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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: May 2018

To the Teacher

Summary

This edition of An Introduction to Mechanics, like the first edition, is intended for a one-semester course. Like the first edition, there are 14 chapters, though much of the material has been rewritten and two chapters are new. The discussion of Newton's laws, which sets the tone for the course, is now presented in two chapters. Also, the discussion of energy and energy conservation has been augmented and divided into two chapters. Chapter 5 on vector calculus from the first edition has been omitted because the material was not essential and its presence seemed to generate some math anxiety. A portion of the material is in an appendix to Chapter 5.

The discussion of energy has been extended. The idea of heat has been introduced by relating the ideal gas law to the concept of momentum flux. This simultaneously incorporates heat into the principle of energy conservation, and illustrates the fundamental distinction between heat and kinetic energy. At the practical end, some statistics are presented on international energy consumption, a topic that might stimulate thinking about the role of physics in society,

The only other substantive change has been a recasting of the discussion of relativity with more emphasis on the spacetime description. Throughout the book we have attempted to make the math more user friendly by solving problems from a physical point of view before presenting a mathematical solution. In addition, a number of new examples have been provided.

The course is roughly paced to a chapter a week. The first nine chapters are vital for a strong foundation in mechanics: the remainder covers material that can be picked up in the future. The first chapter introduces the language of vectors and provides a background in kinematics that is used throughout the text. Students are likely to return to Chapter 1, using it as a resource for later chapters.

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