College Physics for Students of Biology and Chemistry

This is a hypertextbook written for first-year undergraduate physics students. It assumes that you have a working knowledge of algebra, that you are currently taking or have taken a college level course in Biology and one in Chemistry, and that you are interested in biology, chemistry or one of the health-related fields. It does not try to be encyclopedic, but neither does it assume that you have to be spoon-fed: you are expected to be a serious student and a careful reader. This means that you are expected to work out all of the examples for yourself, and do all of the problems. When first approaching a problem, use the corresponding text as a research tool: using the variables in the problem as a guide, identify the equations in the text (and any examples) which are relevant.

The text is often quite "concise": there is very little in the text which is not relevant at some point to latter portions of the text or to the problems.

After working through a few problems, read the text again and it will be much clearer: the only way to understand how the "laws" of physics work is to struggle through the problems which use them. You should not expect to understand how to work a problem simply by reading about it. As in all things, the learning is in the doing.

This hypertextbook assumes that you are running a browser which supports special fonts, tables, subscripts and superscripts (such as Netscape 4.x). Additionally, there are Java problem generators linked to the ends of the problem sets for chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, which require a Java 1.1-capable browser (Netscape 4.06 or Internet Explorer 4.01, or newer).

In order to use the Mathematica notebooks, you must tell your browser to launch either Mathematica (3.0 or newer) or MathReader when you download a notebook (set your web browser to associate MIME type "application/x-mathematica" and file extension "nb" with either program).

There are four entrances into this hypertextbook:

With multiple entrances and extensive cross-linking, the material can be approached either in a traditional section by section manner, or highly nonlinearly, exploring ideas as you encounter them. Some of the links also lead you to web resources external to the hypertextbook, so be sure to try all of them. There is also a list of references which I used in writing the book, if you are interested in further details.

For students in the far east, there is now an Australian mirror of a recent edition of the entire hypertextbook at the University of Queensland!

I am also proud to announce that Hikaru Urano has completed a Japanese translation of the first edition of the hypertextbook.

To view it properly using Netscape, choose the "Japanese (Auto-Detect)" option under the "Document Encoding" command under the "Options" menu.

Starting points for further research:

Enjoy your studies and learn something!


2000, Kenneth R. Koehler. All Rights Reserved. This document may be freely reproduced provided that this copyright notice is included.

Please send comments or suggestions to the author.