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Survey of Physics and Western Thought
Textbook and Solutions Guide
David W. Snoke
2003 (softbound edition), Access Research Network, 532 pp.
Solutions Guide, spiral bound, 94 pp.
$60.00 (includes USPS Media Mail shipping to addresses in US and Mexico)
$90.00 (includes air shipping to all other foreign addresses
Intended Audience: Homeschool, Private School, Ages
15 to Adult
Dr. David Snoke is an Associate Professor of Physics
and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh. Several years ago he
was asked by a homeschool group to teach a physics course for high schoolers.
What started as a single class has developed into a new high school
textbook and a new integrated approach to teaching physics.
This book is intended for a single year-long course
of high school physics or an introductory course of college physics.
It presents an overview of the entire subject of physics. This book
is not just another version of the standard introductory physics text;
it is an entirely new approach to physics. Some educators will find
it surprising that the book leaves out, or treats in very brief fashion,
several topics that are covered extensively in typical physics books,
such as inclined planes, springs, etc. The reason is there are two kinds
of physics courses. One type of course answers the question, "What
introductory material should an engineer or science major in college
study?" A second type of course answers the question, "What
should every educated person know about physics, assuming that he or
she never studies physics again?" This course is designed to answer
the second question. As such, it spends a large fraction of the time
on modern physics, the types of questions that modern physicists actually
Some educators will find it surprising that many fairly
advanced topics of philosophy and Christian theology are included in
this course. Is this appropriate for high school or college students?
Absolutely. Why should students be experts in machinery and equations
and unlearned in related philosophical and theological questions? Historically,
physics and philosophy have interacted strongly, under the name Natural
Philosophy, hence the title of this book.
This book is not necessarily only for high school students.
If you have already studied physics but never thought about the philosophical
and theological issues involved, this book is for you. The interaction
of the Bible and science has been a central ingredient of the development
of natural philosophy in the Western world, and this interaction still
affects the politics of science and education in the United States today.
Knowing what the Bible says, and does not say, is essential for understanding
this debate. A warning: what makes philosophy interesting is the controversies.
Dealing with controversial matter, however, means taking positions that
some people will not like. Instead of shying away from these issues,
the student is encouraged to study the issues further. Wisdom comes
from taking the time to understand controversial issues, not avoiding
Dr. David Snoke received his Bachelors degree in physics (magna
cum laude) from Cornell University in 1983 and his Ph.D. in physics
from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1990. He is presently
Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh,
where he has been since 1994. Before that, he was an Alexander von Humboldt
postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Physics
in Stuttgart, Germany, and worked in industry at various times for the
Westinghouse Research and Development Center in Pittsburgh and the Aerospace
Corporation in Los Angeles. He has published two books with Cambridge
University Press on the physics of Bose-Einstein Condensation, and he
has published over 50 articles in refereed scientific journals on his
research on the optics of semiconductors and other materials. He is
director of the Photonics program at the University of Pittsburgh and
directs a laser laboratory funded by the National Science Foundation
and the Department of Energy. He is currently preparing a new textbook
for Addison-Wesley on general solid state physics theory. David Snoke
is also a licensed preacher and an elder in the Presbyterian Church
in America (PCA), and has published several articles and a short book
on the relationship of science and faith. He and his wife have homeschooled
their four children for the past 14 years and are active in the Pittsburgh
East Area Christian Homeschoolers (PEACH), their local homeschool support
group. Natural Philosophy: A Survey Of Physics and Western Thought was
developed from materials originally used in a physics class taught for