For other instructors who may wish to use this book


This free-to-students open textbook is designed to be the preparatory reading and homework for a flipped second-semester IPLS course focused on the guiding questions of “What is an Electron?” and “What is Light?” The course has five units: quantum mechanics, geometric optics, electrostatics, circuits, and magnetostatics with some electrodynamics. Each unit is also has a guiding question from biology or chemistry. For example geometric optics uses the eye and circuits the neuron. Relevant biology and chemistry is reviewed throughout using biologically authentic language from textbooks and classroom videos.

Notes on the text and links to other resources


This textbook is designed to supplement the Physics 132 – Introductory Algebra-Based Physics for Life Sciences II: What is an Electron? What is Light? course taught at University of Massachusetts Amherst. More details on the structure of the course can be found at Also at that link, you can request all of the course resources.

The homework for this course is hosted in the Edfinity homework system. The particular set of problems is available as a resource at

Please, do not hesitate to contact Brokk Toggerson, if you have questions or suggestions.

Hope you find this useful.


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Physics 132: What is an Electron? What is Light? by Roger Hinrichs, Paul Peter Urone, Paul Flowers, Edward J. Neth, William R. Robinson, Klaus Theopold, Richard Langley, Julianne Zedalis, John Eggebrecht, and E.F. Redish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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