Physics & Astronomy

Building Physical Intuition

A practical textbook that teaches how to navigate physics problems with intuitive ease


$29.95 / £25.00
Dec 25, 2040
5 x 8 in.
100 b/w illus.
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Building Physical Intuition teaches physics students an important skill that is often taken for granted: how to evaluate possible solutions for physics problems when complex manipulation of equations can be overwhelming. Douglas Hamilton and Cole Miller show students how to develop physical intuition by practicing essential checks and other good habits when first thinking about a problem. These methods allow students to reduce their errors in mathematical derivations and to ably tackle new questions.

Section by section, the authors lead students through the various methods for testing the answer to a physical problem: What units should it have? How should it behave in easily understood limits? What are the symmetries of the problem? What should the answer depend on? A diverse range of two hundred multiple-choice problems is presented and discussed. Though the focus is on classical mechanics, the book’s insights can be applied to all subfields of physics and astrophysics. In contrast to standard problem books, which teach methods of calculating exactly the right answer, the authors show students how to consider possible answers by inferring whether or not any can be ruled out by key physical arguments.

Building Physical Intuition will be a useful supplement for physics students and working physicists, as well as an ideal textbook for courses in physics and astronomy.

· Teaches basic skills for physical problem solving, with a focus on classical mechanics

· Ideas and concepts applicable to all fields of physics

· Two hundred multiple-choice problems

· Solutions to problems provided

· Ideal for order-of-magnitude courses in physics and astronomy and students studying for GRE exams