Note to students
The famous New Zealand physicist, Lord Rutherford, once said, "All of science is physics, the rest is stamp collecting." Lord Rutherford was suggesting that other sciences are more concerned with collecting facts and classifying them (like a stamp collector), while physics is more concerned with the search for the underlying principles. It may be that the stress on understanding principles has caused some students to believe that physics is difficult. This book is an attempt to make some of the ideas in physics easier to understand.
It does not require brilliance to learn the facts of physics, but it does require systematic hard work. If you work hard at learning your facts,
you should be able to get a good mark for your knowledge of the content of physics.
There are many ways of learning facts, and you must discover which is best for you. Some students try to recite the facts, then check them and try again if they have not learnt the facts correctly. Other students write out the facts over and over again until they have learnt them. Repeating the facts until they are learnt correctly is essential.
We have simplified some ideas to make them easier to understand, and make no apologies for this. If your teacher gives you a more precise definition, then that is the definition you must learn. Main Points in Physics can be used to improve your understanding in such cases.
When you are looking up the work that you need to learn, look through the list of contents first to find what page to start on. If you cannot find the facts that you need, look for them in the index of terms and ideas.
Ask your teacher which points would be good to learn, and which ones require more precise definitions.
Being able to apply the facts that you have learnt to new situations shows your ability in the process of physics. One of the most important aspects of physics is to learn a systematic way of solving problems. If you have learnt your facts well, you should be able to develop problemsolving skills. To solve a physics problem, set out clearly the facts that you are given, write out the equations that are related to these facts, and then start thinking how to put them together. Too many students give up if they cannot see how to solve a problem immediately they have read the question. The whole purpose of process questions is to challenge you to solve problems that you do not recognise straight away. If you accept this challenge, and learn your facts well, you can also do well in process tests.
This book was written to help you. If you can see ways in which the book could be made even more helpful, please write to Mr J . L. Morgan or Mr F. J . Meeking, Brisbane Grammar School, Gregory Terrace, Brisbane, Qld 4000.