Physics Demystified. McGraw-Hill



ACKNOWLEDGMENTSIllustrations in this book were generated with CorelDRAW. Some clip artis courtesy of Corel Corporation, 1600 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario,Canada K1Z 8R7.I extend thanks to Mary Kaser, who helped with the technical editing ofthe manuscript for this book.

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Physics Demystified

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DOI: 10.1036/0071412123

This book is for people who want to learn basic physics without taking a
formal course. It can also serve as a supplemental text in a classroom,
tutored, or home-schooling environment. I recommend that you start at the
beginning of this book and go straight through, with the possible exception
of Part Zero.

If you are confident about your math ability, you can skip Part Zero. But
take the Part Zero test anyway, to see if you are actually ready to jump into
Part One. If you get 90 percent of the answers correct, you’re ready. If you
get 75 to 90 percent correct, skim through the text of Part Zero and take
the chapter-ending quizzes. If you get less than three-quarters of the
answers correct in the quizzes and the section-ending test, find a good desk
and study Part Zero. It will be a drill, but it will get you “in shape” and
make the rest of the book easy.

In order to learn physics, you must have some mathematical skill. Math
is the language of physics. If I were to tell you otherwise, I’d be cheating
you. Don’t get intimidated. None of the math in this book goes beyond the
high school level.

This book contains an abundance of practice quiz, test, and exam questions.
They are all multiple choice, and are similar to the sorts of questions used
in standardized tests. There is a short quiz at the end of every chapter. The
quizzes are “open-book.” You may (and should) refer to the chapter texts
when taking them. When you think you’re ready, take the quiz, write down
your answers, and then give your list of answers to a friend. Have the
friend tell you your score, but not which questions you got wrong. The
answers are listed in the back of the book. Stick with a chapter until you
get most of the answers right.

This book is divided into three major sections after Part Zero. At the end
of each section is a multiple choice test. Take these tests when you’re done
with the respective sections and have taken all the chapter quizzes. The
section tests are “closed-book.” Don’t look back at the text when taking
them. The questions are not as difficult as those in the quizzes, and they
don’t require that you memorize trivial things. A satisfactory score is threequarters
of the answers correct. Again, answers are in the back of the book.
There is a final exam at the end of this course. The questions are practical,
and are less mathematical than those in the quizzes. The final exam contains
questions drawn from Parts One, Two, and Three. Take this exam when you
have finished all the sections, all the section tests, and all of the chapter
quizzes. A satisfactory score is at least 75 percent correct answers.
With the section tests and the final exam, as with the quizzes, have a friend
tell you your score without letting you know which questions you missed.
That way, you will not subconsciously memorize the answers. You might
want to take each test, and the final exam, two or three times. When you
have gotten a score that makes you happy, you can check to see where your
knowledge is strong and where it is not so keen.

I recommend that you complete one chapter a week. An hour or two
daily ought to be enough time for this. Don’t rush yourself; give your mind
time to absorb the material. But don’t go too slowly either. Take it at a
steady pace and keep it up. That way, you’ll complete the course in a few
months. (As much as we all wish otherwise, there is no substitute for “good
study habits.”) When you’re done with the course, you can use this book,
with its comprehensive index, as a permanent reference.
Suggestions for future editions are welcome.
Stan Gibilisco


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Table of Contents
Preface xiii
Acknowledgments xv
PART ZERO A Review of Mathematics
CHAPTER 1 Equations, Formulas, and Vectors 3
Notation 3
One-Variable First-Order Equations 9
One-Variable Second-Order Equations 12
One-Variable Higher-Order Equations 18
Vector Arithmetic 20
Some Laws for Vectors 23
CHAPTER 2 Scientific Notation 29
Subscripts and Superscripts 29
Power-of-10 Notation 31
Rules for Use 35
Approximation, Error, and Precedence 40
Significant Figures 44
CHAPTER 3 Graphing Schemes 49
Rectangular Coordinates 49
The Polar Plane 62
Other Systems 64
CHAPTER 4 Basics of Geometry 77
Fundamental Rules 77
Triangles 86
Quadrilaterals 92
Circles and Ellipses 101
Surface Area and Volume 103
CHAPTER 5 Logarithms, Exponentials,
and Trigonometry 113
Logarithms 113
Trigonometric Functions 124
Trigonometric Identities 127
Test: Part Zero 133
PART ONE Classical Physics
CHAPTER 6 Units and Constants 147
Systems of Units 147
Base Units in SI 148
Other Units 154
Prefix Multipliers 158
Constants 160
Unit Conversions 165
CHAPTER 7 Mass, Force, and Motion 171
Mass 171
Force 175
Displacement 176
Speed 178
Velocity 181
Acceleration 183
Newton’s Laws of Motion 188
CHAPTER 8 Momentum, Work, Energy, and Power 193
Momentum 193
Collisions 196
Work 202
Energy 204
Power 209
CHAPTER 9 Particles of Matter 217
Early Theories 217
The Nucleus 219
Outside the Nucleus 227
Energy from Matter 230
Compounds 234
CHAPTER 10 Basic States of Matter 241
The Solid Phase 242
The Liquid Phase 251
The Gaseous Phase 258
CHAPTER 11 Temperature, Pressure, and
Changes of State 265
What Is Heat? 265
Temperature 269
Some Effects of Temperature 275
Temperature and States of Matter 278
Test: Part One 285
PART TWO Electricity, Magnetism, and Electronics
CHAPTER 12 Direct Current 297
What Does Electricity Do? 297
Electrical Diagrams 303
Voltage/Current/Resistance Circuits 305
How Resistances Combine 310
Kirchhoff’s Laws 318
CHAPTER 13 Alternating Current 323
Definition of Alternating Current 323
Waveforms 325
Fractions of a Cycle 329
Amplitude 332
Phase Angle 336
CHAPTER 14 Magnetism 345
Geomagnetism 345
Magnetic Force 347
Magnetic Field Strength 351
Electromagnets 354
Magnetic Materials 357
Magnetic Machines 361
Magnetic Data Storage 366
CHAPTER 15 More About Alternating Current 371
Inductance 371
Inductive Reactance 375
Capacitance 380
Capacitive Reactance 384
RLC Impedance 390
CHAPTER 16 Semiconductors 397
The Diode 397
The Bipolar Transistor 405
Current Amplification 410
The Field-Effect Transistor 412
Voltage Amplification 414
The MOSFET 417
Integrated Circuits 421
Test: Part Two 425
PART THREE Waves, Particles, Space, and Time
CHAPTER 17 Wave Phenomena 437
Intangible Waves 438
Fundamental Properties 440
Wave Interaction 448
Wave Mysteries 455
Particle or Wave? 459
CHAPTER 18 Forms of Radiation 467
EM Fields 467
ELF Fields 472
Rf Waves 474
Beyond the Radio Spectrum 481
Radioactivity 490
CHAPTER 19 Optics 499
Behavior of Light 499
Lenses and Mirrors 507
Refracting Telescopes 512
Reflecting Telescopes 515
Telescope Specifications 517
The Compound Microscope 521
CHAPTER 20 Relativity Theory 529
Simultaneity 529
Time Dilation 534
Spatial Distortion 539
Mass Distortion 541
General Relativity 544
Test: Part Three 557
Final Exam 567
Answers to Quiz, Test, and
Exam Questions 585
Suggested Additional References 593
Index 595


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