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Essential University Physics Volume 1

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2019-01-04
  • Publisher: Pearson

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


For two- and three-semester university physics courses.
0134988558 / 9780134988559: Volume 1 contains Chapters 1–19


Focus on the fundamentals and help students see connections between problem types

Richard Wolfson’s Essential University Physics is a concise and progressive calculus-based physics textbook that offers clear writing, great problems, and relevant real-life applications in an affordable and streamlined text. The book teaches sound problem-solving strategies and emphasizes conceptual understanding, using features such as annotated figures and step-by-step problem-solving strategies. Realizing students have changed a great deal over time while the fundamentals of physics have changed very little, Wolfson makes physics relevant and alive for students by sharing the latest physics applications in a concise and captivating style.


The 4th Edition incorporates research from instructors, reviewers, and thousands of students to expand the book’s  problem sets and consistent problem-solving strategy. A new problem type guides students to see patterns, make connections between problems that can be solved using similar steps, and apply those steps when working problems on homework and exams. New digital tools and the interactive Pearson eText increase student interactivity to help them develop confidence in solving problems, deepen their conceptual understanding, and strengthen quantitative-reasoning skills.


Essential University Physics is offered as two paperback volumes available together or for sale individually.


Also available with Mastering Physics

By combining trusted author content with digital tools and a flexible platform, Mastering personalizes the learning experience and improves results for each student.Now providing a fully integrated experience, the eText is linked to every problem within Mastering for seamless integration between homework problems, practice problems, textbook, worked examples, and more.


Note: You are purchasing a standalone product; Mastering Physics does not come packaged with this content. Students, if interested in purchasing this title with Mastering Physics , ask your instructor for the correct package ISBN and Course ID. Instructors, contact your Pearson representative for more information.


If you would like to purchase both volumes of the physical text and Mastering Physics, search for:


0134989287 / 9780134989280 Essential University Physics Plus Mastering Physics with Pearson eText -- Access Card Package

Package consists of:

  • 0134988558 / 9780134988559 Essential University Physics: Volume 1
  • 0134988566 / 9780134988566 Essential University Physics: Volume 2
  • 0135159695 / 9780135159699 Mastering Physics with Pearson eText -- ValuePack Access Card -- for Essential University Physics

Author Biography

Richard Wolfson is the Benjamin F. Wissler Professor of Physics at Middlebury College, where he has taught since 1976. He did undergraduate work at MIT and Swarthmore College, and he holds an M.S. from the University of Michigan and Ph.D. from Dartmouth. His ongoing research on the Sun’s corona and climate change has taken him to sabbaticals at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado; St. Andrews University in Scotland; and Stanford University.


Rich is a committed and passionate teacher. This is reflected in his many publications for students and the general public, including the video series Einstein’s Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Nonscientists (The Teaching Company, 1999), Physics in Your Life (The Teaching Company, 2004), Physics and Our Universe: How It All Works (The Teaching Company, 2011), and Understanding Modern Electronics(The Teaching Company, 2014); books Nuclear Choices: A Citizen’s Guide to Nuclear Technology (MIT Press, 1993), Simply Einstein: Relativity Demystified (W. W. Norton, 2003), and Energy, Environment, and Climate(W. W. Norton, 3rd edition 2018); and articles for Scientific American and the World Book Encyclopedia.


Outside of his research and teaching, Rich enjoys hiking, canoeing, gardening, cooking, and watercolor painting.

Table of Contents

Volume 1 contains Chapters 1—19

Volume 2 contains Chapters 20—39


1 Doing Physics  

1.1       Realms of Physics  

1.2       Measurements and Units  

1.3       Working with Numbers  

1.4       Strategies for Learning Physics  

Part One


2 Motion in a Straight Line  

2.1       Average Motion  

2.2       Instantaneous Velocity  

2.3       Acceleration  

2.4       Constant Acceleration  

2.5       The Acceleration of Gravity  

2.6       When Acceleration Isn’t Constant  

Chapter 3 Motion in Two and Three Dimensions  

3.1       Vectors  

3.2       Velocity and Acceleration Vectors  

3.3       Relative Motion  

3.4       Constant Acceleration  

3.5       Projectile Motion  

3.6       Uniform Circular Motion  

4 Force and Motion  

4.1       The Wrong Question  

4.2       Newton’s First and Second Laws  

4.3       Forces  

4.4       The Force of Gravity  

4.5       Using Newton’s Second Law  

4.6       Newton’s Third Law  

5 Using Newton’s Laws  

5.1       Using Newton’s Second Law  

5.2       Multiple Objects  

5.3       Circular Motion  

5.4       Friction  

5.5       Drag Forces  

6 Energy, Work, and Power  

6.1       Energy  

6.2       Work  

6.3       Forces That Vary  

6.4       Kinetic Energy  

6.5       Power  

7 Conservation of Energy  

7.1       Conservative and Nonconservative Forces  

7.2       Potential Energy  

7.3       Conservation of Mechanical Energy  

7.4       Nonconservative Forces  

7.5       Conservation of Energy  

7.6       Potential-Energy Curves  

8 Gravity  

8.1       Toward a Law of Gravity  

8.2       Universal Gravitation  

8.3       Orbital Motion  

8.4       Gravitational Energy  

8.5       The Gravitational Field  

9 Systems of Particles  

9.1       Center of Mass  

9.2       Momentum  

9.3       Kinetic Energy of a System  

9.4       Collisions  

9.5       Totally Inelastic Collisions  

9.6       Elastic Collisions  

10 Rotational Motion  

10.1     Angular Velocity and Acceleration  

10.2     Torque  

10.3     Rotational Inertia and the Analog of Newton’s Law  

10.4     Rotational Energy  

10.5     Rolling Motion  

11 Rotational Vectors and Angular Momentum  

11.1     Angular Velocity and Acceleration Vectors  

11.2     Torque and the Vector Cross Product  

11.3     Angular Momentum  

11.4     Conservation of Angular Momentum  

11.5     Gyroscopes and Precession  

12 Static Equilibrium  

12.1     Conditions for Equilibrium  

12.2     Center of Gravity  

12.3     Examples of Static Equilibrium  

12.4     Stability  

Part Two

Oscillations, Waves, and Fluids  

13 Oscillatory Motion  

13.1     Describing Oscillatory Motion  

13.2     Simple Harmonic Motion  

13.3     Applications of Simple Harmonic Motion  

13.4     Circular Motion and Harmonic Motion  

13.5     Energy in Simple Harmonic Motion  

13.6     Damped Harmonic Motion  

13.7     Driven Oscillations and Resonance  

14 Wave Motion  

14.1     Waves and Their Properties  

14.2     Wave Math  

14.3     Waves on a String  

14.4     Wave Energy

14.54   Sound Waves  

14.65   Interference  

14.76   Reflection and Refraction  

14.87   Standing Waves  

14.98   The Doppler Effect and Shock Waves  

15 Fluid Motion  

15.1     Density and Pressure  

15.2     Hydrostatic Equilibrium  

15.3     Archimedes’ Principle and Buoyancy  

15.4     Fluid Dynamics  

15.5     Applications of Fluid Dynamics  

15.6     Viscosity and Turbulence  

Part Three


16 Temperature and Heat  

16.1     Heat, Temperature, and Thermodynamic Equilibrium  

16.2     Heat Capacity and Specific Heat  

16.3     Heat Transfer  

16.4     Thermal-Energy Balance  

17 The Thermal Behavior of Matter  

17.1     Gases  

17.2     Phase Changes  

17.3     Thermal Expansion  

18 Heat, Work, and the First Law of Thermodynamics  

18.1     The First Law of Thermodynamics  

18.2     Thermodynamic Processes  

18.3     Specific Heats of an Ideal Gas  

19 The Second Law of Thermodynamics  

19.1     Reversibility and Irreversibility  

19.2     The Second Law of Thermodynamics  

19.3     Applications of the Second Law  

19.4     Entropy and Energy Quality  

Part Four


20 Electric Charge, Force, and Field  

20.1     Electric Charge  

20.2     Coulomb’s Law  

20.3     The Electric Field  

20.4     Fields of Charge Distributions  

20.5     Matter in Electric Fields  

21 Gauss’s Law  

21.1     Electric Field Lines  

21.2     Electric Field and Electric Flux  

21.3     Gauss’s Law  

21.4     Using Gauss’s Law  

21.5     Fields of Arbitrary Charge Distributions  

21.6     Gauss’s Law and Conductors  

22 Electric Potential  

22.1     Electric Potential Difference  

22.2     Calculating Potential Difference  

22.3     Potential Difference and the Electric Field  

22.4     Charged Conductors  

23 Electrostatic Energy and Capacitors  

23.1     Electrostatic Energy  

23.2     Capacitors  

23.3     Using Capacitors  

23.4     Energy in the Electric Field  

24 Electric Current  

24.1     Electric Current  

24.2     Conduction Mechanisms  

24.3     Resistance and Ohm’s Law  

24.4     Electric Power  

24.5     Electrical Safety  

25 Electric Circuits  

25.1     Circuits, Symbols, and Electromotive Force  

25.2     Series and Parallel Resistors  

25.3     Kirchhoff’s Laws and Multiloop Circuits  

25.4     Electrical Measurements  

25.5     Capacitors in Circuits  

26 Magnetism: Force and Field  

26.1     What Is Magnetism?  

26.2     Magnetic Force and Field  

26.3     Charged Particles in Magnetic Fields  

26.4     The Magnetic Force on a Current  

26.5     Origin of the Magnetic Field  

26.6     Magnetic Dipoles  

26.7     Magnetic Matter  

26.8     Ampère’s Law  

27 Electromagnetic Induction  

27.1     Induced Currents  

27.2     Faraday’s Law  

27.3     Induction and Energy  

27.4     Inductance  

27.5     Magnetic Energy  

27.6     Induced Electric Fields  

28 Alternating-Current Circuits  

28.1     Alternating Current  

28.2     Circuit Elements in AC Circuits  

28.3     LC Circuits  

28.4     Driven RLC Circuits and Resonance  

28.5     Power in AC Circuits  

28.6     Transformers and Power Supplies  

29 Maxwell’s Equations and Electromagnetic Waves  

29.1     The Four Laws of Electromagnetism  

29.2     Ambiguity in Ampère’s Law  

29.3     Maxwell’s Equations  

29.4     Electromagnetic Waves  

29.5     Properties of Electromagnetic Waves  

29.6     The Electromagnetic Spectrum  

29.7     Producing Electromagnetic Waves  

29.8     Energy and Momentum in Electromagnetic Waves  

Part Five


30 Reflection and Refraction  

30.1     Reflection  

30.2     Refraction  

30.3     Total Internal Reflection  

30.4     Dispersion  

31 Images and Optical Instruments  

31.1     Images with Mirrors  

31.2     Images with Lenses  

31.3     Refraction in Lenses: The Details  

31.4     Optical Instruments  

32 Interference and Diffraction  

32.1     Coherence and Interference  

32.2     Double-Slit Interference  

32.3     Multiple-Slit Interference and Diffraction Gratings  

32.4     Interferometry  

32.5     Huygens’ Principle and Diffraction  

32.6     The Diffraction Limit  

Part Six

Modern Physics  648

33 Relativity  

33.1     Speed c Relative to What?  

33.2     Matter, Motion, and the Ether  

33.3     Special Relativity  

33.4     Space and Time in Relativity  

33.5     Simultaneity Is Relative  

33.6     The Lorentz Transformations  

33.7     Energy and Momentum in Relativity  

33.8     Electromagnetism and Relativity  

33.9     General Relativity  

34 Particles and Waves  

34.1     Toward Quantum Theory  

34.2     Blackbody Radiation  

34.3     Photons  

34.4     Atomic Spectra and the Bohr Atom  

34.5     Matter Waves  

34.6     The Uncertainty Principle  

34.7     Complementarity  

35 Quantum Mechanics  

35.1     Particles, Waves, and Probability  

35.2     The Schrödinger Equation  

35.3     Particles and Potentials  

35.4     Quantum Mechanics in Three Dimensions  

35.5     Relativistic Quantum Mechanics  

36 Atomic Physics  

36.1     The Hydrogen Atom  

36.2     Electron Spin  

36.3     The Exclusion Principle  

36.4     Multielectron Atoms and the Periodic Table  

36.5     Transitions and Atomic Spectra  

37 Molecules and Solids  

37.1     Molecular Bonding  

37.2     Molecular Energy Levels  

37.3     Solids  

37.4     Superconductivity  

38 Nuclear Physics  

38.1     Elements, Isotopes, and Nuclear Structure  

38.2     Radioactivity  

38.3     Binding Energy and Nucleosynthesis  

38.4     Nuclear Fission  

38.5     Nuclear Fusion  

39 From Quarks to the Cosmos  

39.1     Particles and Forces  

39.2     Particles and More Particles  

39.3     Quarks and the Standard Model  

39.4     Unification  

39.5     The Evolving Universe  


Appendix A Mathematics  

Appendix B The International System of Units (SI)  

Appendix C Conversion Factors  

Appendix D The Elements  

Appendix E Astrophysical Data

Answers to Odd-Numbered Problems  


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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