n. (context physics English) a study and description of properties and interactions of space, time, matter and energy in conceptual non-mathematical form with emphasis on [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_reasoning logical reasoning] in order to derive fundamental laws of nature and to derive conclusions from these laws.
Conceptual physics is a lesser mathematical approach to teaching physics. It is believed that with a strong conceptual foundation in physics, students are better equipped to understand the equations and formulas of physics, and to make connections between the concepts of physics and their everyday life.
Paul G. Hewitt popularized this approach with his textbook Conceptual Physics: A New Introduction to your Environment in 1971. In his review at the time, Kenneth Ford noted the emphasis on logical reasoning and said "Hewitt's excellent book can be called physics without equations, or physics without computation, but not physics without mathematics." Hewitt's wasn't the first book to take this approach. Conceptual Physics: Matter in Motion by Jae R. Ballif and William E. Dibble was published in 1969. But Hewitt's book became very successful. It is currently in its eleventh edition. In 1987 Hewitt wrote a version for high school students.
The spread of the conceptual approach to teaching physics broadened the range of students taking physics in high school. Enrollment in conceptual physics courses in high school grew from 25,000 students in 1987 to over 400,000 in 2009. In 2009, 37% of students took high school physics, and 31% of them were in Physics First, conceptual physics courses, or regular physics courses using a conceptual textbook.
This approach to teaching physics has also inspired books for science literacy courses, such as From Atoms to Galaxies: A Conceptual Physics Approach to Scientific Awareness by Sadri Hassani.
Usage examples of "conceptual physics".
Cassie looked dazedly at a clock and then went to her science class, conceptual physics.