Physics in the Arts

Revised Edition


  • P.U.P.A. Gilbert, University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A.
  • Willy Haeberli, University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A.

Physics in the Arts is a concise, 328-page four-color entry in the Complementary Science Series, designed for science enthusiasts and liberal arts students requiring or desiring a well-developed discussion of physical phenomena, particularly with regard to sound and light.

Typical course: A course on sound and light for non-science majors covering the nature of sound and sound perception; fundamentals of harmony, musical photography, color perception, and color mixing. Easily understood by those with high school algebra and geometry.
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Non-science students in courses related to the study of physics with light and sound.


Book information

  • Published: July 2011
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-391878-9


"...the work of a pair of great physicists and top teachers...clear and imaginative. I cannot remember an occasion where a student complained about this text."--Francis Halzen, University of Wisconsin, Madison

"I found the book very-well written...the book is also very popular with students. It covers the material at a depth appropriate for non-science students who are interested in the will be a very useful addition to the textbook literature for liberal arts colleges."-- Baha Balantekin, Eugene P. Wigner Professor of Physics, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Table of Contents

1: Light and Light Waves
2: Reflection and Refraction
3: Lenses
4: The Eye
5: Photography
6: Color and Color Vision
7: Additive Color Mixing
8: Subtractive Color Mixing
9: Color Generating Mechanisms
10: Periodic Oscillations
11: Simple Harmonic Motion
12: Damped Oscillations and Resonance
13: Adding Sound Sources: Beats and Harmony
14: Waves
15: Sound Perception
16: The Ear
17: Vibration of Strings
18: Pipes
19: Fourier Analysis
20: Musical Scales
21: Musical Instruments
Solutions to Problems