Physics : Concepts and Connections

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-01-01
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
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The third edition ofPhysics: Concepts and Connections is expressly for readers who want to better understand the universe and their role in it. Its non-technical language is ideal for readers looking for a basic overview of physics. Topics covered include force, gravity, energy, electromagnetism, and thermodynamics. For those with an interest in physics.

Table of Contents


1. The Way of Science: Experience and Reason.
Stardust: An Invitation to Science. Observing the Night Sky. Ancient Greek Theories: An Earth-Centered Universe. Copernicus's Theory: A Sun-Centered Universe. Kepler's Theory: A Sun-Focused Universe. The Scientific Revolution: A Dialogue between Nature and Mind. The Copernican Revolution: Dawn of the Modern Age.

2. Atoms: The Nature of Things.
The Greek Atom: the Smallest Pieces. Atoms and Molecules. Metric Distances and Powers of 10. The Atom's Explanatory Power: The Odor of Violets. The Smallness of Atoms: We All Are Breathing One Another. Atomic Materialism: Atoms and Empty Space. Three Atomic Models: Greek, Planetary, and Quantum. Chemistry and Life: What Did Atoms Ever Do for You?


3. How Things Move: Galileo Asks the Right Questions.
Aristotelian Physics: A Commonsense View. How Do We Know? Difficulties with Aristotelian Physics. The Law of Inertia: Foundation of Newtonian Physics. Measuring Motion: Speed and Velocity. Measuring Motion: Acceleration. Galileo's Law of Falling.

4. Why Things Move as They Do.
Force: Why Things Accelerate. Connecting Force and Acceleration. Newton's Law of Motion: Centerpiece of Newtonian Physics. Weight: Gravity's Force on a Body. The Law of Force Pairs: You Can't Do Just One Thing. Newton Meets the Automobile.

5. The Mechanical Universe.
The Idea of Gravity: The Apple and the Moon. The Law of Gravity: Moving the Farthest Star. Gravitational Collapse: The Evolution of the Solar System. Gravitational Collapse: The Deaths of More Massive Stars. The Newtonian Worldview: A Democratic, Mechanical Universe. Beyond Newton: Limitations of Newtonian Physics.


6. Energy: You Can't Get Ahead.
Work: Using a Force to Move Something. Work and Energy: A Simple Example. A Quantitative Look at Energy. Energy: The Ability to do Work. The Law of Energy: Energy Is Forever. Transformations of Energy. Power: The Quickness of Energy Transformation.

7. Second Law of Thermodynamics: And You Can't Even Break Even.
Heating. Heat Engines: Using Thermal Energy to Do Work. Energy Quality: Things Run Down. The Law of Entropy: Why You Can't Break Even. The Automobile. Transportation Efficiency. The Steam-Electric Power Plant. Resource Use and Exponential Growth.

8. Light and Electromagnetism.
Waves: Something Else That Travels. Interference: A Behavior Unique to Waves. Light: Particles or Wave? Electric Force: Part of the Electromagnetic Force. Magnetic Force: The Other Part. The Electric Atom: The Planetary Model. The Planetary Atom: A Useful Theory.

9. Electromagnetic Radiation and Global Climate Change.
Force Fields: A Disturbance of Space. The Electromagnetic Wave Theory of Light. The Decline of the Newtonian Universe. The Complete Spectrum. Solar Radiation: The Light from Our Star. Global Ozone Depletion: A Vulnerable Planet. Global Warming: The Overarching Issue Now.


10. Relativity Theory.
Einstein: Rebel with a Cause. Galilean Relativity: Relativity According to Newtonian Physics. The Principle of Relativity: Relativity According to Einstein. The Constancy of Lightspeek: Strange But True. Einstein's Logic, Materialism, and the Logic of Science. The Relativity of Time. Time Travel: You Can't Go Home Again.

11. The Relativistic Universe.
The Relativity of Space. The Relativity of Velocity According to Einstein. The Relativity of Mass: Inertia Is Relative. E = mc^2: Energy Has Mass, and Mass Has Energy. Relativity and the Newtonian Worldview. The General Theory of Relativity: Einstein's Gravity. General Relativity and the Shape of the Universe. The Latest News from the Edge of the Universe: Dark Matter and Dark Energy.

12. Are We Alone? The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.
Are There Other “Good” Places for Life? Does Life Develop on “Good” Planets? Is Intelligence a Characteristic Feature of Life? Does Intelligent Life Develop Technology? Interstellar Communication and Travel: Might We Make Contact? Fermi's Question: Where Is Everybody? Have We Been Visited? UFOs and Pseudoscience.

13. The Quantum Theory.
Quantization: The Photoelectric Effect. Radiation: Waves or Particles? The Duality of Nature. The Electron Interference Effect. Matter: Particles or Waves? The Quantum Mystery. The Psi Field: Nature Doesn't Know What She Will Do Next. The Quantum Theory of Matter and Radiation.

14. The Quantum Universe.
How Do We Know? Observing Atomic Spectra. The Quantum Atom. The Indeterminacy Principle: The Future Is not Determined by the Past. Quantum Jumps. The Interconnectedness Principle: Spooky Action at a Distance. What Does It Mean? Quantum Reality. Toward a Post-Newtonian Worldview.


15. The Nucleus and Radioactivity: A New Force.
Nuclear Forces: The Third Glue. Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Structure. Radioactive Decay: A Spontaneous Nuclear Disintegration. Half-Life: When Does a Nucleus Decay? Radioactive Dating: When Did We Come From? Human Exposure to Ionizing Radiation. Risk Assessment: Dealing with Risk in a Technological Society.

16. Fusion and Fission: And a New Energy.
Fusion: Fire of the Sun. The Nuclear Energy Curve. Creation of the Universe and the Atoms: We Are Star Dust. The Discovery of Fission: Passage to a New Age. The Chain Reaction: Unlocking the Strong Force. The Manhattan Project and Fission Weapons. Fusion Weapons: Star Fire on Earth.

17. The Energy Future.
A Brief History of Energy. Energy Use Today and Future Possibilities. Nuclear Power: How It Works. Technology Assessment: An Example. Issues for Nuclear Power. Future Energy Options: Renewables. Future Energy Options: Using Less.

18. Quantum Fields: Relativity Meets the Quantum.
Quantized Fields: The Reason There Are Particles. Quantum Electrodynamics: The Strange Theory of Electrons and Light. Antimatter. Electroweak Unification and Neutrinos. The Strong Force and Quarks. Quantum Gravity: Physics at the Planck Scale. Connecting Quarks with the Cosmos: The Inflationary Universe.

Epilogue: Summing Up.
Answers to Odd-Numbered Exercises and Problems.
Photo Credits.


This book is for all those who desire to better understand the universe and their role in it, and especially for those who want to make a difference in our planet's future. It is written in nontechnical language for students whose careers will probably lie outside the sciences, but it is also for scientists and others striving to understand nature's ways and her connections to our lives. Thus, this is not a watered-down version of the standard physics textbooks for scientists. It presents physics as a human endeavor in its full philosophical and social context. Many groups' have recommended new approaches to science education and science literacy. This book reflects these recommendations in several ways: Scientific literacy.This book addresses the values, philosophical meaning, and societal impact of science, and stresses the scientific approach to knowledge. Modern view of the universe.Fully half of this book is devoted to relativity, quantum theory, nuclear physics, quantum fields, and other post-Newtonian and contemporary topics. Societal connections.This book includes such physics-related societal topics as ozone depletion, global warming, technological risk, energy resources, nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and pseudoscience. Interactive learning.Research in physics education has shown the importance of interactive engagement in student learning. This book engages students through frequent quick "Concept Checks" within each chapter, "How Do We Know?" subsections, a choice of topics that is relevant to student needs and interests, and a style that focuses on understanding rather than technicalities. A conceptual approach, with appropriate quantitative skills.Physics education research has shown the importance of explicitly focusing on the meaning of physics. For nonscientists, there is no need to learn algebra-based problem-solving techniques. On the other hand, quantitative measurement and tools such as graphs, probabilities, estimates, and powers of 10 are important for everyone. Thus the text is conceptual and numerate, but nonalgebraic. Algebra-based problems are, however, included in most chapters for those classes in which they are appropriate. Less is more.This book presents most of the great ideas of physics, but omits many "classical" topics normally included in introductory courses. Many studies have found that it is a mistake to present all of the traditional topics in one course. Depth is preferable to encyclopedic breadth, especially if the course is to move beyond nineteenth-century physics. Unifying themes.Four recurrent story lines, discussed below, unify the presentation and represent the book's pedagogical goals. The first and foremost story line ishow we know in science.Science is much more than a body of knowledge. It is a way of knowing--a process for proposing, disposing, testing, and refining ideas. The notion that knowledge comes from experience and is subject to testing by observation and rational thought is science's most basic value--and probably its most important benefit. Thus "how do we know" dominates Chapter 1 and is the book's constant refrain. The second theme isthe significance of post-Newtonian physics."Modern" physics (physics since 1900) reveals a universe of fields and energy structured according to relativity and quantum theory, a universe vastly different from older theories of indestructible particles in precise and predictable motion. Our culture still lives in the Newtonian age, while science has moved far beyond it. So it is important, especially for liberal-arts students, to treat modern physics in depth. Energy,the book's central physical concept, forms the third recurrent theme. From the fall of a pebble, to nuclear processes, to the evolution of the un

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