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Physics: An Algebra-Based Approach, 2nd Edition

By O'Meara/Johnson/McFarland/Hirsch/Iqbal
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Soft Cover
ISBN-10: 0176817336
ISBN-13: 9780176817336
Publisher: Top Hat
Edition: 2nd

Class-tested by over 10,000 students, Physics: An Algebra-Based Approach promotes problem-solving skills development while helping students better understand physics. The addition to the second edition of two new authors has brought fresh ideas and approaches to the material while maintaining the core values of clarity, consistency, and attention to detail. Based on the latest findings from physics education research (PER), this title focuses on student understanding through the use of engaging real-life applications, unique Fermi problems, conceptual examples, free-body diagrams in mechanics, and concept fixes based on research into common student misconceptions.


  • *NEW* Each sample problem now ends with a Making Sense of the Result section in order to model the practice of thinking critically about the solution and putting it in context as a means of self-evaluation.
  • *NEW* Each chapter section now ends with a Conceptual Checkpoint, a multiple-choice or ranking-style question, to allow students to reflect on the content in that section before continuing.
  • *NEW* Figures have been added and modified throughout the text in order to help students better understand the concepts, both in the case of existing sample problems but also for the additional end-of-chapter problems and the Conceptual Checkpoints.
  • *NEW* Making Sense of the Result is a new feature that is added at the end of every Sample Problem.
  • *NEW* More end-of-chapter problems have been added.
  • *NEW* More challenging problems have been added that require the integration of several concepts.
  • Thirty "Tackling Misconceptions" boxes ensure that the most common misconceptions students experience are addressed.
  • Helpful hints are provided in marginal boxes with titles such as Math Tip, Units Tip, Problem-Solving Tip, Terminology Tip, and Learning Tip. There are 80 Tip boxes throughout the text.
  • Examples of physics applications from countries around the world are included to emphasize the international nature of the discipline.
  • Problem-Solving Strategies boxes are provided in several chapters to discuss particular approaches to solving problems in a given context.
  • Ninety Fermi questions, named after the famous physicist Enrico Fermi, give students practise in making real-life assumptions and calculations involving physics principles and applications.
  • Try This! boxes in every chapter suggest hands-on activities that give practical, concrete experience of physics concepts using simple, easily found materials.

Table of Contents

  • Preface for Instructors
  • About the Authors
  • Chapter 1: Measurement and Types of Quantities
  • Chapter 2: One-Dimensional Kinematics
  • Chapter 3: Vectors and Trigonometry
  • Chapter 4: Two-Dimensional Kinematics
  • Chapter 5: Newton?s Laws of Motion
  • Chapter 6: Applying Newton?s Laws
  • Chapter 7: Work, Energy, and Power
  • Chapter 8: Momentum and Collisions
  • Chapter 9: Gravitation
  • Chapter 10: Rotational Motion
  • Chapter 11: Statics, Stability, and Elasticity
  • Chapter 12: Fluid Statics and Dynamics
  • Chapter 13: Oscillations and Waves
  • Chapter 14: Sound and Music
  • Chapter 15: Reflection, Refraction, and Dispersion of Light
  • Chapter 16: Wave Optics
  • Chapter 17: Optical Instruments
  • Chapter 18: Heat and Thermodynamics
  • Chapter 19: Electric Charge and Electric Field
  • Chapter 20: Electric Potential Energy, Electric Potential, and Current
  • Chapter 21: Electrical Resistance and Circuits
  • Chapter 22: Magnetism
  • Chapter 23: Electromagnetic Induction
  • Chapter 24: Nuclear Physics: Theory and Medical Applications
  • Glossary
  • Appendix A: Answers to Exercises and End-of-Chapter Questions
  • Index

Author Information

Joanne O'Meara

Joanne O'Meara has been teaching physics at the postsecondary level since 1999. From the begin¬ning, Joanne has tried to make the subject more accessible and relevant through strong links between theory and application, emphasizing the importance of unifying fundamental principles within the context of interdisciplinary learning. Joanne joined the Department of Physics at the University of Guelph in 2002 and served as the Associate Chair of the department for 10 years. She has played a pivotal role in the ongoing evolution of the undergraduate physics curriculum at Guelph—for physics majors and non-physics majors alike. At the national level, Joanne has held executive positions with the Division of Physics Education within the Canadian Association of Physicists, and chaired the National Task Force on Undergraduate Physics Revitalization. Joanne is committed to the bet¬terment of physics education at all levels, as evidenced by her development of instruc¬tional videos, physics demonstration shows, and teacher workshops for elementary and secondary schools. Joanne's contributions to education have been recognized with a number of awards, including the Special Merit Teaching Award (2009, University of Guelph Faculty Association); the Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics (2011, Canadian Association of Physicists); and the John Bell Award (2014, the University of Guelph's highest honour for outstanding contributions to university education). In 2019, Joanne was one of ten faculty members across Canada inducted into the 3M National Teaching Fellowship, Canada's most prestigious recognition of excellence in educational leadership and teaching at the university and college level.

Sarah D. Johnson

Sarah D. Johnson is a University Lecturer in the Department of Physics at Simon Fraser University (SFU). She began working at SFU in 2005, after spending 11 years teaching undergraduate physics at three different universities in the U.S. Sarah earned a B.S. in Physics from SUNY Albany in 1986 and an M.A. (1988) and Ph.D. (1993) in experimental particle physics from the University of Rochester. Sarah has contributed to the physics curriculum at SFU in numerous ways, including the development of innovative Studio Physics courses, the introduction of active tutorials in large first-year classes, and the incorporation of recent advancements in physics education research. She has also led several initiatives to support student learning outside of class, including the creation of a Science & Math Peer Tutoring program.

Ernie McFarland

Ernie McFarland is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Guelph, where he recently retired after teaching for 35 years. He has received five teaching awards, including the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations Teaching Award, the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and a 3M National Teaching Fellowship. He is co-author of three books: Energy, Physics and the Environment (3rd Ed., Thomson, 2007), Physics for the Biological Sciences (5th Ed., Nelson, 2012), and Physics for Tomorrow's World (with Alan Hirsch, Revised 2nd Ed., Nelson, 2012), which was the precursor to this current text. He is also sole author of Einstein's Special Relativity—Discover it for Yourself (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1998).

Alan J. Hirsch

Alan J. Hirsch cherishes his experiences teaching high school physics, science, and mathematics in Ontario for 31 years. His classrooms became the inspiration and experimental incubator for many textbooks that bear his name. He developed and wrote Ontario's first textbook written exclusively for college-bound students, Physics: A Practical Approach (Wiley: 1st ed. 1981; 2nd ed. 1991). He was also the sole author of Physics for a Modern World (a Grade 11 academic text; Wiley: 1986), and Physics 12 College Preparation (Nelson: 2004). He was a co-author of Nelson Physics 11 (2002), Nelson Physics 12 (2003), as well as Physics for Tomorrow's World (with Ernie McFarland), which became the basis for this current text (Nelson: Revised 2nd ed. 2012). He has also co-authored 13 science texts for Grades 7 to 10 for use across Canada. Several of these physics and science texts have been translated into French, and Physics for a Modern World was adapted for use in Australia. For several years, he also wrote amusement-park workbooks and coordinated model roller coaster contests for the annual physics/math day at Canada's Wonderland, near Toronto, where he had no choice but to ride the coasters to verify data!

Javed Iqbal

Dr. Javed Iqbal is the Director of the Science Co-op Program and Adjunct Professor of Physics at the University of British Columbia (UBC). At UBC, he has taught first-year physics for 30 years and has been instrumental in promoting the use of clickers at UBC and other Canadian universities. In 2004, he was awarded the Faculty of Science Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2012, he was awarded the Killam Teaching Prize. His research areas include theoretical nuclear physics, computational modelling of light scattering from nanostructures, and computational physics. Dr. Iqbal received his Doctoral Degree in Theoretical Nuclear Physics from Indiana University and an undergraduate degree from Quaid-e-Azam University (Islamabad, Pakistan).