These Physics books are recommended by Art of Problem Solving administrators and members of the AoPS-MathLinks Community.
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- 1 Books by subject
- 2 General interest
- 3 See Also
Books by subject
Astrophysics and Cosmology
- Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick
- Conceptual Physics by Paul Hewitt
- Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Randall D. Knight
- Introduction to Error Analysis, Second Edition: The Study of Uncertainties in Physical Measurements by John R. Taylor
Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Particle Physics
- Dreams of a Final Theory by Weinberg
- The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory by Brian Greene.
- The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality by Brian Greene.
- Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions by Lisa Randall.
- General Relativity from A to B by Geroch
- Spacetime Physics by Taylor and Wheeler
- Quantum Mechanics in Simple Matrix Form by Jordan
- Modern Physics by Krane
- Quantum Mechanics: Theory and Applications by Ghatak and Lokanathan
- Principles of Quantum Mechanics by Ramamurti Shankar
Undergraduate Level Books
- Introduction to Electrodynamics by Griffiths
- Electricity and Magnetism by Purcell and Morin
- Classical Mechanics by Morin
- An Introduction to Mechanics by Kleppner and Kolenkow
Studying for the F=ma Exam
The F=ma exam is the first round selection exam for the US Physics team, which selects five travelers to compete in the International Physics Olympiad.
- Conceptual Physics by Paul Hewitt. This book is a basic introduction to physics.
- Thinking Physics by Lewis Carroll Epstein. This book contains hundreds of conceptual problems. Only some of the problems focus on mechanics.
- Problems and Solutions in Introductory Mechanics by David Morin. This is the single most-important book for F=ma training. A few of the problems require calculus (which the F=ma exam does not), but anyone who works through this entire book should be well-prepared for the test.
- Physics by Halliday, Resnick, and Krane (see note in USAPhO section) This is a calculus-based textbook that is very thorough, and good for getting a deeper understanding. It has thousands of challenging problems, and is useful for those who have covered the basics of mechanics and want to go deeper. It also covers many other topics in physics and will carry forward to the USAPhO exam.
- Former F=ma exams are available from AAPT on their website. There is also a solution manual to some of these exams. If your goal is to advance to USAPhO, you should solve all of the problems on all of the past exams.
- Try IsaacPhysics for additional practice problems.
- Take the AoPS F=ma Problem-Solving Series course for additional practice, problem-solving forums, an original practice exam, and personalized guidance from expert teachers and assistants.
Studying for the USAPhO, IPhO, and other physics olympiads
- Physics by Halliday, Resnick, and Krane (see note below). This is the single-most important book to read to prepare for the USAPhO exam. This book covers everything and contains many challenging problems.
- Introduction to Classical Mechanics by David Morin. This book will take you deeper into mechanics, including some material (such as Lagrangian mechanics) beyond the syllabus of olympiads.
- Electricity and Magnetism by Purcell and Morin. This is a great book on electromagnetism for those who want to learn it with multidimensional and vector calculus.
- The Feynman Lectures on Physics by Feynman. This is a deeply-insightful set of lectures that covers a very broad swath of physics, but does not on its own contain practice problems.
- Past USAPhO Exams are available from AAPT.
- Take PhysicsWOOT to practice USAPhO-style problem solving, take four original USAPhO practice exams and two original F=ma exams, access problem-solving forums, get personalized feedback and help from expert teachers and assistants, and for even more practice.
- Official IPhO problems from past Olympiads are available for download.
- Jaan Kalda's resources contain a huge number of practice problems.
Note: There are two introductory physics texts by Halliday and Resnick. This happened because after their first textbook had existed for a decade, some colleges began asking for an easier version.
"Physics" by Resnick, Halliday, and Krane is in its 5th edition (published 2002). This book is often called "HRK". It is the recommended book for Olympiad preparation. The current editor is Paul Stanley, former academic director of the US Physics team. This edition has many challenging problems in it.
"Fundamentals of Physics" by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker is in its 10th edition (published 2013). This edition describes the basic physics of the same topics as HRK. However, it goes into less detail, omits some of the interesting calculations, and has fewer challenging problems. Although this is a good book, it is not written to train students to the same level of problem-solving ability as HRK. So HRK is recommended for those interested in improving their problem-solving ability to the level of the USAPhO or similar olympiad physics competitions.
There are a large number of introductory, calculus-based textbooks available. They all cover similar material, so other books, such as Giancoli, Thomas Moore, Sherwood and Sherwood, Knight, Mazur, Cummings Laws Redish and Cooney, etc. are all acceptable for basic readings. However, for those seeking to earn medals or make the US Physics team on USAPhO, additional problem-solving practice through old exams, PhysicsWOOT, and other sources of problems is recommended.
Books of Problems
- Thinking Physics by Lewis Carroll Epstein (a book of conceptual problems for beginners and intermediate-levels)
- Problems and Solutions in Introductory Mechanics by David Morin (A good book for preparing to the F=ma exam and for practicing basic mechanics)
- 200 Puzzling Physics Problems by Gnadig (USAPhO / IPhO level problems)
- 300 Creative Physics Problems with Solutions by Holics (USAPhO / IPhO level problems)
- Physics to a Degree by Thomas and Raine (USAPhO / IPhO level problems)
- Thinking Like a Physicist by Thompson (USAPhO / IPhO level problems)
- A Brief History of Time by Steven Hawking
- The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes
- 'Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!' (Adventures of a Curious Character) by Richard P. Feynman, et al.
- The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe by Roger Penrose.
- Quantum Magazine Only archives available; publication ceased.