Preface of Basic Physics: A Self-Teaching Guide 2nd Edition By Karl F. Kuhn
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This maxim applies to books as well as to many other endeavors, and it explains why such a long time passed between the first and second editions of this book. Elementary physics does not change much in a few decades, and therefore this edition contains very little new subject matter.
Why a new edition, then? First, some new examples have been added, either because of change in fashions or because of new applications of basic physics. An example of the latter is the now-common use of fiber optics, an application that was just coming on the scene when the first edition was printed. Second, some explanations have been rewritten to improve clarity. Finally, the “look” of the book has been updated to make it more attractive to today’s readers.
The fundamental purpose of the book has not changed, however, and if you are considering a study of this book you probably fit into one of the following categories:
• You are enrolled in an introductory physics course and wish to have a study guide to accompany your textbook. This book follows the traditional order of topics that is used in the most popular classroom texts.
• You are taking a course that uses a nonmathematical, conceptual book as its primary text, and your instructor has adopted this book as a supplement in order to include more problem-solving in the course. The traditional order of topics in this book is also used in the most prevalent conceptual physics texts.
• You are enrolled in a course that uses this book as its primary text.
• You are not taking a formal physics course, but you wish to learn, or review, some physics-perhaps to enable you to pass a test that requires a knowledge of physics.
In any case, Basic Physics can help you. It is a complete, selfcontained physics book with a programmed format. The chapters are divided into short steps called frames. Each frame presents some new material, and then asks you questions to test your comprehension. By faithfully answering the questions (preferably by actually writing the answers in the spaces provided or on a separate sheet) before you check the answers I supply, you will be able to check your progress. Learning theory tells us that by writing your answers, you understand and retain the material for a longer time. In fact, I suggest that you cover the furnished answers with a card or your hand until you have completed your own. If your answer does not agree with the one I provide, be sure you understand the discrepancy before proceeding to the next frame. To check yourself further, a Self-Test, with answers, is included at the end of each chapter.
Since physics builds from one principle to another, many chapters require an understanding of previous chapters. For this reason, the prerequisites for each chapter are listed on the first page of the chapter. Some frames within chapters, however, may be skipped without disrupting the logic of the development. Such frames, which are often mathematical treatments of the subject at hand, are labeled as “optional.” Some optional frames have a prerequisite of a prior optional frame; such prerequisites are listed at the beginning of the frame.
I suggest that you complete the entire Self-Test at the end of a chapter before checking your answers. In this way, your test will be more similar to classroom testing. Each answer in the Self-Test section includes a reference to the frame(s) to which you should return for help on missed items.
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