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Basic Concepts in Physics: From the Cosmos to Quarks (Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics) Hardcover – 6 Nov 2013
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Selected by Choice magazine as an "Outstanding Academic Title" for 2014
“This is a very high-quality presentation. The writing is lucid, and the theoretical discussions are easy to follow for anyone comfortable with the mathematics. … the work is a valuable addition to college libraries. Professionals and researchers will also want it on their bookshelves; it provides an excellent refresher on a wide range of topics and can serve as a good starting point for expanding knowledge of new or unfamiliar subjects. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above.” (A. Spero, Choice, Vol. 51 (9), May, 2014)
“It describes all the major developments and theories regarding the description of the universe we live on, from the very small to the very large. … I highly recommend this book to any physicist. It will not only be a fun and an easy read but also a useful revision of all the main concepts in physics. Undergraduate and graduate physics students definitely should read it. … appropriate for scientists in other fields who have a genuine interest for physics.” (Monica Pierri-Galvao, Contemporary Physics, April, 2014)
From the Back Cover
"Basic Concepts in Physics: From the Cosmos to Quarks" is the outcome of the authors' long and varied teaching experience in different countries and for different audiences, and gives an accessible and eminently readable introduction to all the main ideas of modern physics. The book’s fresh approach, using a novel combination of historical and conceptual viewpoints, makes it ideal complementary reading to more standard textbooks. The first five chapters are devoted to classical physics, from planetary motion to special relativity, always keeping in mind its relevance to questions of contemporary interest. The next six chapters deal mainly with newer developments in physics, from quantum theory and general relativity to grand unified theories, and the book concludes by discussing the role of physics in living systems. A basic grounding in mathematics is required of the reader, but technicalities are avoided as far as possible; thus complex calculations are omitted so long as the essential ideas remain clear. The book is addressed to undergraduate and graduate students in physics and will also be appreciated by many professional physicists. It will likewise be of interest to students, researchers and teachers of other natural sciences, as well as to engineers, high-school teachers and the curious general reader, who will come to understand what physics is about and how it describes the different phenomena of Nature. Not only will readers of this book learn much about physics, they will also learn to love it.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Although there are some derivations, application of formulas for problem solving isn’t shown and would have required a much longer book that would impact its basic purpose. Because this text is concise, every sentence must be read carefully; and almost every paragraph reveals writing of highly thoughtful intelligence and profundity. High-level and up-to-date concepts are interspersed throughout for a more holistic presentation. Altogether, this adds substance for professional readers as well as for motivated students. More casual readers might find the book to be too challenging and wishing they had more physics background and history and math before seeking this level of overview and trying to persevere to read the book all the way through.
I am not aware of any other competing book available at quite this level offering such broad exposure. But, of course, actually learning a subject requires more immersion than can be given in a summary reference. There is no quick substitute for the solving of many home-work problems, deriving related formulas, knowing much more history and debate about the topic and elaborating the material. Overviews and reference sources have a different purpose. There are some people who would wish to review the physics they know and tackle a few new things they don’t yet know. Some might just read selected sections for new knowledge. Many would use the book as a reference to avoid having to go through several shelves of more focused single texts. Twelve sections are called advanced and might appeal to more specialized readers. Sampling modern physics material at the level of this book might be suitable for a discussion group and serve to motivate further self-study.
I do recommend this book for use by its unusual audience.