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Virginia Begins Open-Source Physics Textbook 226

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the wiki-physics-are-much-easier-than-textbook-physics dept.
eldavojohn writes "The Commonwealth of Virginia has issued a request for contributions to an open source physics textbook (or 'flexbook' they termed it). They are partnering with CK-12 to make this educational textbook under the Creative Commons by Attribution Share-Alike license."
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Virginia Begins Open-Source Physics Textbook

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  • Hell Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zappepcs (820751) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:48PM (#24948635) Journal

    It's about time, can't wait to see the result and more of the same for other subjects. Education for everyone, free-ish. This is how it should be.

    • Re:Hell Yes (Score:4, Funny)

      by explosivejared (1186049) <hagan.jared@NosPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:04PM (#24948897)
      Yeah... as a Virginian, this makes me proud. The open sourcing of education is just awesome. I can't wait for my kids to learn how Albert Einstein delivered the ten commandments that brought the enlightenment of the time cube to the world, and other things of this nature. I also wish upon the experience of needing critical information for a research paper only to find the project killed because of rampant forking and infighting amongst educators. They'll be better people for it. /kidding... mostly that is
      • Re:Hell Yes (Score:5, Funny)

        by DoubleBarrelDarryl (1352363) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:30PM (#24949281)
        Albert Einstein didnt deliver the ten commandments, Charlton Heston did silly
        • an open-source physics text book cannot work. Physicists just can't agree on even the most basic aspects of their science.
          • by sp00n3r (1226694) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @03:28PM (#24951031)

            Physicists just can't agree on even the most basic aspects of their science.

            And who are you to make such a (ridiculous) claim?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:59PM (#24949751)

        I got preview of some content for the text-book:

        1 Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs, but he did not eated dem.

        2 Da Urfs no had shapez An haded dark face, An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz.

        3 At start, no has lyte. An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite? An lite wuz.4 An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin.5 An Ceiling Cat sayed light Day An dark no Day. It were FURST!!!1

        6 An Ceiling Cat sayed, im in ur waterz makin a ceiling. But he no yet make a ur. An he maded a hole in teh Ceiling.7 An Ceiling Cat doed teh skiez with waterz down An waterz up. It happen.8 An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has teh firmmint wich iz funny bibel naim 4 ceiling, so wuz teh twoth day.

        9 An Ceiling Cat gotted all teh waterz in ur base, An Ceiling Cat hadz dry placez cuz kittehs DO NOT WANT get wet.10 An Ceiling Cat called no waterz urth and waters oshun. Iz good.

        11 An Ceiling Cat sayed, DO WANT grass! so tehr wuz seedz An stufs, An fruitzors An vegbatels. An a Corm. It happen.12 An Ceiling Cat sawed that weedz ish good, so, letz there be weedz.13 An so teh threeth day jazzhands.

        14 An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has lightz in the skiez for splittin day An no day.15 It happen, lights everwear, like christmass, srsly.16 An Ceiling Cat doeth two grate lightz, teh most big for day, teh other for no day.17 An Ceiling Cat screw tehm on skiez, with big nails An stuff, to lite teh Urfs.18 An tehy rulez day An night. Ceiling Cat sawed. Iz good.19 An so teh furth day w00t.

        20 An Ceiling Cat sayed, waterz bring me phishes, An burds, so kittehs can eat dem. But Ceiling Cat no eated dem.21 An Ceiling Cat maed big fishies An see monstrs, which wuz like big cows, except they no mood, An other stuffs dat mooves, An Ceiling Cat sawed iz good.22 An Ceiling Cat sed O hai, make bebehs kthx. An dont worry i wont watch u secksy, i not that kynd uf kitteh.23 An so teh...fith day. Ceiling Cat taek a wile 2 cawnt.

        24 An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has MOAR living stuff, mooes, An creepie tings, An otehr aminals. It happen so tehre. 25 An Ceiling Cat doed moar living stuff, mooes, An creepies, An otehr animuls, An did not eated tehm.

        26 An Ceiling Cat sayed, letz us do peeps like uz, becuz we ish teh qte, An let min p0wnz0r becuz tehy has can openers.

        27 So Ceiling Cat createded teh peeps taht waz like him, can has can openers he maed tehm, min An womin wuz maeded, but he did not eated tehm.

        28 An Ceiling Cat sed them O hai maek bebehs kthx, An p0wn teh waterz, no waterz An teh firmmint, An evry stufs.

        29 An Ceiling Cat sayed, Beholdt, the Urfs, I has it, An I has not eated it.30 For evry createded stufs tehre are the fuudz, to the burdies, teh creepiez, An teh mooes, so tehre. It happen. Iz good.

        31 An Ceiling Cat sayed, Beholdt, teh good enouf for releaze as version 0.8a. kthxbai.

    • Re:Hell Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:24PM (#24949199) Journal

      How the hell are we suppose to sit in Ivory Towers and look down upon the commoners if education is free from us political and educational elites?

      I mean, we need to make sure that people are certified by a piece of paper to prove that they've bowed before the altar of Education properly.

      This includes requiring each new student to buy overpriced textbooks, brand new each year. Please, won't anyone think of the poor professors and teachers???

    • Re:Hell Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by baggins2001 (697667) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:32PM (#24949327)
      But the downside is who is going to do the final edit. Should Maxwell's equations be included? Should a whole chapter be devoted to an outlandish thesis on why it is physically impossible for evolution to occur?
      The reason I have concern is that in our state, the selection committee for books didn't have a single person with any type of degree in physics. So where are they going to find editors.
      I would prefer they used Sears and Zemansky College version, but am afraid that schools couldn't afford it.
      I have never looked at Halliday and Resnick Fundamental version, but that may also be good.
      • by treeves (963993)

        Since people drag the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics into evolution arguments, it *could* be (I didn't say "should") argued that it is relevant to physics.
        Halliday and Resnick is very good btw. I remember working through the workbook in high school.

      • Re:Hell Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by zappepcs (820751) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @02:17PM (#24950025) Journal

        There is a common axiom that should be in play here IMO, if a quorum of recognized physicists agree that a topic should be covered for a specific level of understanding, then it should be covered.

        A wiki would work if it could be voted on, and topic frozen for a year once voted and approved, or that subject page moved to a reference site which could be used as the text for one or more years.

        Physics 101 typically covers certain topics, more advanced classes cover more and more in depth. The trick is making that material available and flexible as they say. There are no great arguments about creationism in physics classes that I know of, but creationism is a religious principle and should be covered in theology class. NOTE to self: that page should be a redirect to bible.com.

        If actual physicists and hobbyists can agree on material, then you have more intelligence working on the problem than currently being used to select texts... more or less.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fm6 (162816)

        I would prefer they used Sears and Zemansky College version, but am afraid that schools couldn't afford it.

        Gee, why not? It's only $150 (workbook $25 extra).

        Of course, that's the 12th edition. You can get the 11th or 10th edition online for less than five bucks plus shipping. The 10th edition is only 8 years old. Has freshman physics changed that much in 8 years?

    • NO! This is an Outrage!! This is blasphemy!! Any honest fool knows that the best way to provide education,a or anything else for that matter, is to allow the unregulated invisible hand of the free market to solve everything. The magic of the markets can do it all, as long as they are unfettered by big government socialists! This project is Economic Terrorism!!

      This is unfair government competition in an otherwise productive and creative industry. Just look at the high quality and low costs of textbooks and courses currently on offer! Just look at the amount of engineers graduating from our universities! The free market has brought us prosperity, happiness and profit and can bring us so much more if only the government would cut more taxes and ... ....what?... they what?...when?...how much?..... ........

      Pay No Attention The Trillion Dollar Nationalization Project Behind The Curtain. The Market Will Continue To Solve All. This Is Simply A Temporary Accounting Measure. I Repeat. The Magic Of The Market Is Absolute!

    • a few things (Score:4, Insightful)

      by globaljustin (574257) <justinglobal @ g m a i l.com> on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:37PM (#24949403) Homepage Journal

      1. TFA states that this is for K-12, NOT college...so all the 'screw the Univ. for making me pay $200 for a textbook comments' are misguided

      2. I like this idea as well, but let's not forget that an open textbook than anyone can edit about SCIENCE is bound to attract hordes of Intelligent Design trolls...imagine it...every church in Virginian tells its members to go home Sunday afternoon and edit the wiki-text book about evolution...this is big, big trouble

      3. I'd rather see this opened to a pool of teachers, professors, scientists, etc that have been vetted for their qualifications.

      • 1. TFA states that this is for K-12, NOT college...so all the 'screw the Univ. for making me pay $200 for a textbook comments' are misguided

        The K-12 books are bought with tax money. They're not free.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by nomadic (141991)
        1. TFA states that this is for K-12, NOT college...so all the 'screw the Univ. for making me pay $200 for a textbook comments' are misguided

        Maybe he goes to a really bad college, where they use high school textbooks.
      • Science should be free for anyone to comment. I think that a wikipedia style page would work fine. Just let professors etc. be the moderators and e.g. lock the articles that are often trolled and allow only comments in the talk page. Or just allow comments in the talk pages. Making it easy for people to provide feedback will make the result much better.

    • First Virginia, then Kansas.

      So it won't be long before an approved "physics" textbook tells us how many angels can dance on the head of a pin...

  • by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:48PM (#24948639)

    Ass, but www.textbooktorrents.com saved me a bunch of money.

    Why pay for rev.2 and rev.3 when you bought rev.1 and are getting reamed by changed question numbers?

    I saved my friends about 2k$ this semester from what I found there.

    • by jbeaupre (752124) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:07PM (#24948931)
      This appears to be for highschool, which loans books to students for free. Not much reason for students to download books. And kind of hard for the state to get away with it. This is more along the lines of "We're going to write our own physics book. With gambling and hookers. Wait, forget the last part. Just the physics book."
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        You'd be right, except for one thing.

        State requires only certain textbooks for the upcoming year, and typically textbook requirements change enough each year, often in spite of the fact that there is nothing that really changed in the textbooks year to year.

        The whole Textbook issue is a HUGE issue for students and school districts, as the state LIMITS what is allowed. The political cronies and educational illites (sic) in charge are lining their pockets by requiring pointless changes.

        I saw one ridiculous ex

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by topherhenk (998915)

        You obviously don't live in Indiana where we have to pay a book rental fee. $73 for my first grader, and rising prices as you get older.

        • I AM in Indiana.

          Recently, the school has submitted yet another rounds of lawsuits against parents who have not paid their book rental ransom.

        • by jbeaupre (752124)
          Wow, I didn't know about that. And I live 30 minutes from Indiana.
          My wife is a teacher with a few stories of book abuse. Given some of the terrible things students do to books (which then have to be replaced), I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise someone thought of a way to balance the books.
  • Great Idea! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HaeMaker (221642) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:50PM (#24948681) Homepage

    I hope it won't be Wikipedia style...

    • by Brad1138 (590148) * <brad1138@yahoo.com> on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:17PM (#24949099)
      Professor, I think you need to look at the "textbook" again. I am pretty sure my answer is right.
    • by jd (1658)

      The Open Library [openlibrary.org] project has barely any users, let alone book contributors or code contributors, and that isn't even restricted to something as special-interest as textbooks. If they can't get the open model to work for the written word, I doubt Virginia (not known as a bastion of openness or science) is going to have any impact worthy of the name. I hope I'm wrong, but I won't hold my breath.

      Now these guys [edutaingrid.eu] have an idea for openness that looks far more interesting. Grids of Beowulfs of games. I can see that

  • Physics without calculus is a bit pointless. Any idea if this is focused at honors/ap, or...?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Most physics without solving PDEs is pointless. But I don't think that is the point of this class. High school physics focuses more on physical intuition and the understanding of the scientific method than on actual calculations. The only areas of high school physics that could apply to the real world are the simplest constant value problems. I would consider a high school physics class a success if the students could describe Newton's Laws of Mechanics, the Work-Energy Theorem, Newton's Universal Law o

      • You came somewhat close to describing my high school physics curriculum. Except the Ideal Gas Law was covered in Chemistry, and you forgot a few things... Hooke, Kirschov, Thompson, ... uh, golly that was a long time ago.

        In some cases where basic calculus would have been handy, we graphed and measured the area under the curve. That was also helpful later, in calculus.

        I also think we didn't touch the wave equation until grade 13 chemsitry. But we did study nuclear reactors and relativity in high school phy

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dogun (7502)

        Maybe yours was more focused on physical intuition, but mine was very much conceptual understanding and problem solving. We were expected to understand how closed form solutions were derived - sparing us the necessity of having to memorize them in some cases.

        Yes, you can do some stuff without calculus, but calculus is easy, excepting some of the trig crossover and the umpteen billion integration tricks. It really ought to be part of everyone's high school education, if only for its tremendous ability to e

        • calculus is easy, excepting some of the trig crossover and the umpteen billion integration tricks

          Where "trig crossover and the umpteen billion integration tricks" form most of college-level Calc 2. Grrr...

    • It was not listed the intended grades of this new book only and that one of the goals was "better preparing students for post-secondary education and the workforce." Certainly there are going to need articles on general physics subjects before it gets to more advanced areas. Calculus is only really needed at advanced levels. Really you don't need to know calculus to figure basic concepts like force (F=ma) or that gravity causes the Earth to orbit the Sun. To fully describe why Mercury has a peculiar orb
    • by Thelasko (1196535) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:55PM (#24949707) Journal

      Physics without calculus is a bit pointless.

      Woh! Step down from your high horse. There is plenty to learn about basic physics that doesn't involve calculus. You must simply make the correct assumptions. All the calculus is doing is explaining why the algebra works under some assumptions and not others. Even in four years of engineering school, I rarely used calculus.

      Keep in mind that a derivative can be expressed as a simple difference (subtraction) and an integral can be expressed as a simple summation.

      For example, Newton's second law only requires calculus if the acceleration of the system is changing. For practical classroom purposes, acceleration due to gravity is constant. No calculus required. (sort of)

      High school physics is teaching that the world can be described by math. The math that they will learn in physics without calculus will greatly help them understand calculus in the future. High school students don't need proofs, they need application. Application keeps kids interested.

      • by Dogun (7502) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @02:32PM (#24950277) Homepage

        I also went to an engineering school. I don't ever use calculus and other fancy math in the workplace, but calculus and other fancy math are tremendously useful in understanding many of the modern marvels about us.

        As far as summations and differences, this is intuitively true. Vector calculus teaches the intuition for that sort of thing. But without the ability to integrate, you're going to miss out on certain things.

        Calculus gives you the power to forget special case solutions and derive as needed in a lot of cases, which is pretty damned awesome.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Thelasko (1196535)

          Calculus gives you the power to forget special case solutions and derive as needed in a lot of cases, which is pretty damned awesome.

          But it's beyond the scope of a basic physics class. You already know that the laws of physics are true, that the world can be explained by math. Kids in high school don't know that. This is the most important things kids learn in high school physics.

          I found this article [popularmechanics.com] the other day, I think you should read it.

  • Kick out spdf (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ilovesymbian (1341639)

    Kick out spdf and welcome the era of open-source text books. Hooray!!

    Is Project Gutenburg not going to lend a hand in this?

  • by pzs (857406) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:59PM (#24948821)

    This is a good idea. Base it on a standard description of each concept like an old fashioned text book, but also allow:

    - Discussion threads with students and teachers. (moderated, Slashdot style?)

    - Contributed examples, again by students and teachers. You could do something like the PHP documentation, where the best contributed examples are prominently displayed at the bottom of the relevant page.

    - Interactive tools to illustrate particular concepts.

    - Copious linkage to similar resources.

    A successful project like this could easily spawn similar projects for the other sciences.

    • by pipatron (966506)

      Slashdot style

      I'd like to take this one step further and propose that everything you need to know shall be learned from slashdot comments only.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by williamhb (758070)

      This is a good idea. Base it on a standard description of each concept like an old fashioned text book, but also allow:

      - Discussion threads with students and teachers. (moderated, Slashdot style?)

      - Contributed examples, again by students and teachers. You could do something like the PHP documentation, where the best contributed examples are prominently displayed at the bottom of the relevant page.

      - Interactive tools to illustrate particular concepts.

      - Copious linkage to similar resources.

      A successful projec

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:01PM (#24948841)

    Due to gravity being "just a theory," the state of Virginia will be requiring the textbooks to include alternative theories as to why objects with mass have gravity -- chief among them, the concept of Intelligent Falling.

    • Umm, yeah (Score:5, Interesting)

      by edremy (36408) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:53PM (#24949677) Journal
      Laugh while you can, but I weep for the future of textbooks. They're approved by committees that know little to nothing about the topic and are happy to grind an axe for their point of view. See Dover v. Kitzmiller for a detailed example- the leading "Intelligent Design" textbook they wanted to use is quite literally an older creationism textbook with a search and replace s/creationism/intelligent design/

      Having lived in Lynchburg for a number of years, there are plenty of folks there who would demand removal of all sorts of things such as the true age of the universe if they had any input at all into the process. If instead it was written by experts, they'd be complaining to their representative about the state spending money on teaching atheism.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dkleinsc (563838)

      No, the real reason that objects with mass have gravity is that the Flying Spaghetti Monster pushes down on them with his Noodly Appendages. Get it right!

  • Light and Matter (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VincenzoRomano (881055) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:03PM (#24948871) Homepage Journal
    Why reinventing warm water?
    Go to Light and Matter [lightandmatter.com] for a high quality book set about physics.
    By the way, CK-12,org already has one [ck12.org].
  • Sounds Interesting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ronoholiv (1216262)
    In theory, this is a great idea. Virginia wants to have a core set of physics materials which will stay current, and then allow teachers to choose several "electives" from "contemporary and emerging physics topics" to enhance their curriculum.

    The thing to keep in mind is that this is their first step; the "flexbook," in its first form isn't going to replace the printed textbooks. After all, they want version 1 to be released on Feb. 27, 2009.
    --
    Yeah, I RTFA.
  • Sounds great until the "Intelligent Design" movement starts forcing their opinions on "physics" (aka, mind of God) into this book.

    The battle has not yet begun...
  • .........for they are the Choosing ones."

    I wonder how long it is before the DOJ gets in the middle of THIS one(at the behest of textbook giants).

    This is great news, as I am headed back to school this semester. Hopefully, innovation and reason are not squished into paste by the big textbook manufacturers in a bid to protect their scamming ways.

    And, yes, I hope it is not Wiki format.

  • woo (Score:3, Funny)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@gma ... inus threevowels> on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:25PM (#24949211) Homepage
    Considering the religious and cultural makeup of Virginia, I look forward to an accurate physical description of our 6,000 year old universe.
  • Hows this different from wikibooks? http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikibooks:Physics_bookshelf [wikibooks.org] Of course, most of the books are very incomplete. The problem is having many books fragments the audience and writers, requiring a lot of duplicate effort when you could just go to wikipedia, which is a single compilation of knowledge. I think a wikibook will only work if one or a few people write the whole damned thing, as a traditional book. The only point of wiki is then to fix the occasional error. The advant
    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @02:13PM (#24949967) Journal

      The advantage of the book over wikipedia is a cohesive structure, consistency, and progression of complexity. You'll lose a lot of that by having different people write different chapters.

      A lot of high-level college textbooks have chapters written by different people. Typically by experts in the subjects covered in those chapters. This is why high-level textbooks are referred to by the names of their editors, not so much the authors.

      So, I'm not sure if there is any particular drawback to distributing authorsip for an "open" textbook.

      What I do like (other than the creative commons-style licensing) is that it seems there will be much greater oppportunity for community editing. This, if done properly, could result in greater readability and usefulness of the text.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ronoholiv (1216262)
      I think that this is different in that Virginia is limiting the scope of people who are allowed to edit the Physics book for use within their educational system. RFCs (Requests for Contribution) were sent to certain institutions. Even CK-12 has their own group of educators who are constantly proofreading their current book selections.

      More than likely, it will be CK-12 who will edit the books to maintain the "cohesive structure, consistency, and progression of complexity" so as to provide a better experienc
  • And the Lord sayeth on the 2nd day, "Let there be suffient mass for nuclear fusion," and Lo! did the bountiful Earth swoop in from Heaven to orbit the newly formed sun.
  • Finally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kenp2002 (545495) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:36PM (#24949389) Homepage Journal

    Ahh, a definitive open source physics textbook so comic book writers can stop having Superman lift a mountain which under the small surface area he can cover, regardless of how strong, would simply crumble around him or the pressure at his hands would be so great the rock would go molten and he would effectively melt through the mountain he was trying to hold up.

    Perhaps ships blowing up in space will finally be silent the WAY GOD INTENTED THEM TO BLOW UP!

    Perhaps Cyclop's eye beams will finally push him back with equal force that they shoot with and maybe the death star's super cannon will no longer be a laser but some particle stream of sub-atomic explosives that penetrate the planet and rapidly conver the conventional matter it comes in contact with into some exotic and unstable form of matter that goes boom. BIG BADDA BOOM!

    Perhaps with a good solid physics text book people will learn to wear their seat belts, realize that driving a motor cycle isn't as safe as driving a car, and learn that the LHC cannot destroy the universe...

    This all, of course, is completely dependant that:

    A: People are literate (yes there is a difference between knowing how to read and being literate)
    B: People writing the book can write
    C: People start actually taking physic courses
    D: Pay attention in said courses
    E: Have a teacher that actually teaches rather then babysit like 99% of teachers in North America (YEAH THAT MEANS YOU TOO CANADA AND MEXICO. GUATEMALA -> PANAMA IS OFF THE HOOK... FOR NOW...)

    • Ahh, a definitive open source physics textbook so comic book writers can stop having Superman lift a mountain which under the small surface area he can cover, regardless of how strong, would simply crumble around him or the pressure at his hands would be so great the rock would go molten and he would effectively melt through the mountain he was trying to hold up.

      Have you been reading The Boys in recent months? It's a terrific series so far. Follows a rather unofficial CIA team whose job it is to keep an e

  • by Anonymous Coward
  • It's been done. (Score:5, Informative)

    by td (46763) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:46PM (#24949547) Homepage

    In the late 1960s, I was taught high-school physics from the PSSC (Physical Science Study Committee) Physics [gsu.edu] textbook. The curriculum and textbook were put together by an NSF-convened panel. All the curriculum materials (textbook, supplementary readings, teacher's guides, experimental equipment) were made freely available. I still have two copies of the textbook produced by different publishers and with different covers but identical inside.

    Although it was demonstrably superior to other physics curricula, the PSSC program was ultimately a failure because publishers, who couldn't make much money selling the PSSC textbook due to competition, eventually dropped the book and pushed hard to get their proprietary, therefore more heavily marked-up, textbooks adopted by school boards.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bcrowell (177657)

      Although it was demonstrably superior to other physics curricula, the PSSC program was ultimately a failure because publishers, who couldn't make much money selling the PSSC textbook due to competition, eventually dropped the book and pushed hard to get their proprietary, therefore more heavily marked-up, textbooks adopted by school boards.

      I'm not sure I'd quite agree with that. I learned physics a decade or two after the PSSC era, and now teach physics. I agree that the PSSC books were of unusually high

  • I went to high school in Virginia, and my HS Physics teacher told us that the reason that astronauts on the space shuttle in orbit around the Earth floated and people on airplanes flying around the Earth did not was because of "air pressure" (I kid you not).

    So yeah, they need something like this... if the teachers will READ it.

    On the plus side, my physics teacher was HOT, hence I forgave her for her idiocy. :)

  • Only this weekend I hear on NPR a professor in California wrote a Chemistry book and released it under CC license. He felt the chem books available were too expensive, generic, and with just pretty pictures.

  • I don't know whether their servers got overloaded or what, but that page is now essentially empty.

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