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Fundamentals of Electric Circuits. Third edition

November 24, 2006

I was not previously aware of this text and was pleasantly surprised on first encounter. It is a very accessible integration of electric circuit concepts and the mathematics that underpins them, with a strong emphasis on problem-solving and design. In their objectives, the authors state that they wish "to present circuit analysis in a manner that is clearer, more interesting, (and) easier to understand than any other text...". In this they largely succeed. Their "six-step problem-solving methodology" is excellent and their style is indeed student-friendly. There is an extensive set of problems throughout and at the end of each chapter, many of which are highly practical.

This edition claims four-colour artwork and increased use of PSpice software and the Matlab computing environment. There are extra facilities online, including McGraw-Hill's Aris (Assessment Review and Instruction System) and KCIDE (Knowledge Capturing Integrated Design Environment). Presentation is generally good, but in spite of the publisher's declared commitment to accuracy, the cover image does not match the text in the preface and there is a mistaken caption on page 457.

One example, on house wiring, highlights an ongoing complaint about the North American emphasis of a book marketed worldwide. There is another. At the start of each chapter, the authors address the professional aspects of what they are about to cover. This is highly commendable, but it refers only to the US Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology criteria.

We now have UKSpec. With the associated e-learning facilities, it should be possible to write in general terms about professional requirements and refer readers to specific national requirements on the book's website.

The authors somewhat optimistically declare this to be a two-semester book.

But for many electrical and electronic engineering students, it would serve as a valuable reference for their entire degree course and beyond.

Donard de Cogan has recently retired from the School of Computing Sciences at the University of East Anglia and is currently a member of staff at Shanghai British College.

Fundamentals of Electric Circuits. Third edition

Author - Charles K. Alexander and Matthew N. O. Sadiku
Publisher - McGraw-Hill International Edition
Pages - 960
Price - £43.99
ISBN - 0 071 10903 X

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