Modern Physics for Scientists and Engineers,
5th Edition

Stephen T. Thornton, Andrew Rex, Carol E. Hood

ISBN-13: 9781337919456
Copyright 2021 | Published
704 pages | List Price: USD $250.95

Learn how your life connects to the latest discoveries in physics with MODERN PHYSICS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS. This updated fifth edition offers a contemporary, comprehensive approach with a strong emphasis on applications to help you see how concepts in the book relate to the real world. Discussions on the experiments that led to key discoveries illustrate the process behind scientific advances and give you a historical perspective. Included is a thorough treatment of special relativity, an introduction to general relativity, and a solid foundation in quantum theory to help you succeed. An updated WebAssign course features a mobile-friendly ebook and a variety of assignable questions to enhance your learning experience. WebAssign for MODERN PHYSICS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS helps you prepare for class with confidence. Its online learning platform helps you unlearn common misconceptions, practice and absorb what you learn and begin your path as a future physicist or engineer. Tutorials walk you through concepts when you're stuck, and instant feedback and grading let you know where you stand--so you can focus your study time and perform better on in-class assignments and prepare for exams. Study smarter with WebAssign!


Classical Physics of the 1890s. The Kinetic Theory of Gases. Waves and Particles. Conservation Laws and Fundamental Forces. The Atomic Theory of Matter. Unresolved Questions of 1895 and New Horizons. Summary.
The Apparent Need for Ether. The Michelson-Morley Experiment. Einstein's Postulates. The Lorentz Transformation. Time Dilation and Length Contraction. Addition of Velocities. Experimental Verification. Twin Paradox. Spacetime. Doppler Effect. Special Topic: Applications of the Doppler Effect. Relativistic Momentum. Relativistic Energy. Computations in Modern Physics. Electromagnetism and Relativity. Summary.
Discovery of the X-Ray and the Electron. Determination of Electron Charge. Line Spectra.
Special Topic: The Discovery of Helium. Quantization. Blackbody Radiation. Photoelectric Effect. X-Ray Production. Compton Effect. Pair Production and Annihilation. Summary.
The Atomic Models of Thomson and Rutherford. Rutherford Scattering. Special Topic: Lord Rutherford of Nelson. The Classical Atomic Model. The Bohr Model of the Hydrogen Atom.
Successes and Failures of the Bohr Model. Characteristic X-Ray Spectra and Atomic Number. Atomic Excitation by Electrons. Summary.
X-Ray Scattering. De Broglie Waves. Special Topic: Cavendish Laboratory. Electron Scattering.
Wave Motion. Waves or Particles? Uncertainty Principle. Probability, Wave Functions, and the Copenhagen Interpretation. Particle in a Box. Summary.
The Schrödinger Wave Equation. Expectation Values. Infinite Square-Well Potential. Finite Square-Well Potential. Three-Dimensional Infinite-Potential Well. Simple Harmonic Oscillator.
Barriers and Tunneling. Special Topic: Scanning Probe Microscopes. Summary.
Application of the Schrödinger Equation to the Hydrogen Atom. Solution of the Schrödinger Equation for Hydrogen. Quantum Numbers. Magnetic Effects on Atomic Spectra--The Normal Zeeman Effect. Intrinsic Spin. Special Topic: Hydrogen and the 21-cm Line Transition. Energy Levels and Electron Probabilities. Summary.
Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table. Special Topic: Rydberg Atoms. Total Angular Momentum. Anomalous Zeeman Effect. Summary.
Historical Overview. Maxwell Velocity Distribution. Equipartition Theorem. Maxwell Speed
Special Topic: Superfluid 3^He. Summary.
Molecular Bonding and Spectra. Stimulated Emission and Lasers. Structural Properties of Solids. Thermal and Magnetic Properties of Solids. Superconductivity. Special Topic: Low-Temperature Methods. Applications of Superconductivity. Summary.
Band Theory of Solids. Semiconductor Theory. Special Topic: The Quantum Hall Effect. Semiconductor Devices. Nanotechnology. Summary.
Discovery of the Neutron. Nuclear Properties. The Deuteron. Nuclear Forces. Nuclear Stability. Radioactive Decay. Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Decay. Special Topic: Neutrino Detection. Radioactive Nuclides. Special Topic: The Formation and Age of the Earth. Summary.
Nuclear Reactions. Reaction Kinematics. Reaction Mechanisms. Fission. Fission Reactors.
Fusion. Special Applications. Special Topic: The Search for New Elements. Summary.
Early Discoveries. The Fundamental Interactions. Classification of Particles. Conservation Laws and Symmetries. Quarks. The Families of Matter. Beyond the Standard Model. Accelerators. Special Topic: Experimental Ingenuity. Summary.
Stellar Evolution. Special Topic: Computers. Special Topic: Are Other Earths Out There? Galaxies and the Discovery of Dark Matter. Tenets of General Relativity. Tests of General Relativity. Black Holes. Gravitational Waves. Summary.
Evidence of the Big Bang. Special Topic: Measuring the Hubble Constant. The Theory of the Big Bang. Problems with the Big Bang. The Age of the Universe. The Standard Model of Cosmology. The Future. Summary.
Appendix 1: Fundamental Constants.
Appendix 2: Conversion Factors.
Appendix 3: Mathematics Supplement. 3A: Mathematical Relations. 3B: Mean Values and Distributions. 3C: Probability Integrals. 3D: Integrals of the Type.
Appendix 4: Periodic Table of Elements.
Appendix 5: Atomic Mass Table.
Appendix 6: Nobel Laureates in Physics.
Answers to Selected Odd- Numbered Problems.

  • Stephen T. Thornton

    Stephen Thornton is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Virginia. He has published over 130 research articles in experimental nuclear physics and has done research at several accelerator facilities in the United States and Europe. He has directed research for 25 graduate students and has held two U.S. Senior Fulbright-Hays Fellowships and a Max-Planck Fellowship to do research at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany on two occasions. He was the founding Director of the University of Virginia Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics. He has published three college textbooks for physics: "Classical Dynamics," "Modern Physics, " and "Physics for Scientists and Engineers. He was Director of the Master of Arts in Physics Education program at the University of Virginia, which has graduated more than 150 high school physics teachers. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of several organizations including American Association of Physics Teachers, American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Science Teachers Association, Virginia Association of Science Teachers (past President), and the Virginia Math and Science Coalition. He was awarded the Pegram Award by the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society for “Excellence in Physics Education in the Southeast.” He has developed multiple courses for undergraduate students and high school physics teachers.

  • Andrew Rex

    Andrew Rex has been Professor of Physics at the University of Puget Sound since 1982. He frequently teaches the Modern Physics course, so he has a deep sense of student and instructor challenges. He is the author of several textbooks, including "Modern Physics," "Essential College Physics," "Integrated Physics and Calculus," and "Finn's Thermal Physics, Third Edition." In addition to textbook writing, he studies foundations of the second law of thermodynamics, which has led to the publication of several papers and the widely acclaimed book, "Maxwell's Demon: Entropy, Information, Computing." He has also written the general-audience book "Commonly Asked Questions in Physics."

  • Carol E. Hood

    Carol Hood is an Associate Professor of Physics at California State University, San Bernardino, a primarily undergraduate Hispanic serving institution. In addition to teaching Modern Physics and other introductory and advanced physics courses, she has spent significant time in the past few years redesigning program curriculum and courses throughout the undergraduate physics and general education levels. Her research focuses on the growth of active galactic nuclei over cosmic time and faculty development in STEM pedagogy. Dr. Hood is the Co-Director of the southern portion of Cal-Bridge, a state-wide scholarship and mentoring program for California State University students designed to increase minority participation in physics and astronomy Ph.D. programs, in particular to the University of California.

  • New coverage of the important contributions to physics of additional female scientists, including Emmy Noether, Rosalyn Yalow, Annie Jump Cannon, and Henrietta Leavitt, has been added, as well as the contributions of the computers at the Harvard Observatory and NASA.

  • The latest research into the age of the universe has been added to help students understand the theories and controversies physicists continue to debate.

  • The discussion on gravitational waves has been greatly expanded to include the recent detections and subsequent electromagnetic detections, and the discussions on dark matter and dark energy have been updated to include the most up-to-date observations and theories.

  • The latest information on the Higgs boson brings students up to date on this significant research area of physics research and theory.

  • Chapters 15, “Modern Astrophysics and General Relativity” and 16, "Cosmology," reflect the latest research and findings.

  • A flexible organization makes the book appropriate for a one- or two-term course. The authors begin by laying the historical groundwork for modern physics and then provide in-depth coverage of relativity and quantum mechanics. They devote the latter part of the book to the sub-fields of physics (atomic, condensed matter, nuclear, and particle) along with general relativity and cosmology. This organization gives students a solid foundation early in the book, and gives you the option to enhance your teaching with additional topics of your choosing.

  • Blue margin notes and end-of-chapter summaries give students a quick overview of topics covered in the chapter and help guide them to important concepts for easy review.

  • A large number of examples, including Conceptual Examples, give students ample practice applying the book's theories,. Examples feature a Strategy step, which helps students identify the essential steps in problem solving and improve their problem-solving skills.

  • Short biographical features highlight the achievements of physicists throughout history to illustrate the importance of individual ingenuity in advancing knowledge in the field.

  • Throughout the text, a focus on the history of physics offers a human perspective and helps students understand the context in which scientific advancements have been made.

  • Special Topic boxes are up-to-date applications of interest to physicists and engineers. These features show the relevance of modern physics to the real world and give students a more in-depth look at particularly engaging topics such as exoplanets, the "Age of the Earth," neutrino detection, and scanning probe microscopes.

  • End-of-chapter problems include over 200 questions and more than 700 problems, providing you with ample material from which to select homework assignments without repeating the same problems every year. More challenging problems are flagged to help students gauge their progress from easier to harder problems.

  • Blue margin notes **ARE THESE STILL BLUE IN THE MTR/NEW PRINT LAYOUT? ARE THEY MARGIN NOTES OR WERE THEY CHANGED AS PART OF THE STRUCTURAL ALTERATIONS FOR THE MTR-CENTRIC DESIGN?** and End-of-chapter summaries give students a quick overview of topics covered in the chapter and help guide students to important concepts for easy review.

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