Conceptual Physics, 13th Edition ©2022

Conceptual Physics, published by Pearson, engages students with its “concepts before calculations” approach that uses real-world analogies, compelling text, and advanced media to generate interest and understanding.

  • Topics range from classical mechanics to modern physics
  • Informative and fun Hewitt-Drew-It screencasts
  • Rich content through the Pearson Mastering Physics platform
  • This program is accompanied by Pearson's Mastering® platform with eText

High School Conceptual Physics Program with Digital Integration

Conceptual Physics provides innovative content and tools geared towards today’s teachers and students.


Relevant to today’s learners

Chapter Openers feature updated photos to reflect the diversity found in the sciences today and include new photos and descriptions of professors and those in industry.


Prepare for Class

Conceptual Ranking end of chapter exercises help students master important concepts. Multiple-choice Practice Exams enable students to assess their grasp of the material they just learned.


Conceptual Understanding

Check Yourself and Check Your Answer boxes within the text help students gauge their level of understanding of the material covered.


Make Physics Relevant to Today’s Students

Conceptual Physics uses contemporary issues such as digital technology, the environment, and energy to provide easy entry points into physics and its relevance for understanding our world.

Teaching Solutions for Conceptual Physics

  • Visualize Physics in the World
  • Build a Strong Conceptual Understanding of Physics
  • Preparing for Lecture
  • Self-Motivated Learning Opportunities

Visualize Physics in the World

  • Chapter Openers
    The Chapter Openers feature new or updated pictures that reflect the sciences’ increasing diversity.
  • Informative Cartoons
    Conceptual Physics continues to include the author’s approachable and informative cartoons.

Build a Strong Conceptual Understanding of Physics

  • Bloom’s Taxonomy Alignment
    The end-of-chapter sections align to Bloom’s taxonomy with all end-of-chapter material falling into Bloom’s taxonomy categories.
  • Check Yourself and Check Your Answer Boxes
    Check Yourself and Check Your Answer boxes embedded within the text help students gauge their level of understanding of the material they covered.
  • Conceptual Ranking
    Conceptual Ranking end of chapter exercises help students master important concepts.

Preparing for Lecture

  • Video Demonstrations
    Paul Hewitt’s video demonstrations and over 100 Hewitt-Drew-It screencasts help students gain a better conceptual understanding of physics concepts before class.
  • End-of-Chapter Exercises
    Conceptual Ranking end of chapter exercises lead students towards mastery of important concepts.
  • Practice Exams
    Multiple-choice Practice exams at the end of each part help to measure students’ understanding.

Self-Motivated Learning Opportunities

  • Self-Guided Tutorials
    Self-Guided Tutorial Activities feature extensive, multi-lesson animations that students can work through at their own pace.
  • Video Activities
    Video Activities ask students to answer multiple-choice questions based on Hewitt’s classroom demonstrations.

Take a Deeper Look at Conceptual Physics



Get to know Conceptual Physics with Mastering® Physics with Pearson eText

Mastering® Physics from Pearson

Mastering® Physics with Pearson eText combines customizable features with personalized learning for a flexible and robust experience.

Next Generation Science Standards

Our solutions are designed to support and correlate to the Next Generation Science Standards.

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More About Conceptual Physics

  • Table of Contents

    1. About Science   

    2. Newton’s First Law of Motion: Inertia 
    3. Linear Motion  
    4. Newton’s Second Law of Motion: Force and Acceleration  
    5. Newton’s Third Law of Motion: Action and Reaction  
    6. Momentum 
    7. Energy 
    8. Rotational Motion  
    9. Gravity  
    10. Projectile and Satellite Motion  

    11. The Atomic Nature of Matter  
    12. Solids 
    13. Liquids 
    14. Gases

    III. HEAT 
    15. Temperature, Heat and Expansion 
    16. Heat Transfer 
    17. Change of Phase 
    18. Thermodynamics 

    IV. SOUND 
    19. Vibrations and Waves 
    20. Sound 
    21. Musical Sounds 

    22. Electrostatics 
    23. Electric Current 
    24. Magnetism 
    25. Electromagnetic Induction 

    VI. LIGHT 
    26. Properties of Light 
    27. Color 
    28. Reflection and Refraction 
    29. Light Waves 
    30. Light Emission 
    31. Light Quanta 

    32. The Atom and the Quantum 
    33. Atomic Nucleus and Radioactivity 
    34. Nuclear Fission and Fusion 

    35. Special Theory of Relativity 
    36. General Theory of Relativity 
    A. Systems of Measurement 
    B. More About Motion 
    C. Graphing 
    D. More About Vectors 
    E. Exponential Growth and Doubling Time

  • Paul Hewitt Author Bio

    Becoming a physics instructor and textbook author didn't seem a likely outcome of my earlier years. I grew up in Saugus (near Boston), Massachusetts. In my high school years an influential counselor convinced me that I wouldn't have to take academic courses due to my talent for art. My passions at the time were drawing comic strips, rink roller-skating, and especially boxing, which helped repel school bullies. At age 17, I won the silver medal of the New England Amateur Athletic Union in the 112-pound class. Shortly after that, I delivered newspapers, painted signs, and learned silk-screen printing in Boston, where I met life-long friend Ernie Brown, who influenced me to spend two winters with him in Miami, Florida. I dedicated the eleventh edition of Conceptual Physics to Ernie.

    In 1953, during the Korean conflict, I was abruptly drafted into the Army. I was fortunate, however, that the war ended on my last day of basic training at Camp Carson in Colorado Springs. My Army discharge occurred during the craze of uranium prospecting, which nurtured the hope of financial security. I took that gamble and remained in Colorado to prospect for uranium, supporting myself as a sign painter in the town of Salida. I discovered uranium-tainted rock in the Sangre de Christo Mountains that raised my hopes, but not my income. More importantly, I discovered and fell in love with Millie Luna. Winter snow prevented access to my uranium claims so I went back to Saugus, and then to escape the cold New England winters, I returned to Miami.

    Life-changing events occurred in Miami. First, I married Millie. Second, I met sign painter and science buff Burl Grey and his intellectual mentor, Jacque Fresco. Both inspired me to pursue a life of science. I returned north and with the G.I. Bill enrolled at Newman Preparatory School in Boston to make up for high-school deficiencies. At the age of 27, I began college at Lowell Technological Institute (now the University of Massachusetts Lowell). After I received a BS in physics, Millie and I and our two children ventured west, where I would earn an MS in physics at Utah State University (USU). There I was inspired by the extraordinary teaching of Farrell Edwards and John J. Merrill. USU friends Huey and Sue Johnson influenced us to follow them to San Francisco, where Huey, a passionate environmentalist, began his career as western director of the famed Nature Conservancy and soon became California's Secretary of Resources during Jerry Brown's administration. Huey also founded The Trust for Public Land, an organization that saves tracts of land from unwanted commercial development, and he later founded the nonprofit Resource Renewal Institute. Best friend extraordinaire Huey passed away in 2020 from complications after a fall. It was with Huey's assistance in 1964 that I was hired as a long-term substitute at City College of San Francisco (CCSF).

    My teaching assignment was the course least popular among my colleagues, Physics 10, which was geared toward nonscience majors, the very students I wanted to reach. My teaching goal was not to swell the ranks of physicists, but to share my love of physics with all students. I very soon discovered that the best of my algebraic derivations were unappreciated. Nor did students think much of my simple problems that used equations as recipes to come up with numerical answers. My teaching evolved to "physics without numbers," and Physics 10 soon became the most popular elective course on campus. I yearned to teach from a new and exciting textbook, Physics for the Inquiring Mind, by Eric Rogers, but my department chair found it unacceptable because it was too large and heavy for students to tote around.

    That meant I would have to write my own book. Inspired by the Rogers book and Basic Physics, a new, clearly written textbook by Kenneth Ford, I frantically spent the summer of 1969, the year of the first Moon landing, creating Conceptual Physics. The spiral-bound result was graciously printed on campus by the college bookstore. Its coverage of topics was in step with my nemesis as a student: information overload. It covered only the fundamentals of physics. It had no numerical problems requiring even simple algebra. None. As such, it was a quite local CCSF book.

    Enrollment for Physics 10 had grown to more than a thousand per semester. Curious textbook sales representatives thought that Conceptual Physics could be more than a local book. To make a long and interesting story short, Little, Brown and Company published it in 1971 (50 years ago). This was at a time when college students nationwide were demanding relevance in their courses. With its subtitle, A New Introduction to Your Environment, Conceptual Physics was seen as very relevant. To add to the accuracy of the physics, Ken Ford volunteered his editorial pen to my writing. I dedicated the eighth and eleventh editions to him. Conceptual Physics became the dominant book for liberal arts physics courses in the United States, and also internationally.

    Teaching was not confined to CCSF. On Wednesday evenings, I taught at the San Francisco Exploratorium. I was often honored when founder Frank Oppenheimer sat in on my classes. When musical sounds was the topic, with his collection of woodwind instruments, Frank did the teaching, and I sat in. Wonderful times teaching with Frank.

    As an author, I never went the common route of following an introductory textbook with an algebra/trig-based book and then a calculus-based textbook. Instead, I elected to keep improving Conceptual Physics for nonscience students, edition after edition, a continuous striving to increase the clarity of physics topics, to make physics a course that students could love. For an algebra-based course, Phil Wolf and I wrote a problem-solving book to supplement Conceptual Physics. It is now an important complement to this thirteenth edition.

    In my personal life, my wife Millie peacefully passed away in 2004, leaving me with three wonderful children and seven well-loved grandchildren. A year later I married Lillian Lee. Both of my marriages were to impressive women. Today, my wife Lillian, with her eye for detail, adds clarity to my writing. Hence, I dedicate this edition to her, as I did with previous editions.

    I never traveled outside of the United States until age 40. Since then, summers have been devoted to world travel. My teaching took me further afield as well, mainly to the University of California at both Berkeley and Santa Cruz, and the two university campuses in Hawaii. In Hawaii, I was also invited to teach in a video studio. Little did I realize that those lectures would remain popular today.

    A move from Hilo, Hawaii, to St. Petersburg, Florida, brought me closer to my pal from my roller-skating days, Paul Ryan (pictured in all my books). Lil and I now split our time between St. Petersburg and San Francisco, continually polishing the lens through which students can more clearly view their world. Nature's major rules are revealed in the laws of physics, all nicely summarized in their equations. Teaching these equations as the rules of nature has been an awesome experience.

    More awesome is being born. The chances of being born a healthy human are so miniscule that being alive is the highest prize of the universe. But that prize comes with a certainty: being born means eventually dying. Before birth, our experience of the universe and all its happenings was blank. With no consciousness there was nothing. If that blank state is our fate after death, then there's nothing to fear. Now, if there's more, hooray - But there needn't be. Death as the price of birth is a fair cosmic bargain. Along with grieving the loss of loved ones, we should celebrate that they knew life.


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