College Physics: Explore and Apply, 2nd edition

Published by Pearson (January 12, 2018) © 2019

  • Eugenia Etkina Rutgers University
  • Gorazd Planinsic University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Alan Van Heuvelen


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For courses in introductory algebra-based physics.

Students learn physics by doing physics

College Physics: Explore and Apply encourages students to take an active role in the learning process, to practice scientific skills such as observing, analyzing, and testing, and to build scientific habits of mind. The authors believe students best learn physics by doing physics.

The 2nd Edition offers an updated, pedagogically driven design and streamlines content to help students focus and use the text effectively. By pursuing the process of science, students can establish foundations for conceptual understanding, develop reasoning and problem-solving skills, and apply knowledge to complex situations.

Hallmark features of this title

  • A 4-step Problem-solving Approach in Worked Examples uses representations to teach students how to solve complex physics problems.
  • Problem-solving Strategy Boxes for broad classes of problems use a unique 2-column layout to pair general steps with a concrete example in applying a structured approach to solving problems.
  • Physics Tool Boxes focus on a particular skill, such as drawing a motion diagram, force diagram, or work-energy bar chart to analyze processes and solve problems that bridge real phenomena and mathematics.
  • A Qualitative-first System develops conceptual understanding by introducing concepts in action in the real world, followed by vocabulary and quantitative reasoning.
  • Biological and medical examples provide relevance for life science majors.

New and updated features of this title

  • EXPANDED & NEW: Worked Examples, Conceptual Exercises, and Quantitative Exercises build higher-level scientific skills, including analysis, synthesis, evaluation and experimental design. New Worked Examples and End-of-Chapter problems focus on data analysis, evaluation, and argumentation.
  • REVISED: Integration of applications throughout each chapter, rather than grouped in the Putting It All Together sections of the 1st Edition, optimizes student engagement and consolidates the explore-and-apply approach.
  • End-of-chapter problem types and questions and problems include multiple choice with multiple correct answers, find-a-pattern in data in a video or table, ranking tasks, evaluate statements/claims/explanations/measuring procedures, evaluate solutions, design a device or procedure that meets given criteria, and linearization problems.
  • Integration of vector arithmetic into early chapters helps students develop vector-related skills in the context of learning physics.
  • Earlier placement of waves and oscillations allows instructors to teach these topics with mechanics if preferred. Coverage with optics is also possible.

Features of Mastering Physics for the 2nd Edition

  • NEW: Digitally Enhanced Observational Experiment Tables and Testing Experiment Tables questions are available for videos embedded in the Pearson eText for an interactive experience.
  • EXPANDED and ENHANCED: End-of-chapter questions provide a more varied, useful and robust set of End-of-chapter problems, having undergone careful analysis using Mastering Physics usage data.
  • The Physics Primer relies on videos, hints and feedback to refresh students' math skills in the context of physics and prepares them for success in the course.
  • PhET simulations are interactive tools in Mastering Physics that help students make connections between real-life phenomena and the underlying physics.
  • Prep questions aligned with the 2015 MCAT exam provide a blend of passage and physics problems in a biology context, based on the Foundational Concepts and Content Categories outlined by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Features of Pearson eText for the 2nd Edition

  • NEW: Digitally Enhanced Observational Experiment Tables and Testing Experiment Tables are embedded videos in the Pearson eText for an interactive experience.
  1. Introducing physics
  2. Kinematics: Motion in one dimension
  3. Newtonian mechanics
  4. Applying Newton's laws
  5. Circular motion
  6. Impulse and linear momentum
  7. Work and energy
  8. Extended bodies at rest
  9. Rotational motion
  10. Vibrational motion
  11. Waves
  12. Gases
  13. Static fluids
  14. Fluids in motion
  15. First law of thermodynamics
  16. Second law of thermodynamics
  17. Electric charge, force, and energy
  18. The electric field
  19. DC circuits
  20. Magnetism
  21. Electromagnetic induction
  22. Reflection and refraction
  23. Mirrors and lenses
  24. Wave optics
  25. Electromagnetic waves
  26. Special relativity
  27. Quantum optics
  28. Atomic physics
  29. Nuclear physics
  30. Particle physics

About our authors

Eugenia Etkina is a Distinguished Professor at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She holds a PhD in physics education from Moscow State Pedagogical University and has more than 35 years experience teaching physics. She is a recipient of 2014 Millikan Medal awarded to educators who made significant contributions to teaching physics, and a fellow of the AAPT. Professor Etkina designed and now coordinates one of the largest programs in physics teacher preparation in the United States, conducts professional development for high school and university physics instructors, and participates in reforms to the undergraduate physics courses. In 1993 she developed a system in which students learn physics using processes that mirror scientific practice. That system, called Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE) serves as the basis for this textbook. Since 2000, Professors Etkina has conducted over 100 workshops for physics instructors and co-authored the first edition of College Physics and the Active Learning Guide. Professor Etkina is a dedicated teacher and an active researcher who has published over 60 peer-refereed article.

Gorazd Planinsic is a Professor of Physics at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He has a PhD in physics from the University of Ljubljana. Since 2000 he has been leading the Physics Education program that prepares almost all high-school physics teachers for the country of Slovenia. He started his career in MRI physics and later switched to Physics Education Research. During the last ten years, his work has mostly focused on the research of new experiments and how to use them more productively in teaching and learning physics. He is co-founder of the Slovenian hands-on science center House of Experiments. Professor Planinsic is co-author of more than 80 peer-refereed research articles, more than 20 popular science articles, and is the author of a university textbook for future physics teachers. In 2013 he received the Science Communicator of the Year award from the Slovenian Science Foundation.

Alan Van Heuvelen holds a PhD in physics from the University of Colorado. He has been a pioneer in physics education research for several decades. He taught physics for 28 years at New Mexico State University where he developed active learning materials including the Active Learning Problem Sheets (the ALPS Kits) and the ActivPhysics multimedia product. Materials such as these have improved student achievement on standardized qualitative and problem-solving tests. In 1993 he joined Ohio State University to help develop a physics education research group. He moved to Rutgers University in 2000 and retired in 2008. For his contributions to national physics education reform, he won the 1999 AAPT Millikan Medal and was selected a fellow of the American Physical Society. Over the span of his career he has led over 100 workshops on physics education reform. He has worked with Professor Etkina in the development of the Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE) and co-authored the first edition of College Physics and the Active Learning Guide.

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