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Introductory Physics

Tracer Bullet 10-1


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Physics might be defined as the study of patterns in nature: patterns described by mathematically-expressed models, which are then tested by rigorous experiment. It is a field which describes the interactions of matter and energy in all its forms, and includes both the mundane and the esoteric, on scales ranging from the sub-atomic to the galactic.

Physics is a mental collaboration that has taken place world-wide across the centuries. Its many dedicated contributors have ranged from the philosophers of ancient Greece, to legendary geniuses such as Galileo and Newton, to giants of the twentieth century like Einstein and Feynman, and will include the scientists--and students--of today and tomorrow.

This Library of Congress Science Tracer Bullet updates TB05-7 and is intended as a basic list of resources for those wanting to know something about the science, methods, people, and discoveries of physics. The books mentioned are meant only as introductions to the subject. This and other recent Tracer Bullets are available online from the Science Reference Section at URL: Not meant to be a comprehensive bibliography, this compilation is designed--as the name of the series implies--to put the reader “on target.”



Brush, Stephen G. Physics. In Encyclopedia Americana. International ed. v. 22. Danbury, CT, Scholastic Library Pub., c2006. p. 49-56.
   AE5.E333 2006 v. 22 <BusRR>

Lerner, K. Lee, and David E. Newton. Physics. In Gale encyclopedia of science. 4th ed. v. 4. Detroit, Thomson Gale, c2008. p. 3327-3330.
   Q121.G37 2008 v. 4 <SciRR>

Trefil, James. Physics. In The World book encyclopedia. v. 15. Chicago, World Book, c2009. p. 436-444.
   AE5.W55 2009 v. 15 <BusRR>



Subject Headings used by the Library of Congress, under which books on physics can be located in most card, book, and online catalogs:

Highly Relevant:








Textbooks contain an organized, reliable introduction to physics. Textbooks are especially valuable because of the questions and problem sets they contain. Often an author will use them to emphasize points of special importance, to involve and challenge the student with the material, or even to include supplemental information. More recent textbooks often include digital materials, ranging from disks supplied with the text to websites established and maintained by the publisher for book purchasers.

While most textbooks deal with the same basic breadth of information, the depth of their treatment depends on the level of mathematical sophistication they employ. Mathematics is the most precise "language" of physics, and advanced study requires mathematical fluency.


Basic Math Needed

Bloomfield, Louis. How everything works: making physics out of the ordinary. Hoboken, NJ, Wiley, c2007. 720 p.
   QC24.5.B56 2007 <SciRR>

Bloomfield, Louis. How things work: the physics of everyday life. 3rd ed. New York, Wiley, c2006.
561 p.
   QC21.2.B59 2006 <SciRR>

Eisenkraft, Arthur. Active physics. Armonk, N.Y., It's About Time, Inc., 1998. 7pts.
   Title of the parts include Home, Medicine, Transportation, Predictions, Communications, Sports and Light up my Life.
   Not in LC Collections

Glashow, Sheldon L. From alchemy to quarks: the study of physics as a liberal art. Pacific Grove, Cal., Brooks/Cole Pub., 1994. 692 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.
   Some algebra needed to understand this volume.
   QC21.2.G58 1994

Griffith, W. Thomas, and Juliet W. Brosing. The physics of everyday phenomena: a conceptual introduction to physics. 6th ed. Dubuque, IA, McGraw-Hill, c2008. 512 p.
   Some algebra needed to understand this volume.
   QC23.2.G75 2008

Hewitt, Paul G. Conceptual physics. 11th ed. Boston, Addison-Wesley, c2010. 737 p.
   Some algebra needed to understand this volume.
   QC23.2.H488 2010 <SciRR>

Kirkpatrick, Larry D., and Gregory E. Francis. Physics, a world view. 6th ed. Belmont, CA, Thomson Brooks/Cole, c2007. 603 p.
   Some algebra needed to understand this volume.
   QC23.2.K57 2007

March, Robert H. Physics for poets. 5th ed. Boston McGraw-Hill, c2003. 288 p.
   Some algebra needed to understand this volume.
   QC23.2.M37 2003

Ostdiek, Vern J., and Donald J. Bord. Inquiry into physics. 6th ed. Belmont, CA, Thomson Brooks/Cole, c2008. 1 v. (various pagings)
   Some algebra needed to understand this volume.
   QC23.2.O88 2008

Trefil, James S., and Robert M. Hazen. Physics matters: an introduction to conceptual physics. Hoboken, N.J., Wiley, c2004. 691 p
   Some algebra needed to understand this volume.
   QC23.2.T74 2004

Algebra, Geometry, and Basic Trigonometry Needed

Cutnell, John D., and Kenneth W. Johnson; with contributions by Kent D. Fisher. Physics. 8 th ed. Hobobken, N.J., Wiley, c2009. 1012p.
   QC23.2.C87 2009

Ewen, Dale, Neill Schurter. Physics for career education. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Prentice Hall, c2002. 622 p.
   QC23.E9 2002

Giambattista, Alan, Betty McCarthy Richardson, and Robert C. Richardson. Physics. 2nd ed. Dubuque, IA, McGraw-Hill, 2010. 1120 p.
   QC21.3.G537 2010

Giancoli, Douglas C. Physics: principles with applications. 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J., Prentice Hall c2004-2005. 2 v.
   QC23.2.G399 2004

Giordano, Nicholas J. College physics: reasoning and relationships. Belmont, CA, Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning, c2010. 1082 p.
   QC21.3.G56 2010

Hecht, Eugene. Physics: algebra/trig. 3rd ed. Pacific Grove, CA., Thomson-Brooks/Cole, c2003. 1120 p. + 1 CD-ROM
   QC21.2.H427 2003 FT MEADE
   By appointment in Jefferson Microform RR (MRC).

Sears, Francis Weston, Mark W. Zemansky, and Hugh D. Young. College physics. 7th ed. Reading, MA, Addison-Wesley, c1991. 1060 p.
   QC23.S369 1991

Serway, Raymond A., and others. College physics. 8th ed. Belmont, CA, Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning, c2009. 960 p.
   QC21.3.S46 2009

Tippens, Paul E. Physics. 7th ed. Dubuque, IA, McGraw-Hill, c2007. 777 p.
   QC21.3.T57 2007

Touger, Jerold. Introductory physics: building understanding. Hoboken, N.J., Wiley, c2006. 875 p.
   QC21.3.T68 2006

Tsokos, K. A. Physics for the IB diploma. 5th ed. Cambridge, New York, Cambridge University Press, c2008. 836 p.
   QC21.3.T76 2008

Walker, James S. Physics. 4th ed. San Francisco, Pearson Addison-Wesley, c2010. 1155 p.
   QC23.2.W35 2010

Young, Hugh D, and Robert M. Geller. Sears & Zemansky’s college physics. 8th ed. San Francisco, Pearson/Addison Wesley, c2006. 640 p. + 1 CD-ROM
   Includes bibliographical references.
   QC23.2.Y68 2006 FT MEADE
   By appointment in Jefferson Microform RR (MRC).

Zitzewitz, Paul W. Glencoe physics: principles and problems. Lake Forest, IL, Glencoe, MacMillan/McGraw Hill, 2009. 944 p.
   QC23.2.P48 2009b

Algebra, Geometry, Basic Trigonometry, and Calculus Needed

Fishbane, Paul M., Stephen G. Gasiorowicz, and Stephen T. Thornton. Physics for scientists and engineers. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Pearson Prentice-Hall, c2005. 3 v.
   QQC23.2.F58 2005

Hecht, Eugene. Physics: calculus. 2nd ed. Pacific Grove, Calif., Brooks/Cole, 2000. 2 v. + 2 CD-ROMS
   QC21.2.H43 2000 <MRC>
   Please note: v. 1 available by appointment in Jefferson Microform RR (MRC).

Knight, Randall Dewey. Physics for scientists and engineers: a strategic approach: with modern physics. 2nd ed. San Francisco, Pearson Addison Wesley, c2008. 1365 p.
   QC23.2.K654 2008

Ohanian, Hans C., and John T. Markert. Physics for engineers and scientists. 3rd ed., extended ed. New York, W. W. Norton & Co., c2007. 1430 p.
   QC21.3.O53 2007b

Serway, Raymond A., and John W. Jewett, Jr. Physics for scientists and engineers. 7th ed. Belmont, CA, Thomson Brooks/Cole, 2006-
   QC23.2.S47 2006

Young, Hugh D., Roger A. Freedman; contributing author, A. Lewis Ford. Sears and Zemansky’s university physics: with modern physics. 12th ed. San Francisco, Pearson Addison Wesley, c2008. 3 v. (1551 p.)
   QC21.3.Y68 2008b

Walker, Jearl. Fundamentals of physics. 8th ed. Hoboken, NJ, Wiley, c2008. v. 1-
   At head of title: Halliday/Resnick.
   LC’s set incomplete as of 3/16/10.
   QC21.3.H35 2008

Wolfson, Richard. Essential university physics. San Francisco, Pearson Addison-Wesley, c2007.
2 v.
   QC21.3.W65 2007



Laboratory Investigations and Demonstrations

Experimentation is a vital part of the scientific method. While learning basic physics, experiments tie abstract concepts to real-life experience. Some of the following books have been written for younger readers, while others are meant to provide suggestions for physics teachers. They all contain fascinating methods and activities to bring the concepts presented in textbooks to life.

Cunningham, James B., and Norman Herr. Hands-on physics activities with real-life applications: easy-to-use labs and demonstrations for grades 8-12. West Nyack, N.Y., Center for Applied Research in Education, 1994. 657 p. (Physical science curriculum library, v. 1)
   QC30.C86 1994

Ehrlich, Robert. Turning the world inside out and 174 other simple physics demonstrations. Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 1990. 216 p.
   Bibliography: p. 209.
   QC33.E54 1990

Ehrlich, Robert. Why toast lands jelly-side down: zen and the art of physics demonstrations. Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 1997. 196 p.
   Bibliography: p. 193-194.
   QC33.E55 1997 <SciRR>

Friedhoffer, Robert. Physics lab in a housewares store. New York, Franklin Watts, c1996. 95 p.
   QC25.F76 1996

Friedhoffer, Robert. Physics lab in the home. New York, Franklin Watts, c1997. 80 p.
   QC25.F764 1997

Gibbs, Keith. The resourceful physics teacher: 600 ideas for creative teaching. Bristol, Eng., Philadelphia, Institute of Physics Publishing, 1999. 229 p.
   QC30.G53 1999

Miller, Julius Sumner. Demonstrations in physics. Sydney, London, Ure Smith, 1969. 144 p.
   QC33.M55 1969

Pitucco, Anthony P., and Shawn Agut. The restaurant at the beginning of the universe: exploring the wonderment of the world through physics. Tucson, Ariz., Zephyr Press, 1997. 152 p.
   Bibliography: p. 145.
   QC25.P53 1997

Sloane, T. O'Conor. Home experiments in science for old and young: a repertory of simple experiments with home-made apparatus. Philadelphia, H. C. Baird & Co., 1888. 261 p.

VanCleave, Janice P. Janice VanCleave's physics for every kid: 101 experiments in motion, heat, light, machines, and sound. New York, Wiley, c1991. 241 p.
   QC25.V25 1991

Lectures and Reflections

The following books provide a variety of approaches involving the use of physics to analyze phenomena.

Cole, K. C. First you build a cloud: and other reflections on physics as a way of life. San Diego, Harcourt Brace, 1999. 231 p.
   Bibliography p 221-222.
   Originally published as Sympathetic vibrations in New York by W. Morrow, c1985.
   QC21.2.C62 1999

Cole, Rodney. So you want to take physics: a preparatory course. Fort Worth, Saunders College Pub., 1993. 327 p.
   QC21.2.C623 1993

Feynman, Richard P. The character of physical law. Cambridge, Mass., M.I.T. Press, 1965. 173 p. (The M.I.T. Press paperback series, 66)
   QC28.F4 1965

Feynman, Richard P. Six easy pieces: essentials of physics, explained by its most brilliant teacher. Originally prepared for publication by Robert B. Leighton and Matthew Sands; new introduction by Paul Davies. Reading, Mass., Addison Wesley, 1995. 145 p.
   QC21.2.F52 1995

Feynman, Richard P., Robert B. Leighton, and Matthew Sands. The Feynman lectures on physics. Redwood City, Calif., Addison Wesley, c1989. 3 v.
   Contents: v. 1. Mainly mechanics, radiation, and heat.--v. 2. Mainly electromagnetism and matter.--v. 3. Quantum mechanics.
   Originally published 1963-1965.
   QC21.2.F49 1989 <SciRR>

Gerholm, Tor Ragnar. Physics and man, an invitation to modern physics. Totowa, N.J., Bedminster Press, 1967. 362 p.
   Translation and revision of Fysiken och människan.

Glashow, Sheldon L. The charm of physics. New York, American Institute of Physics, c1991. 306 p.
   QC776.G59 1991

Irwin, Keith Gordon. The romance of physics. New York, Scribner, 1966. 240 p.
   Bibliography: p. 229-231.

Krauss, Lawrence Maxwell. Fear of physics: a guide for the perplexed. New York, Basic Books, c2007. 257 p.
   Biobliography: p. 200
   QC21.2.K73 2007

Physics of Sports and Games

Adair, Robert Kemp. The physics of baseball. 3rd ed., rev., updated and enl. New York, HarperPerennial, c2002. 169 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.
   QC26.A23 2002

Jorgensen, Theodore P. The physics of golf. 2nd ed. New York, Springer AIP Press, 1999. 189 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.
   QC26.J67 1999

Lind, David, and Scott P. Sanders. The physics of skiing: skiing at the Triple Point. New York, Springer, c2004. 266 p.
   Bibliography: p. 253-261.
   QC26.L56 2004

Marlow, Wayland C. The physics of pocket billiards. Palm Beach Gardens, FL, MAST, 1995. 281 p.
   Bibliography: p. 275.
   QC26.M37 1995

Physics Miscellany

Boys, C. V. Soap bubbles and the forces which mould them. Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday Anchor Books, 1959. 156 p. (Science study series, S3)
   QC183.B78 1959

Bunk, Tomas, Arthur Eisenkraft, and Larry D. Kirkpatrick. Quantoons. Arlington, VA, NSTA Press, c2006. 243 p.    Q182.B855 2006

Flatow, Ira. Rainbows, curve balls, and other wonders of the natural world explained. New York, Perennial Library, 1989, c1988. 240 p.
   Q173.F6 1988

Ghose, P. (Partha), and Dipankar Home. Riddles in your teacup: fun with everyday scientific puzzles. 2nd ed. London, Philadelphia, Institute of Physics, 1994. 173 p.
   QC75.G48 1994

Guillen, Michael. Five equations that changed the world: the power and poetry of mathematics. New York, Hyperion, c1995. 277 p.
   QC24.5.G85 1995

Jargodzki, Christopher. Science brain-twisters, paradoxes, and fallacies. New York, Scribner, c1976. 183 p.
   Q182.J37 <SciRR>

Kakalios, James. The physics of superheroes. New York, Gotham Books, c2005. 365 p.
   Bibliography: p. 323-344.
   QC23.2.K35 2005

Perel'man, IÂ. I. (IÂkov Isidorovich). [Zanimatel'naıâ fizika. English] Physics for entertainment. Translated from the Russian by Arthur Shkarovsky. Moscow, Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1962?-1963? 2 v.

Potter, Frank, and Christopher P. Jargodzki. Mad about modern physics: braintwisters, paradoxes, and curiosities. Hoboken, N.J., Wiley, c2005. 296 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.
   QC24.5.P68 2005

Rothman, Tony. Instant physics: from Aristotle to Einstein and beyond. New York, Fawcett Columbine, 1995.
242 p.
   QC24.5.R68 1995

Segrč, Emilio. From falling bodies to radio waves: classical physicists and their discoveries. New York, W. H. Freeman, c1984. 298 p.
   Bibliography: p. 284-288.
   QC7.S435 1984

Speyer, Edward. Six roads from Newton: great discoveries in physics. New York, Wiley, c1994. 196 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.
   QC21.2.S647 1994

Spielberg, Nathan, and Byron Anderson. Seven ideas that shook the universe. New York, Wiley, 1995. 355 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.
   QC21.2.S65 1995 <SciRR>

Von Baeyer, Hans Christian. Rainbows, snowflakes, and quarks: physics and the world around us. New York, Random House, c1993. 175 p.
   Originally published in New York by McGraw-Hill Book, 1984.
   Bibliography: p. 173-175.
   QC24.5.V67 1993

Walker, Jearl. The flying circus of physics. N. 2nd ed. Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley & Sons, c2007. 331 p.
   QC32.W2 2007



Abstracting and Indexing Services that index relevant journal articles and other literature on physics. While the abstracts may be somewhat advanced for a beginning physics student, they offer insights into physics’ many applications, in-depth analyses of aspects of classical physics, and a glimpse of the field’s cutting edge. Consult a reference librarian for location of these materials in the Science Reading Room. Several of these titles may also be available on-line.

Applied Science and Technology Index (1913- )
   Z7913.I7 <SciRR>
   Electronic Format

Education Index (1929- )
   Z5813.E23 <MRR> and Electronic format

Education Journals via Proquest (1988- )
   Electronic format

ERIC - Education Resources Information Center (1966- )
   Electronic format

General Science Index(1978-
   Z7401.G46 <SciRR A&I>
   Electronic Format

Physics Abstracts (1903- )
   QC1.P46 <SciRR A&I> and Computer format

Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature (1900- )
   AI3.R48 <BusRR>
   Electronic Format



Journals contain information about learning, teaching, and understanding both classic concepts and the latest discoveries in physics:

Discover Q1.D57
Physics Education QC30.P46
Physics Teacher QC30.P48
Physics Today QC1.P658
Quantum (1990-2001) QC30.Q36
Science Teacher Q181.S38
Scientific American T1.S5



Altshuler, Ken. Art and physics. Physics teacher, v. 32, May 1994: 271-273.

Biryukov, A. Karate chop. Quantum, v. 9, May/June 1999: 14-18.

Edelman, Bruce. The greatest lab on earth. Science teacher, v. 57, May 1990: 33-35.

Escobar, Carole. Amusement park physics. Physics teacher, v. 28, Oct. 1990: 446-453.

Fischette, Mark. Working knowledge: radar gun. Scientific American, v. 284, March 2001: 76-77.

Folger, Tim. From here to eternity. Discover, v. 21, Dec. 2000: 54-61.

Gray, Murray, Zhenghe Xu, and Jacob Masliyah. Physics in the oil sands of Alberta. Physics today, v. 62, Mar. 2009: 31-36.

Guck, Jochen. Do cells care about physics? Physics world, v. 22, July 2009: 31-36.

Krauss, Laurence M. Questions that plague physics: a conversation with Lawrence Krauss. Scientific American,
v. 291, Aug. 2004: 82-85.

Larabec, David. Car collisions, physics, and the state highway patrol. Physics teacher, v. 38, Sept. 2000: 334-336

Long, Dale D. Suggestions for physics students. Physics teacher, v. 34, March 1996: 186-188.

Ludlam, Thomas, and Larry McLerran. What have we learned from the relativistic heavy ion collider? Physics today, v. 56, Oct. 2003: 48-54.

McDonald, Donald. The Nobel laureate vs. the graduate student. Physics today, v. 54, July 2001: 46-51.

Rist, Curtis. Roll over, Newton. Discover, v. 22, Apr. 2001: 44-49.

Rosenfeld, Arthur, Tina Kaarsberg, and Joseph Romm. Technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the next decade. Physics today, v. 53, Nov. 2000: 29-34

Swinson, Derek B. Physics and snowboarding. Physics teacher, v. 32, Dec. 1994: 530-534.

Tegmark, Max and John Archibald Wheeler. 100 Years of quantum mysteries. Scientific American, v. 284, Feb. 2001: 68-75.

Toon, Owen B., Alan Robock, and Richard P. Turco. Environmental consequences of nuclear war. Physics today, v. 61, Dec. 2008: 37-42.

Trout, K. P., and Charles A. Gaston. Active-learning physics experiments using the Tarzan Swing. Physics teacher, v. 39, Mar. 2001: 160-163.

Volpe, Michael. Super bowl physics. Physics teacher, v. 32, Oct. 1994: 399-402.

Wolkomir, Richard. 'Old Jearl' will do anything to stir an interest in physics. Smithsonian, v. 17, Oct. 1986: 112-119.



Selected Materials available in the Science Reading Room pamphlet boxes include the following:

Battersby, Stephen. Are we nearly there yet: the hunt for the theory of everything. New scientist,
v. 186, Apr. 30, 2005: 30-34.

Bloomfield, Louis A. How things work: a physics course for non-scientists. Physics teacher, v. 35, Oct. 1997: 439-442.

Edge, Ronald. Surf physics. Physics teacher, v. 39, May 2001: 272-277.

Hammock, Frank M. If only Newton had a rocket; a model mechanics lesson. Science teacher, v. 55, Apr. 1988: 42-45.

Harris, Robert W. Using wind chimes to introduce the physics course. Physics teacher, v. 38, Apr. 2000: 218-219

Menz, Paul G. The physics of bungee jumping. Physics teacher, v. 31, Nov. 1993: 483-487.

Mityugov, V. On the quantum nature of heat. Quantum, v. 10, Nov.-Dec. 1999: 10-13, 30

Van Hise, Yvette A., and George R. Hague Jr. Physics with fizz. Science teacher, v. 54, Sept. 1987: 54-57.

Yam, Philip. Everyday Einstein. Scientific American, v. 291, Sept. 2004: 50-55.

Zwart, John W., and others. Playground physics. Science teacher, v. 61, May 1994: 29-32.



Materials and Internet resources offered by a number of outstanding organizations are especially valuable to the beginning physics student. Several of the best-known are listed below.

The American Association of Physics Teachers
One Physics Ellipse
College Park MD 20740-3845
Telephone: (301) 209-3300

The American Institute of Physics
One Physics Ellipse
College Park MD 20740-3845
Telephone: (301) 209-3100

The American Physical Society
One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 20740-3844
Telephone: (301) 209-3200

The National Science Teachers Association
1840 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201-3000
Telephone: (703) 243-7100



In addition to the websites listed above, the Internet supplies a wide range of resources for the starting physics student, providing lessons, links, physics news, physics history, and physics humor. Sample sites are listed below.

comPADRE: Resources for Physics and Astronomy Education
   A collaboration of the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Physical Society, the American Institute of Physics/Society of Physics Students, and the American Astronomical Society

Educator’s Reference Desk
   ERIC, a valuable education database, can be accessed from the site
   Associated with the Information Institute of Syracuse and Virtual Reference Desk

Fear of Physics

   Associated with the U.S. Department of Energy

Feynman Messenger Lectures
   The Messenger Lectures features seven videos of Dr. Richard Feynman speaking on physics at Cornell University in 1964.

How Things Work

Mad Scientist Network

The Net Advance of Physics
   Associated with MIT

Physics 2000
   Associated with the University of Colorado at Boulder

Physics Central
   Associated with the American Physical Society

The Physics Classroom
   Associated with Glenbrook South High School, Glenbrook, IL

Physics Notes
   Associated with the University of Winnepeg

Physics Web
   Associated with the Institute of Physics

The Physics Zone
   Associated with Science Joy Wagon


World Lecture Hall
   Associated with the Center for Instructional Technologies, Division of Instructional and Assessment, University of Texas at Austin
   Type in term physics

Compiled by Richard Halada

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