Physics Essentials For Dummies

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Overview

From force and motion to momentum and energy, Physics Essentials for Dummies bypasses the fluff and focuses solely on the critical concepts taught in an introductory physics course. This handy guide provides concise explanations of key subjects using real-world examples, so it's perfect for clarifying concepts and helping you cram for exams.

Physics and your world - discover how physics plays into every aspect...

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Overview

From force and motion to momentum and energy, Physics Essentials for Dummies bypasses the fluff and focuses solely on the critical concepts taught in an introductory physics course. This handy guide provides concise explanations of key subjects using real-world examples, so it's perfect for clarifying concepts and helping you cram for exams.

Physics and your world - discover how physics plays into every aspect of the world around you

Giddy up - explore displacement, speed, velocity, and acceleration and figure out how they fit together

May the force be with you - get the lowdown on Newton's laws of motion and what they tell us about force

Find your direction - overcome your fear of vectors so you can better understand velocity, acceleration, and force

Get in motion - understand the basics of impulse and momentum, and see what happens when objects collide

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470618417
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/17/2010
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 467,655
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Holzner, PhD, is a former faculty member at Cornell University and MIT. He is the author of Physics For Dummies.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Conventions Used in This Book 2

Foolish Assumptions 2

Icons Used in This Book 3

Where to Go from Here 3

Chapter 1 Viewing the World through the Lens of Physics 5

Figuring Out What Physics Is About 5

Paying Attention to Objects in Motion 6

Getting Energized 7

Moving as Fast as You Can: Special Relativity 8

Measuring Your World 9

Keeping physical units straight 10

Converting between units of measurement 10

Nixing some zeros with scientific notation 12

Knowing which digits are significant 12

Chapter 2 Taking Vectors Step by Step 15

Getting a Grip on Vectors 15

Looking for direction and magnitude 16

Adding vectors 17

Subtracting vectors 18

Waxing Numerical on Vectors 19

Working with Vector Components 20

Using magnitudes and angles to find vector components 20

Using vector components to find magnitudes and angles 22

Chapter 3 Going the Distance with Speed and Acceleration 25

From Here to There: Dissecting Displacement 26

Examining axes 27

Measuring speed 28

The Fast Track to Understanding Speed and Velocity 29

How fast am I right now? Instantaneous speed 30

Staying steady: Uniform speed 30

Changing your speed: Nonuniform motion 30

Doing some calculations: Average speed 31

Contrasting average speed and instantaneous speed 32

Speeding Up (or Slowing Down): Acceleration 33

Defining our terms 34

Recognizing positive and negative acceleration 34

Looking at average and instantaneous acceleration 35

Accounting for uniform and nonuniform acceleration 35

Bringing Acceleration, Time, and Displacement Together 36

Locating not-so-distant relations 37

Equating more speedy scenarios 38

Putting Speed, Acceleration, and Displacement Together 39

Chapter 4 Studying Circular Motions 41

Understanding Uniform Circular Motion 41

Creating Centripetal Acceleration 43

Seeing how centripetal acceleration controls velocity 44

Calculating centripetal acceleration 44

Finding Angular Equivalents for Linear Equations 45

Chapter 5 Push-Ups and Pull-Ups: Exercises in Force 49

Reckoning with Force 49

Objects at Rest and in Motion: Newton's First Law 50

Calculating Net Force: Newton's Second Law 52

Gathering net forces 53

Just relax: Dealing with tension 57

A balancing act: Finding equilibrium 58

Equal and Opposite Reactions: Newton's Third Law 61

Chapter 6 Falling Slowly: Gravity and Friction 63

Dropping the Apple: Newton's Law of Gravitation 63

Down to Earth: Dealing with Gravity 65

Leaning Vertically with Inclined Planes 66

Facing Friction 68

Figuring out the normal force 69

Finding the coefficient of friction 70

Bringing static and kinetic friction into the mix 71

Getting moving with static friction 71

Staying in motion with kinetic friction 72

Dealing with uphill friction 73

Calculating the component weight 74

Determining the force of friction 74

Chapter 7 Putting Physics to Work 77

Wrapping Your Mind around Work 77

Pushing your weight 78

Taking a drag 79

Working Backward: Negative Work 80

Working Up a Sweat: Kinetic Energy 81

Breaking down the kinetic energy equation 83

Using the kinetic energy equation 84

Calculating kinetic energy by using net force 85

Saving Up: Potential Energy 87

Working against gravity 88

Converting potential energy into kinetic energy 89

Pitting Conservative against Nonconservative Forces 90

No Work Required: The Conservation of Mechanical Energy 92

A Powerful Idea: The Rate of Doing Work 93

Chapter 8 Moving Objects with Impulse and Momentum 95

Feeling a Sudden Urge to Do Physics: Impulse 95

Mastering Momentum 97

Connecting Impulse and Momentum 98

Taking impulse and momentum to the pool hall 99

Getting impulsive in the rain 100

Watching Objects Go Bonk: The Conservation of Momentum 101

Measuring Firing Velocity 103

Examining Elastic and Inelastic Collisions 105

Flying apart: Elastic collisions 106

Sticking together: Inelastic collisions 106

Colliding along a line 107

Colliding in two dimensions 108

Chapter 9 Navigating the Twists and Turns of Angular Kinetics 111

Changing Gears (and Equations) from Linear to Rotational Motion 111

Tackling Tangential Motion 112

Calculating tangential speed 113

Figuring out tangential acceleration 114

Looking at centripetal acceleration 115

Applying Vectors to Rotation 116

Analyzing angular velocity 116

Working out angular acceleration 117

Doing the Twist with Torque 119

Walking through the torque equation 120

Mastering lever arms 122

Identifying the torque generated 123

Realizing that torque is a vector 124

No Spin, Just the Unbiased Truth: Rotational Equilibrium 125

Chapter 10 Taking a Spin with Rotational Dynamics 127

Converting Newton's Second Law into Angular Motion 127

Moving from tangential to angular acceleration 129

Bringing the moment of inertia into play 129

Finding Moments of Inertia for Standard Shapes 131

Doing Rotational Work and Producing Kinetic Energy 132

Making the transition to rotational work 133

Solving for rotational kinetic energy 134

Going Round and Round with Angular Momentum 136

Chapter 11 There and Back Again: Simple Harmonic Motion 139

Homing in on Hooke's Law 139

Staying within the elastic limit 140

Exerting a restoring force 141

Déjà Vu All Over Again: Simple Harmonic Motion 142

Browsing the basics of simple harmonic motion 142

Exploring some complexities of simple harmonic motion 144

Breaking down the sine wave 145

Getting periodic 147

Studying the velocity 149

Including the acceleration 150

Finding angular frequencies of masses on springs 152

Examining Energy in Simple Harmonic Motion 154

Going for a Swing with Pendulums 156

Chapter 12 Ten Marvels of Relativity 159

Nature Doesn't Play Favorites 159

The Speed of Light Is Constant 160

Time Contracts at High Speeds 161

Space Travel Slows Down Aging 162

Length Shortens at High Speeds 162

Matter and Energy Are Equivalent: E = mc2 163

Matter + Antimatter Equals Boom 164

The Sun Is Losing Mass 164

You Can't Surpass the Speed of Light 164

Newton Was Right 165

Index 169

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  • Posted June 29, 2011

    Great book

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