Book reviews of "Physics: A Student Companion"

Grant
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Book reviews of "Physics: A Student Companion"

Postby Grant » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:58 am

Update: The publishers have been very pleased with the response to the book on the forum, and they are offering the book at a
50% discount to physicsgre.com visitors on Scion Publishing.


Update: All the free books have been mailed out. Please reply to this topic with your review of the book.

A publisher contacted me about giving away five copies of a new book, Physics: A Student Companion (can buy on Amazon or can get 50% discount from Scion Publishing), to members of our forum who are interested in reviewing the book to see if we thought it was helpful for students preparing for the physics GRE. The book isn't specifically tailored for GRE-type questions, but it does cover the core concepts of undergraduate physics from a review perspective instead of from a "learning it for the first time" perspective which could be helpful for physics GRE preparation.

If you are interested in having this book mailed to you for free and writing a brief review (100 words or less is fine), then reply to this topic mentioning that you are interested. After a quick review of your history on physicsgre.com (i.e. to make sure you didn't just register for the site to get a free book), I'll contact you via PM to get your mailing address.

Below is a message about the book from the Author, Lowry Kirkby:

I am a recent physics graduate from Oxford University, and am currently pursuing a Ph.D in biophysics at UC Berkeley. I recently wrote and published a book called Physics: A Student Companion by Lowry Kirkby, which is intended as a study guide for university level physics and for GRE and graduate entry preparation.

The book is based on study notes I compiled during my four years at Oxford, and as such it covers the core concepts of undergraduate physics from a student perspective, at the appropriate level for exam preparation. It highlights the key equations and their derivations in boxes and panels, while providing an explanation of the concepts in the main text. Since it is intended as a study guide (ie. consolidating material rather than learning it for the first time), it is more concise than the usual large textbooks that are currently on the market (400 pages), and it's written in an accessible and memory-friendly manner, which is essential for exam preparation.

It covers the following five core topics:

1. Classical mechanics and special relativity
2. Electromagnetism
3. Waves and optics
4. Quantum physics
5. Thermal physics

These topics make up the majority of the GRE syllabus, and I provided a special index for the physics GRE syllabus at the end of the book for ease of reference.

Grant
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Re: Book reviews of "Physics: A Student Companion"

Postby Grant » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:32 am

The publisher mentioned they plan to send all five free copies out soon. Thanks to everyone who volunteered to review the book. Please reply to this topic when you are ready to post your review of the book.

tnoviell
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Re: Book reviews of "Physics: A Student Companion"

Postby tnoviell » Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:59 pm

After going through “Physics: A Student Companion” by Lowry Kirkby, I found myself wishing that such a valuable tool existed while I was studying for the Physics GRE. This text provides concise overviews of all topics learned as an undergraduate, with important derivations and example problems. I believe this companion guide separates itself from the pack, as it is written from the perspective of recent student who thoroughly compiled and organized their thoughts in preparation for not only a successful undergraduate career, but as a method for reviewing for exams relevant to graduate studies. As a current secondary school instructor, I will urge my students who are planning on majoring in physics to strongly consider purchasing this as an undergraduate review guide, especially for the Physics GRE.

Minovsky
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Re: Book reviews of "Physics: A Student Companion"

Postby Minovsky » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:52 pm

Kirkby's book covers most of the standard undergraduate physics curriculum at the undergraduate level, and therefore covers most of the material on the PGRE. Some of the things which are not covered are Lagrangian/Hamiltonian dynamics, specialized topics (nuclear, particle, condensed matter, astro, etc.), and laboratory methods. The book is written as a review guide, and does not go through all the gory details of each topic. It does provide derivations (mathematical and conceptual) of many of the formulae presented. Worked examples are scattered throughout the text.

The layout of the book is very good. All the important equations show up in large boxes their name and/or a descriptive title. This makes it very easy to casually flip through the book identifying which equations you know and which you're a bit fuzzy on. Another great layout feature of the text is its subdivisions. Virtually everything gets its own bold subheading. These bold heading make it easy to flip through the book and find topics you need to refresh. Traditional textbooks typically don't subdivide as much, which can make it harder to sort out which paragraphs cover material you do know and which you don't know.

The appendices include identities for trigonometry, series, coordinate systems, and vector calculus. The appendix also includes a huge listing of all the parameters with their symbols and units. An index for the PGRE syllabus is also included.

This is probably the best self-contained book you could have to study for the PGRE. The book was not written to be a study guide for the PGRE, and as such it goes into detail on many things you (probably) won't need to know and it omits many things you will need to know, but overall it does a good job of reviewing the topics which make up 85% of the PGRE.

TakeruK
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Re: Book reviews of "Physics: A Student Companion"

Postby TakeruK » Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:42 pm

Here is my review -- sorry it took awhile!

"Physics: A Student Companion" is unlike many other physics resources and study guides, providing an alternative to both traditional textbooks and extremely condensed crib notes or "cheat sheets". For the experienced student who wishes to review material from previous coursework, it is ideal because it avoids tedious details of a textbook yet is more helpful than a simple listing of equations and facts. This book is also unique because it is written from a student's point of view, in fact, it is an extension of the author's undergraduate course notes. This format is great for students who find it helpful to learn from a peer, instead of just the instructor or textbook. Boxed equations and shaded areas emulate what a student may do to his or her own notes to make it easier to find important information. Unfortunately, the font and equations themselves are somewhat hard to read. I think this book would be improved if the equations were in a different font than the text and were bigger.

Overall, I have found many uses for this book, in addition to its intended use as a "companion" for the undergraduate student. My Physics GRE study group found this book useful when we could not understand the solution to a GRE question because we were lacking in some physics knowledge. It was easy to find the relevant section and be reminded of the derivation of a key idea. I have also found this book useful for tutoring undergraduate level Physics. It is useful for preparing my lessons because it concisely reminds me of key ideas that I should cover when I teach. This compilation would be useful on any Physics student's shelf as a quick first resource.

Grant
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Re: Book reviews of "Physics: A Student Companion"

Postby Grant » Tue May 22, 2012 7:54 am

The publishers have been very pleased with the response to the book on the forum, and they are offering the book at a 50% discount to physicsgre.com visitors on Scion Publishing.

Also, if any of you do decide to purchase the book, please consider adding your review here.

microacg
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Re: Book reviews of "Physics: A Student Companion"

Postby microacg » Tue May 22, 2012 2:56 pm

I ordered the book (with the discount). It may come in handy for me since it's been a while since I studied physics and I'm entering grad school in the Fall.

tuhinaphysics
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Re: Book reviews of "Physics: A Student Companion"

Postby tuhinaphysics » Wed May 23, 2012 1:41 am

i have also purchased the book. it gives a definite map of how much depth in each topic we have to study .

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drunkphysics
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Re: Book reviews of "Physics: A Student Companion"

Postby drunkphysics » Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:54 pm

trying to order this book. the 50% promotion code is not working for me.. can anyone comment?

TakeruK
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Re: Book reviews of "Physics: A Student Companion"

Postby TakeruK » Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:57 pm

drunkphysics wrote:trying to order this book. the 50% promotion code is not working for me.. can anyone comment?


I was curious so I tried to see if the promo code would work for me. It did! What happens when you enter the promo code?

Grant
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Re: Book reviews of "Physics: A Student Companion"

Postby Grant » Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:30 pm

TakeruK wrote:
drunkphysics wrote:trying to order this book. the 50% promotion code is not working for me.. can anyone comment?


I was curious so I tried to see if the promo code would work for me. It did! What happens when you enter the promo code?

I emailed the person who provided the free books and the promo code and they mentioned the promo code had expired but they just renewed the promo code again; however, they also said there still may still be an issue with ordering this week but everything should be resolved by next week so next week would be a good time to order.

Grant
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Posts: 189
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Re: Book reviews of "Physics: A Student Companion"

Postby Grant » Thu May 01, 2014 9:02 am

Update: The publisher emailed me to let me know that they have been having issues accepting payments the last 3 or 4 weeks, but they have things sorted out now so if you tried to order the book recently and were unsuccessful, then you should have no problems ordering it now.

Explorer33
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Re: Book reviews of "Physics: A Student Companion"

Postby Explorer33 » Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:01 am

I have it too and while it is not a book to be used if you have to learn things for the first time it is a very very good consolidated and yet intuitive text. 8) :lol:




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