Engineering Physics

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Universities Press, 2010 - Physics - 594 pages
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There is no dearth of books in physics
for the first year students of the engineering
degree programmes in India. However,
this new book by Sanjay Jain and
Girish Sahasrabudhe comes as a whiff of
fresh air. Unlike many other books, it is
unusually well written and has the imprint
of the long years of teaching experience
of the two authors. The book
under review has several welcome features
such as crisp language with few
grammatical errors, good choice of topics,
adequate coverage of the subject matter
meant for freshman students, good diagrams,
very good selection of numerical
examples, good exposition of laboratory
experiments and excellent use of charts
and tables to highlight important ideas
and conclusions.
The inclusion of historical aspects in
each of the advances in physics, along
with the names of the scientists, is particularly
noteworthy. This is not emphasized
in most text books and consequently,
students do not even know the names of
many of the famous physicists. The students
are, thus, deprived of a great
source of inspiration for their future careers.
I would have liked to see the full
names of the scientists mentioned in the
text where they occur first, with some
more information as footnotes. I noted
that some of the names have incorrect
spelling; for example, ‘Lummer’ on page
161, ‘Charles Townes, Arthur Shawlow
and Theodore Maiman’ on page 489 and
‘Meissner’ on page 344. In many places
the initials for the names are not separated
by full-stops. On page 343, the year
mentioned against the name of Ampere is
1875 – it should be 1775! Of course,
such errors do not dent the quality of the
overall presentation in the book.
I wish to commend the authors for
writing the first chapter, from which students
can get a glimpse of the umbilical
cord between physics and engineering. I
was very happy to see the clarity in the
exposition of physical concepts and laws
throughout the book. The depth of coverage
is just about right for the first year
students. It should keep the students
interested in physics in their further studies.
I am particularly impressed by the
set of problems, solved as examples, in
each chapter. These examples successfully
illustrate the power of the theoretical
ideas presented in the main text. The
use of charts and tables to summarize the
major ideas and conclusions is indeed
very effective.
It was a pleasure to read the chapters
on Light and Optics. The detailed description
of the theory related to typical
experiments in the Optics Laboratory
should be of great help to the students;
this comment is true for the experiments
described in other chapters too. However,
some of the diagrams could have
been drawn better; examples are figures
3.11, 3.13 and 3.17. The next few chapters
on Quantum Physics, Atomic Physics
and Nuclear Physics are well written.
On page 270, a very good historical account
of developments in materials science
is presented, but I wish the authors
had mentioned the years when some of
the major techniques such as electron
microscopy, NMR and Mössbauer spectroscopy
were invented. On page 491,
Einstein’s coefficients are erroneously
described; they should be mentioned as
A21, B12 and B21. The last line of the
same page mentions ‘spontaneous absorption’
which I believe is not correct.
Absorption of light by atoms/molecules
is always assisted by the photons present.
It is also good to point out that spontaneous
emission is really a source of noise
in laser radiation.
In summary, Jain and Sahasrabudhe
have written an excellent book for the
undergraduate students of engineering
programmes. It is not possible to cover
all the major domains of physics in a
book meant specifically for a one (or
two) semester course. In fact, topics such
as the special theory of relativity and
thermal physics are left out. Nevertheless,
this book retains its value as a very
good text book. I am sure some of the
errors would be removed in the next edition.
This text book would be
 

Contents

Physics and Engineering
1
What is Light?
23
Interference
42
Diffraction
89
Polarisation
120
Quantum Physics
161
Atomic Physics
210
Nuclear Physics
235
Dielectric and Magnetic Materials
305
Conductors Semiconductors and Superconductors
343
Diodes and Transistors
390
Charged Particles in Electric and Magnetic Fields
432
Lasers
488
Fibre Optics
516
Acoustics
539
Index
573

Structure and Properties of Matter
269

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information