These two highly recommended volumes are the modern, updated versions from the master teacher and experimental physicist (color centers or F-centers in crystals) Robert Wichard Pohl. Known for his motto “Simplicity is the Mark of Truth,” Pohl taught generations of students from 1919 to 1952 at the University of Gӧttingen. I consider this text to be the genesis of the genre of introductory physics textbooks for students and the general public, as it stimulates curiosity, questions and understanding of physics. I studied from the 1935 and 1940 German editions.

Pohl designed and constructed original demonstrative experiments to illustrate phenomena in mechanics, acoustics, thermodynamics, electrodynamics and optics. These demonstrations are shown in the 118 modern English videos that use Pohl’s instruments and the images of the apparatus and are integrated into the pedagogical text. The end-of-chapter problem sets, with worked-out solutions from Pohl, are augmented with modern didactic problems. Other modern additions to Pohl’s text include references and websites in the margins. While the edited text uses vectors, calculus and SI units, it closely follows Pohl’s phenomenological approach to teach classical physics.

I applaud Springer for making these wonderful textbooks available in English.

Review by Barry R. Masters, Fellow of AAAS, OSA and SPIE.

The opinions expressed in the book review section are those of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect those of OPN or OSA.