Introduction to the Physics of Waves

Introduction to the Physics of Waves

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Balancing concise mathematical analysis with the real-world examples and practical applications that inspire students, this textbook provides a clear and approachable introduction to the physics of waves. The author shows through a broad approach how wave phenomena can be observed in a variety of physical situations and explains how their characteristics are linked to specific physical rules, from Maxwell's equations to Newton's laws of motion. Building on the logic and simple physics behind each phenomenon, the book draws on everyday, practical applications of wave phenomena, ranging from electromagnetism to oceanography, helping to engage students and connect core theory with practice. Mathematical derivations are kept brief and textual commentary provides a non-mathematical perspective. Optional sections provide more examples along with higher-level analyses and discussion. This textbook introduces the physics of wave phenomena in a refreshingly approachable way, making it ideal for first- and second-year undergraduate students in the physical sciences.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 111 b/w illus. 100 exercises
  • 1139847546
  • 9781139847544

Table of contents

Preface; 1. The essence of wave motion; 2. Wave equations and their solution; 3. Further wave equations; 4. Sinusoidal waveforms; 5. Complex wavefunctions; 6. Huygens wave propagation; 7. Geometrical optics; 8. Interference; 9. Fraunhofer diffraction; 10. Longitudinal waves; 11. Continuity conditions; 12. Boundary conditions; 13. Linearity and superpositions; 14. Fourier series and transforms; 15. Waves in three dimensions; 16. Operators for wave motions; 17. Uncertainty and quantum mechanics; 18. Waves from moving sources; 19. Radiation from moving charges; Appendix: vector mathematics; Index.
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Review quote

'This gem of a book will enable students to appreciate the core theme: that understanding wave motion is fundamental to almost every contemporary aspect of physics. This is an ideal purchase for undergraduates as it fills a gap left by traditional textbooks treating the same topics in a stereotyped manner which is too mathematical. Freegarde's lucid prose alongside the simple, effective and contemporary examples are noteworthy features. The numerous end-of-chapter exercises will be useful for instructors and students alike.' Ifan G. Hughes, Durham University 'Freegarde's text on waves allows construction of a more cohesive physics curriculum, one with significant 'scaffolding', designed to revisit, reinforce and refine student understanding of core concepts, both within the bounds of this foundational course and, quite naturally, in subsequent courses that follow within the physics major. This stands in contrast to traditional modern physics ... with a set of instructional labs consisting of historically entrenched experiments that are largely disconnected from one another. For example, I cannot think of any department which asks its students to do the Millikan oil drop experiment and then later asks them to 'build' upon that in any significant sense. Focused treatment of oscillations and waves allows early development of core formalism necessary for the major, which also lends itself toward supporting a more cohesive set instructional labs, building toward further work in E&M, optics, and quantum mechanics.' Gabe Spalding, Illinois Wesleyan University 'Tim Freegarde is a physicist who is clearly fascinated by waves. His book is an introductory text that covers a broad range of wave phenomena throughout optics, electromagnetism, sound, oceanography and much more. It is written in an engaging style and includes many unexpected topics at this level, such as tsunamis, frayed guitar strings and retarded electromagnetic potentials. Freegarde does not shy away from detailed mathematical treatments where appropriate and physics students who invest in this book early in their undergraduate career will find themselves returning to it on many occasions.' Richard Thompson, Imperial College London 'There are already some excellent textbooks on wave phenomena available, but Freegarde has introduced a helpful new volume that balances brief mathematical derivations with new examples and practical applications. He expanded in a fascinating manner his undergraduate physics lecture notes from the past fifteen years. This book will help students to appreciate that understanding wave motion is fundamental to almost every branch of physics. It covers a broad range of wave phenomena in optics, electromagnetism, sound, quantum mechanics, oceanography and other fields. The exercises at the end of each chapter will be useful for instructors and students alike. I recommend it as a textbook for undergraduate students in the physical sciences.' Reva Garg, Optics and Photonics News
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About Tim Freegarde

Tim Freegarde is a Senior Lecturer in Physics at the University of Southampton, where his research explores the use of light to trap, cool and manipulate atoms and particles. He has taught wave related subjects to physics undergraduates of all levels for over fifteen years.
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