
Wave Interaction 448
Wave Mysteries 455
Particle or Wave? 459
Chapter 18 Forms of Radiation 467
EM Fields 467
ELF Fields 472
Rf Waves 474
Beyond the Radio Spectrum 481
Radioactivity 490
Chapter 19 Optics 499
Behavior of Light 499
Lenses and Mirrors 507
Refracting Telescopes 512
Reflecting Telescopes 515
Telescope Specifications 517
The Compound Microscope 521
Chapter 20 Relativity Theory 529
Simultaneity 529
Time Dilation 534
Spatial Distortion 539
Mass Distortion 541
General Relativity 544
Test: Part Three 557
Final Exam 567
Answers to Quiz, Test, and Exam Questions 585
Suggested Additional References 593
Index 595
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2004

    Excellent introductory physics text

    This book starts with the fundamentals so many teachers and texts overlook: the math! In high school, I complained about how much math there was in the physics course. A friend told me, 'That's all physics is.' That might be an overstatement, but it's a fact that without the basic math, no one can do physics. The rest of the book (most of it really is physics) is easy to understand and yet it goes into enough depth for a solid first-year course.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2003

    A top-notch homeschooling text

    A search through Barnes & Noble for a suitable text on which to base a homeschooling class for our 12-year old narrowed down to "Physics Demystified" as the ideal blend of math basics, theory, understandable explanations and exam material. The inclusion of "Section Tests" covering multiple chapters provided appropriate opportunities for evaluating his long-term retention. The clarity of illustrations and conversational explanations make it easier to "stick with it" as the subjects become more complex. The book provides a solid foundation for understanding the principles of how things work, particularly for those with the innate natural curiosity to embark on an exploration of this topic.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2002

    Abundance of quizzes and tests

    This book is unusual in a couple of good ways. First, there are *lots* of quizzes and tests, with answers in the back. Second, there is a review of math at the beginning. Most other books just assume you know all the math and then let you sink or swim. I'd like to see more worked-out problems in the math section, but then again, that might make the math section disproportionately large. Good overall, especially for high school students and anybody who wants a good review tutorial.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2008

    A reviewer

    As a great physics CLEP review, If you are fairly clever, can supplement with internet or library, this modestly priced guide in the hands of a serious student would be adequate to C.L.E.P. a college course

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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