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## Review of Fundamentals of Physics Extended by Halliday, Resnick and Walker

*Fundamentals of physics extended* by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker is an introductory college-level physics textbook.

It covers the basics of mechanics and electromagnetism, which cover the typical introductory sequence to two college courses in physics. A few later chapters touch on relativity and nuclear physics, but the book stops short of a thorough introduction to modern physics (the material most colleges include as a third course).

**Targeted audience**

According to the book’s preface, the intended audience is students preparing for careers in science and engineering. The book is typically used in introductory courses taken by freshmen, sophomores, and upperclassmen taking these courses less frequently.

The book is not intended (and generally would not be suitable) for more general courses

**Preconditions**

The text uses calculus, and I think one would need a solid understanding of introductory calculus to get the most out of it. A particularly ambitious or gifted student might be able to work on this book alongside calculus, but I would recommend that any student master the basics of calculus before using this book or taking a course centered on it.

No prior training in physics is assumed, but I think this book would be a bit tricky or advanced for a student who had really never encountered the ideas it contains before.

**My experience with the book**

I used this book in undergrad and kept it as a reference. I think it is well written and gives a good amount of detail and explanation of the math in the conceptual exposition sections of each chapter. I particularly like the way the book handles the equations during the exposition – rather than just doing a bunch of math manipulation, there are lots of verbal explanations of what’s going on, helping you relate the equations to the concepts.

I think this book isn’t as good at preparing people to solve problems and apply concepts as it could be. The sample problems have explanations that seem clear, but I find there is something missing in the philosophy or abstract approach to problem solving that has left me feeling weak in defining the problems. For me, this was not a problem because I had access to competent teachers and a community of peer students who solved my problems. But I think that shortcoming might make this book a little difficult for someone trying to use it for self-study.

**edit creep**

Like many popular, mainstream textbooks, this text suffers from what I call “edition creep”, a process by which more editions of the book are published, and publications are more frequent, which would not not optimal for fixes and improvements alone. The drift of editions is motivated by a profit objective in publishing.

This book is currently in the 10th edition, released in 2013. I think there is no need to buy the latest edition. If you’re willing to buy an older edition, like the 5th, or even newer editions, you can save a ton of money. Even putting together a single edition can save you a substantial amount.

Another way to save money is to buy binder or loose-leaf copy rather than the usual hard cover. These copies are still quite expensive, around $145 for the latest edition, compared to nearly $300 for the new book.

**In summary**

This is a solid textbook suitable for the first two college-level introductory physics courses for engineers or science majors who have a background in calculus. It would not be suitable for a more general audience of people lacking computational knowledge, and the level of depth is beyond what is needed for students who do not intend to pursue a career in science. It also suffers from edition creep, and it would probably be a good idea to buy (or design a course around) older editions in order to save some money.

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