Physics is a science that shapes our world like no other field of study – though it certainly is a difficult field, physical theories and principles have been so revolutionary throughout history that they are frequently found in popular culture – Concepts and equations such as Schrodinger’s cat, E=mc2, and Newton’s third law. This is to say nothing of the physicists like Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who have made careers and even became famous for educating the masses on the beauty of physics in all its forms.
Physics is incredibly broad and spans topics and fields such as astrophysics, fluid dynamics, and quantum mechanics. Beyond theories, physics has many applications that require a deeper understanding of the concepts as well as good analytical and mathematical skills. A good physics textbook will need to somehow impart all of that knowledge to its reader while also remaining interesting.
Here are 10 physics textbooks that are written by some experts in the field and designed to engage and teach physics and engineering students the fundamentals of physical principles and their applications in various fields and disciplines.
Conceptual Physics harnesses the most advanced media to keep physics interesting and engaging, especially for non-science majors. Hewitt first lays the foundation by carefully presenting key concepts through engaging imagery before introducing calculations.
University Physics with Modern Physics
University Physics is well known for its emphasis on the foundational physical principles and the tools to apply them. Young has put together a broad and thorough exploration of physics, physical principles, and its modern applications. It is an ideal textbook for courses in calculous-based physics.
The Feynman Lectures on Physics, boxed set: The New Millennium Edition
By many accounts, Richard Feynman is physics’ greatest teacher. The Feynman Lectures provides a series of introductory lectures on physics by giant in the field. The series covers everything from basic principles of physics to the most complex theories in quantum mechanics. It is both a great exploration of physics and a timeless historical text.
by Raymond Serway and Chris Vuille
This textbook presents key physical concepts with a problem-solving approach. It also includes a long list of worked examples to help students cement and master physics and its basic theoretical applications. With College Physics, students can improve their critical and problem-solving skills.
Physics for Scientists and Engineers: A Strategic Approach with Modern Physics
Randy Knight establishes research-based foundations in physics for science and engineering students. Along with the robust MasterPhysics program, Physics for Scientists and Engineers is replete with problem sets and examples for optimal comprehension and learning.
Modern Physics was first published in 1983. Through its many editions since then, it has become one of the most used physic textbooks for science and engineering students. The textbook provides and introduction to modern physical principles including statistical physics, nuclear physics, and astrophysics among others.
Quantum Physics for Beginners: From Wave Theory to Quantum Computing. Understanding How Everything Works by a Simplified Explanation of Quantum Physics and Mechanics Principles
Award winning scientist Carl Pratt has put together an extraordinary introduction into the world of quantum physics, from Schrodinger’s equation to quantum entanglement. This textbook is designed to help students and interested readers master the basics of quantum physics principles without the burden of complex math.
Modern Classical Physics: Optics, Fluids, Plasmas, Elasticity, Relativity, and Statistical Physics
by Kip Thorne and Roger Blandford
Thorne and Blandford cover six major areas of classical physics, as the textbook title suggests. This book is tailored to showcase twenty-first-century applications of fundamental concepts of classical physics, from fluid mechanics to optics. It is an invaluable reference for students, professors, and researchers alike.
Despite the challenging topic it covers, Classical Mechanics is very readable and written with university students in mind. This textbook is a continuation of introductory physics textbooks and pushes students to deepen their understanding of Lagrangian mechanics, non-inertial frames, and chaos theory among others.
Physics for Scientists and Engineers (with PhysicsNOW and InfoTrac)
by Raymond Serway and John Jewett
Serway and Jewett’s textbook is a bestselling calculous-based physics textbook. Like his other textbooks in this list, Serway writes with concise writing specifically tailored to students and provides problems sets and worked examples for added practice.
And the last one makes 10 of our most searched physics textbooks. Physics is not for the faint of heart. It is one of the most interesting yet complex sciences to wrap our minds around, yet, it is fundamental for our basic understanding of the world around us.
If you need to get your hands on one of these textbooks, we’ve compiled a list of websites to get free textbooks online. It’s a great way to save on textbooks as well as compare prices and buy used textbooks. If you need to sell textbooks to someone who might need it for their next course, check out BookScouter. Save on the costs of your next semester’s textbook with BookScouter. Simply enter your book’s ISBN on bookscouter.com and find all the books they have available to buy, sell or rent at competitive prices. Your next textbook or access code might be waiting for you on BookScouter.