Physics of the Natural Philosophers, The, 1st edition

  • James Garner

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The Physics of the Natural Philosophers blends conceptual physics with algebra-based problem-solving for a one-semester introductory course appropriate for students planning to major in physics as well as nonmajors taking it as a terminal science course. The introduction to classical physics topics–including mechanics, vibrations and waves, electricity, magnetism, electromagnetism, and heat–requires only a basic algebra background with a small amount of trigonometry.


This text serves two audiences: students who need additional problem-solving skills before taking the standard algebra- or calculus-based courses, and students who need science general education credits and who likely will not go on in physics coursework. New majors will be mainly attracted by the standard problem-solving emphasis, while liberal arts students will appreciate the coverage of the history of physics, philosophy of science, and short biographies of famous classical physicists, from Aristotle to Faraday.


The in-text examples and exercises at the end of the chapters present interesting and unusual problems. For example, the section on projectile motion offers an example from the JFK assassination using data from the Warren Commission Report. Many of the questions are conceptual physics questions, but most of the problems are traditional problems, making The Physics of the Natural Philosophers an excellent choice for a one-semester introduction to the field.

Table of contents


A. The Experimental Method, Inductive, and Deductive Reasoning

B. Systems of Units and Conversion of Units

C. How to Solve Physics Problems Exactly and Inexactly by Making Estimates

D. Mathematical Review


Chapter I. Ancient Greek Ideas on Motion

A. Ancient Greek Views of the Universe at Large

B. Aristotle’s Views of Motion on Earth and the Heavens

Chapter II. Motion in One Dimension

A. Galileo

B. Describing and Graphing Motion in One Dimension

C. Special Motion: Free Fall

D. Curved Graphs, Tangent Lines, and Instantaneous Quantities

Chapter III. Motion in Two Dimensions

A. Vector Addition and Subtraction

B. Special Motion: Projectile Motion

C. Application: Projectiles

D. Special Motion: Uniform Circular Motion

Chapter IV. Newton’s Views on Motion

A. Isaac Newton

B. Newton’s Laws of Motion

C. Examples of Some Important Forces

D. Applications: Newton’s Laws

Chapter V. Rotational Motion and Gravitation

A. Fundamental Force: Newton’s Universal Force of Gravitation

B. The Gravitational Field: A Field Theory

C. Torque on and Angular Momentum of a Simple System

D. Applications: Gravitation

Chapter VI. Things That Don’t Change in Motion

A. Descartes, Huygens, and Leibniz

B. Impulse and Momentum

C. Constancy of Momentum

D. Work, Kinetic, and Gravitational Potential Energy

E. Constancy of Energy

F. Applications: Constancy of Momentum and Energy

G. Power

Chapter VII. Wave Motion and Light

A. Special Motion: Vibrations

B. Special Motion: Traveling and Standing Waves

C. Reflection and Refraction of Light

D. Other Properties of Light: Diffraction, Interference, Dispersion, and Polarization


Chapter VIII. Stationary Charges

A. Charles Augustin Coulomb

B. Electric Charges at Rest

C. Fundamental Force: Coulomb’s Electric Force

D. The Electric Field: A Field Theory

E. Electric Potential Energy and Electric Potential (Voltage)

F. Applications: Static Charges

Chapter IX. Moving Charges

A. Electric Current and Ohm’s Law

B. DC Circuits

C. Ohm’s Law and Electric Power


Chapter X. Magnetic Forces on Moving Charges

A. Magnets in Antiquity

B. The Magnetic Field: A Field Theory

C. Fundamental Force: Magnetic Force on a Moving Charge

D. Fundamental Force: Magnetic Force on a Current-Carrying Wire

E. Application: Magnetic Forces and Electric Motors


Chapter XI. Accelerated Charges and Electromagnetic Fields

A. Michael Faraday

B. Magnetic Flux

C. Faraday’s Law of Electromagnetic Induction

D. Applications: Generators and Transformers

E. James Clerk Maxwell

F. Maxwell’s Equations for the Electromagnetic Field

G. Application: The Anatomy, Spectrum, and Creation of Light


Chapter XII. Internal Random Motions in Complex Systems

A. What Are Temperature, Heat, and Internal Energy?

B. The Ideal Gas-Piston System

C. James Joule

D. First Law of Thermodynamics

E. Ludwig Boltzmann

F. Entropy

G. Second Law of Thermodynamics and the End of It All

H. Two Mysteries



Published by Pearson Learning Solutions (December 18th 2007) - Copyright © 2008