Books Received | Published:

(1) A Text-book of the Principles of Physics (2) A Textbook of Physics (3) Principles of Physics: Designed for Use as a Textbook of General Physics (4) Treatise on Practical Light

Nature volume 88, pages 510511 (15 February 1912) | Download Citation



(1) It is presumably the duty of a reviewer to try in reading a text-book to take up the point of view of the students for whom it is primarily designed. This attitude it is not at all easy in many cases to assume. But the third edition of Dr. Daniells text-book scarcely admits of doubt in this respect. Regarded from a purely physical point of view, the book undoubtedly contains much useful information, notwithstanding the fact that it is presented in a peculiarly disjointed fashion. But to propose it as being suitable for medical students seems very misleading. Those who are experienced in teaching medical students, or, at any rate, the majority of them, know with what simplicity the principles of physics must be treated. The subject is one which the students themselves think is foreign to their medical course, and the complexity of detail with which this book abounds would surely make them adhere more strongly than ever to that opinion. But apart altogether from the question of suitability for any special class of students the book is in several other respects open to serious objections. In the first place, the unfortunate tendency in many recent physical text-books of quoting unproved numerous mathematical formulae is especially prominent in this particular case. This is, in all probability, the main cause of the disjointed nature of the text already referred to. It must be admitted, of course, that such procedure is occasionally inevitable and even desirable, but when it becomes the rule and not the exception, it encourages students to regard physics as a series of formulæ to be committed to memory, and having no logical sequence.

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