Physics of Waves


Because of the increasing demands and complexity of undergraduate physics courses (atomic, quantum, solid state, nuclear, etc.), it is often impossible to devote separate courses to the classic wave phenomena of optics, acoustics, and electromagnetic radiation. This brief comprehensive text helps alleviate the problem with a unique overview of classical wave theory in one volume.
By examining a sequence of concrete and specific examples (emphasizing the physics of wave motion), ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$17.57 price
(Save 11%)$19.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (30) from $1.99   
  • New (13) from $10.07   
  • Used (17) from $1.99   
Physics of Waves

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.49 price
(Save 42%)$19.95 List Price


Because of the increasing demands and complexity of undergraduate physics courses (atomic, quantum, solid state, nuclear, etc.), it is often impossible to devote separate courses to the classic wave phenomena of optics, acoustics, and electromagnetic radiation. This brief comprehensive text helps alleviate the problem with a unique overview of classical wave theory in one volume.
By examining a sequence of concrete and specific examples (emphasizing the physics of wave motion), the authors unify the study of waves, developing abstract and general features common to all wave motion. The fundamental ideas of wave motion are set forth in the first chapter, using the stretched string as a particular model. In Chapter Two, the two-dimensional membrane is used to introduce Bessel functions and the characteristic features of waveguides. In Chapters Three and Four, elementary elasticity theory is developed and applied to find the various classes of waves that can be supported by a rigid rod. The impedance concept is also introduced at this point. Chapter Five discusses acoustic waves in fluids.
The remainder of the book offers concise coverage of hydrodynamic waves at a liquid surface, general waves in isotropic elastic solids, electromagnetic waves, the phenomenon of wave diffraction, and other important topics. A special feature of this book is the inclusion of additional material designed to encourage the serious student to investigate topics often not covered in lectures. Throughout, the mathematics is kept relatively simple (mostly differential equations) and is accessible to advanced undergraduates with a year of calculus. In addition, carefully selected problems at the end of each section extend the coverage of the text by asking the student to supply mathematical details for calculations outlined in the section, or to develop the theory for related cases.
Impressively broad in scope, Physics of Waves offers a novel approach to the study of classical wave theory — a wide-ranging but thorough survey of an important discipline that pervades much of contemporary physics. The simplicity, breadth, and brevity of the book make it ideal as a classroom text or as a vehicle for self-study.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486649269
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 10/1/1985
  • Series: Dover Books on Physics Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 477
  • Sales rank: 477,766
  • Product dimensions: 5.41 (w) x 8.45 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Transverse Waves on a String
  1.1 The wave equation for an ideal stretched string
  1.2 A general solution of the one-dimensional wave equation
  1.3 Harmonic or sinusoidal waves
  1.4 Standing sinusoidal waves
  1.5 Solving the wave equation by the method of separation of variables
  1.6 The general motion of a finite string segment
  1.7 Fourier series
  1.8 Energy carried by waves on a string
  1.9 The reflection and transmission of waves at a discontinuity
  *1.10 Another derivation of the wave equation for strings
  *1.11 Momentum carried by a wave
2 Waves on a Membrane
  2.1 The wave equation for a stretched membrane
  2.2 Standing waves on a rectangular membrane
  2.3 Standing waves on a circular membrane
  2.4 Interference phenomena with plane traveling waves
3 Introduction to the Theory of Elasticity
  3.1 The elongation of a rod
  3.2 Volume changes in an elastic medium
  3.3 Shear distortion in a plane
  3.4 The torsion of round tubes and rods
  3.5 The statics of a simple beam
  3.6 The bending of a simple beam
  3.7 Helical springs
4 One-dimensional Elastic Waves
  4.1 Longitudinal waves on a slender rod
    (a) The wave equation
    (b) Standing waves
    (c) Energy and power
    (d) Momentum transport
  4.2 The impedance concept
  4.3 Rods with varying cross-sectional area
  4.4 The effect of small perturbations on normal-mode frequencies
  4.5 Torsional waves on a round rod
  4.6 Transverse waves on a slender rod
  (a) The wave equation
    (b) Solution of the wave equation
    (c) Traveling waves
    (d) Normal-mode vibrations
  4.7 Phase and group velocity
  4.8 Waves on a helical spring
  *4.9 Perturbation calculations
5 Acoustic Waves in Fluids
  5.1 The wave equation for fluids
  *5.2 The velocity of sound in gases
  5.3 Plane acoustic waves
    (a) Traveling sinusoidal waves
    (b) Standing waves of sound
  5.4 The cavity (Helmholtz) resonator
  5.5 Spherical acoustic waves
  5.6 Reflection and refraction at a plane interface
  5.7 Standing waves in a rectangular box
  5.8 The Doppler effect
  *5.9 The velocity potential
  *5.10 Shock Waves
*6 Waves on a Liquid Surface
  6.1 Basic hydrodynamics
    (a) Kinematical equations
    (b) The equation of continuity
    (c) The Bernoulli equation
  6.2 Gravity waves
  6.3 Effect of surface tension
  6.4 Tidal waves and the tides
    (a) Tidal waves
    (b) Tide-generating forces
    (c) Equilibrium theory of tides
    (d) The dynamical theory of tides
  6.5 Energy and power relations
*7 Elastic Waves in Solids
  7.1 Tensors and dyadics
  7.2 Strain as a dyadic
  7.3 Stress as a dyadic
  7.4 Hooke's law
  7.5 Waves in an isotropic medium
    (a) Irrotational waves
    (b) Solenoidal waves
  7.6 Energy relations
  *7.7 Momentum transport by a shear wave
*8 Electromagnetic Waves
  8.1 Two-conductor transmission line
    (a) Circuit equations
    (b) Wave equation
    (c) Characteristic impedance
    (d) Reflection from terminal impedance
    (e) Impedance measurement
  8.2 Maxwell's equations
  8.3 Plane waves
  8.4 Electromagnetic energy and momentum
  8.5 Waves in a conducting medium
  8.6 Reflection and refraction at a plane interface
    (a) Boundary conditions
    (b) Normal incidence on a conductor
    (c) Oblique incidence on a nonconductor
  8.7 Waveguides
    (a) The vector wave equation
    (b) General solution for waveguides
    (c) Rectangular cross section
    *(d) Circular cross section
  8.8 Propagation in ionized gases
  8.9 Spherical waves
9 Wave Propagation in Inhomogeneous and Obstructed Media
  9.1 The WKB approximation
  9.2 Geometrical optics
  9.3 The Huygens-Fresnel principle
  9.4 Kirchhoff diffraction theory
    (a) Green's theorem
    (b) The Helmholtz-Kirchhoff theorem
    (c) Kirchoff boundary conditions
  9.5 Diffraction of transverse waves
  *9.6 Young's formulation of diffraction
10 Fraunhofer Diffraction
  10.1 The paraxial approximation
  10.2 The Fraunhofer limit
  10.3 The rectangular aperture
  10.4 The single slit
  10.5 The circular aperture
  10.6 The double slit
  10.7 Multiple slits
  *10.8 Practical diffraction gratings for spectral analysis
    (a) Gratings of arbitrary periodic structure
    (b) The grating equation
    (c) Dispersion
    (d) Resolving power
  *10.9 Two-dimensional gratings
  *10.10 Three-dimensional gratings
11 Fresnel Diffraction
  11.1 Fresnel zones
    (a) Circular zones
    (b) Off-axis diffraction
    (c) Linear zones
  11.2 The rectangular aperture
    (a) Geometry and notation
    (b) The Cornu spiral
  11.3 The linear slit
  11.4 The straight edge
12 Spectrum Analysis of Waveforms
  12.1 Nonsinusoidal periodic waves
  12.2 Nonrecurrent waves
  12.3 Amplitude-modulated waves
  12.4 Phase-modulated waves
  12.5 The motion of a wave packet in a dispersive medium
  12.6 The Fourier transform method
  12.7 Properties of transfer functions
  12.8 Partial coherence in a wavefield
A. Vector calculus
B. The Smith calculator
C. Proof of the uncertainty relation
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)