Physics in the Arts

Physics in the Arts

3rd Edition - January 16, 2021

Write a review

  • Author: Pupa Gilbert
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780128243473
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128243480

Purchase options

Purchase options
In Stock
DRM-free (EPub, Mobi, PDF)
Sales tax will be calculated at check-out

Institutional Subscription

Free Global Shipping
No minimum order


Physics in the Arts, Third Edition gives science enthusiasts and liberal arts students an engaging, accessible exploration of physical phenomena, particularly with regard to sound and light. This book offers an alternative route to science literacy for those interested in the arts, music and photography. Suitable for a typical course on sound and light for non-science majors, Gilbert and Haeberli’s trusted text covers the nature of sound and sound perception as well as important concepts and topics such as light and light waves, reflection and refraction, lenses, the eye and the ear, photography, color and color vision, and additive and subtractive color mixing. Additional sections cover color generating mechanisms, periodic oscillations, simple harmonic motion, damped oscillations and resonance, vibration of strings, Fourier analysis, musical scales and musical instruments.

Key Features

  • Winner of a 2022 Textbook Excellence Award (College) (Texty) from the Textbook and Academic Authors Association
  • Offers an alternative route to science literacy for those interested in the visual arts, music and photography
  • Includes a new and unique quantitative encoding approach to color vision, additive and subtractive color mixing, a section on a simplified approach to quantitative digital photography, how the ear-brain system works as a Fourier analyzer, and updated and expanded exercises and solutions
  • Provides a wealth of student resources including in-text solutions and online materials including demo and lecture videos, practice problems, and other useful files:
  • Supplies teaching materials for qualified instructors, including chapter image banks, model homework sets, and model exams: ttps://


Undergraduate students

Table of Contents

  • 1. Light and Light Waves
    2. Reflection and Refraction
    3. Lenses
    4. The Human Eye
    5. Photography
    6. Color and Color Vision
    7. Additive Color Mixing
    8. Subtractive Color Mixing
    9. Color Generating Mechanisms
    10. Sound Waves
    11. Simple Harmonic Motion
    12. Damping and Resonance
    13. Vibration of Strings
    14. Waves in Pipes
    15. Superposition, beats, and Harmony
    16. Musical Scales
    17. Fourier Analysis
    18. Musical Instruments
    19. Sound Perception: Timbre, Loudness, and Pitch
    20. The Ear
    21. Solutions to Problems

Product details

  • No. of pages: 400
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2021
  • Published: January 16, 2021
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780128243473
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128243480

About the Author

Pupa Gilbert

Pupa Gilbert
Pupa Gilbert is a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Physics at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and an amateur surrealist painter. She is a physicist with passionate loves for biology, geoscience, and modern art. She studied at the Sapienza University of Rome, worked as a staff scientist at the Italian National Research Council and at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne until she joined the University of Wisconsin in 1999. Her research focuses on biominerals, including coral skeletons, tooth enamel, nacre, and sea urchin spines. She studies them with spectromicroscopy methods at the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley, where she discovers the complex structures of the biominerals, and their formation mechanisms. She won several awards for her research and teaching, including the UW-Madison Distinguished Teaching Award in 2011, Radcliffe Fellowship 2014-15, and the David A. Shirley Award in 2018. She lives in Madison and Berkeley with her husband Ben.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Ratings and Reviews

Write a review

Latest reviews

(Total rating for all reviews)

  • Shane T. Fri Jan 21 2022

    Physics in the Arts

    This is an excellent book for an introductory physics course that is aimed towards students who are majoring in the arts. This edition is well written and builds upon a fantastic first edition. The conceptual explanations are spot-on and I find that I can add some mathematical rigor, but that should be left to the individual instructor. I only wish that the book had additional sections on he physics of sculpture and dance. That would cover most of the topics in the common arts curriculum. My students have commented that they enjoyed reading the book!