Oscillations and Waves: An Introduction

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Bridging lower-division physics survey courses with upper-division physics courses, Oscillations and Waves: An Introduction develops a unified mathematical theory of oscillations and waves in physical systems. Emphasizing physics over mathematics, the author includes many examples from discrete mechanical, optical, and quantum mechanical systems; continuous gases, fluids, and elastic solids; electronic circuits; and electromagnetic waves. Assuming familiarity with the laws of physics and college-level mathematics, the book focuses on oscillations and waves whose governing differential equations are linear. The author covers aspects of optics that crucially depend on the wave-like nature of light, such as wave optics. He also introduces the conventional complex representation of oscillations and waves later in the text during the discussion of quantum mechanical waves. This helps students thoroughly understand how to represent oscillations and waves in terms of regular trigonometric functions before using the more convenient, but much more abstract, complex representation. Based on the author's longstanding course at the University of Texas at Austin, this classroom-tested text helps students acquire a sound physical understanding of wave phenomena. It eases students' difficult transition between lower-division courses that mostly encompass algebraic equations and upper-division courses that rely on differential equations.