text books

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text books

Postby Nick on March 5th, 2007, 10:06 am 

Since text books can be so expensive and finding good ones can be tricky I thought a topic where people could ask for/give suggestions for texts books covering all areas of physics at any level could be a handy addition to the forum.


I am currently looking for a good undergrad thermodynamics/statistical mechanics text book and would be very grateful for any suggestions.
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Postby Rettaw on March 5th, 2007, 2:46 pm 

Try asking the professor in charge of the local thermodynamics/stat mec course about it. I only know of the book I had in the thermodynamics course, and that one wasn't very good...
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Postby Nick on March 5th, 2007, 3:15 pm 

The problem is that my lecturer mentioned a couple of books, but having not actually read them himself couldn't say if they are any good. I was hoping that the good people on the physics/astro board could come together to give recommendations (even if the recommendation is to avoid it) of books they have actually had experience with.
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Postby Lincoln on March 5th, 2007, 5:28 pm 

I recommend either Reif or Kittel for undergraduate thermo.

http://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-Statistical-Thermal-Physics-McGraw-Hill/dp/0070518009/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-2936233-4112109?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173129523&sr=8-1 Reif

http://www.amazon.com/Thermal-Physics-Charles-Kittel/dp/047149030X/ref=sr_1_2/102-2936233-4112109?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173129629&sr=1-2 Kittel. (I see that he has a new book that is called "Statistical Physics")

Reif is a little more "stat" while Kittel is a little more "thermo".

If you're gutzy you can use Lifschitz book....

http://www.amazon.com/Statistical-Physics-Course-Theoretical/dp/0750633727/ref=sr_1_1/102-2936233-4112109?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173130014&sr=1-1

Like all Russian-written books, it has a "take no prisoner's" kind of feel.

It's a little tricky to recommend such books to foreign readers, as what constitutes "undergrad" is pretty country-dependent, with the European countries being a bit ahead of the US ones.

If those books are a smidge to simple, then I liked Huang's "Statistical Mechanics"
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Conceptual mathematics.

Postby PerfectCircle on April 3rd, 2007, 11:38 am 

Since it's a thread for recommending/requesting text books, I'd appreciate it if someone could recommend a text book on mathematics of quantum mechanics, focusing on the conceptual aspect of mathematics, as a tool of depiction and representation and not the strict sense of preciseness that is usually associated with mathematics.
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Postby Lincoln on April 3rd, 2007, 12:39 pm 

At what level of mastery of quantum?
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Postby Nick on April 3rd, 2007, 3:03 pm 

For mathematics I must suggest "Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences" M. Boas.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mathematical-Me ... 639&sr=8-1

This is not specifically for quantum mechanics, but I have found it useful for most areas of physics when I needed some maths background. Otherwise if your needs are more specific to quantum mechanics then I found "Quantum Mechanics" by Mandl to be a very useful introductory text.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Quantum-Mechani ... 795&sr=1-1

If your needs are for a further quantum book then I have liked what I have read so far of "Modern Quantum Mechanics" by J. J. Sakurai, though I must admit to not having covered much of it yet.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Modern-Quantum- ... 957&sr=1-1
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Postby Ximalpilli on May 31st, 2007, 7:46 am 

can smeone suggest to me an undergraduate textbook for introductory particle physics?...im a student from india and the course that im pursuing does not include particle physics as a subject...it is completely out of personal interest that i wanna start studying this...thanx
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Postby Nick on May 31st, 2007, 8:25 am 

My lecturere suggested "nuclear and particle physics" WSC Williams. I'm not a huge fan myself (of the bits i've actually read, I guess the beginning bit was too historical for my liking, I didnt get too far through it at the time), but it would be worth looking up in a library. If you dont want a text book so much, but want a nice book on particles i have been meaning to read "The particle odyssey; A journey to the heart of matter" by Close, Marten and Sutton for quite a while. That book has loads of cool particle event pictures and whatnot.
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Postby Lincoln on May 31st, 2007, 12:21 pm 

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Postby Ximalpilli on June 8th, 2007, 4:29 pm 

well....i was looking for a book which has quite a bit of mathematics and calculations in it....the theoritical results interest me!!....my dad got me this book called "Nuclear Physics", by Irving Kaplan....does anybody know about it?...and is it a good book to start off?...my father is a nuclear scientist working in NFC (Nuclear Fuel Complex), Hyderabad,India. Thanx...
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Postby Lincoln on June 8th, 2007, 11:14 pm 

Then Perkins should do. If you want fairly hard-core math, try "Halzen and Martin".

http://www.amazon.com/Quarks-Leptons-Introductory-Particle-Physics/dp/0471887412/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-4884741-9894212?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1181358808&sr=8-1

Hang onto your socks when you read it though....
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Introductory Texts

Postby realcomfy on April 16th, 2008, 2:24 pm 

I would like to find a nice introductory text to special/general relativity and quantum mechanics. I am looking for something relatively simple but above the general reader level. I have started one book called Introduction to Special Relativity by Wolfgang Rindler and it is informative and simple. I am doing the reading on my own time and not involved with a class so something where I can pretty much self-teach would be nice. Thanks
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Postby Nick on April 16th, 2008, 2:42 pm 

For a introductory (undergrad) quantum text that isn't too heavy on the maths try taking a look at Rae's "Quantum Mechanics". A relatively simple GR text may be hard to find...
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Postby smokeybob on June 19th, 2008, 7:45 am 

I'm looking for a good textbook on Hamiltonian & Lagrangian mechanics - a first course. Reccomendations?
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Postby Rettaw on June 19th, 2008, 5:17 pm 

H. Goldstein, C. Poole and J. Safko, "Classical Mechanics", 3rd edition, Pearson Education, ISBN 0-321-18897-7.

That's what we have for our first course with hamiltonian and lagrangian mechanics anyway.
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Mathematical Methods of Modern Physics

Postby realcomfy on June 24th, 2008, 3:04 pm 

Can anyone suggest a book discussing the mathematical methods used in modern physics courses?
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Postby Nick on June 24th, 2008, 9:37 pm 

I like Mary Boas' book. If memory serves it, along with many others, is entitle "mathematical methods for the physical sciences" or some such...
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Postby Lincoln on June 25th, 2008, 1:38 am 

It depends on if you mean "Modern Physics" to mean "physics of early quantum and relativity" or "a new book." A quantum/relativity book is one thing. If you just need mathematical techniques in general, Arfken is pretty good.
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Postby realcomfy on June 26th, 2008, 8:30 pm 

Lincoln wrote:It depends on if you mean "Modern Physics" to mean "physics of early quantum and relativity" or "a new book." A quantum/relativity book is one thing. If you just need mathematical techniques in general, Arfken is pretty good.


Well I should start with the basics, so I would say anything treating cutting edge techniques would be a little advanced for me. Generally I am just looking to exercise some new math techniques related with modern scientific study.
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Postby Nick on June 27th, 2008, 1:58 am 

Boas will cover everything you need for the first couple of years of undergrad and some more.

Actually, as a slight anecdote, one day we had a fire alarm go off in physics and one of my lecturers made sure to grab his copy of Boas on the way out along with his notebooks....
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Postby Rettaw on June 28th, 2008, 10:23 pm 

was there any smoke visible, because if it wasn't I'd be dissapointed if you left anything at all behind, books are expensive you know, and you never know when you'll need a notebook to write in.
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Re:

Postby linford86 on May 19th, 2009, 12:25 am 

Lincoln wrote:I recommend either Reif or Kittel for undergraduate thermo.


Seriously? Really? .................. Lincoln, I have to ask, why do physics professors always think that Kittel is a good book? We were assigned that atrocious piece of pestilence and the result was my inability to learn statistical mechanics. I can honestly tell you that every student to come out of my undergraduate institution who used Kittel did not actually learn the subject. At all. We were graded on a curve so it basically ended up being whoever could guess the best on the final achieved the maximum score. This poor text book was coupled with a teacher who barely spoke English and, if you understood what he said, also refused to explain anything that he wrote on the board. It was such a dauntingly confused exposition. Now if a better text book had been chosen (something like what it would have been like had Griffiths written a thermo/stat mech book) then I would have actually been able to learn the subject from the book. But, unfortunately, a combination of a poor professor and a poor textbook gives an even poorer experience for the student.

Now, for whatever reason, I chose to pursue soft condensed matter. Which means that I'm going to have to teach myself a great deal of statistical mechanics in order to succeed both in my discipline and in the graduate level stat mech course. Don't get me wrong; I think that statistical mechanics is one of the most beautiful subjects in physics. I'm just frustrated that I had such a bad experience with undergrad stat mech.

Perhaps the reason that Kittel is assigned so often that it is a useful review book after you've learned the subject. When I go back and look at the book, in those sections which I have taught myself from other sources, I am suddenly able to understand what Kittel is saying. But when I read those sections which I have not learned from any other source, I am left mystified. So, the book must look awfully clear when you already know the subject in and out. Unfortunately, for a new comer to the discipline, it's the most opaque textbook I've had any experience with.

I know that Kittel also wrote a solid state textbook. I'd hate to have to plow through that madness.
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Re: text books

Postby Nick on May 19th, 2009, 2:58 am 

I read Kittel's solid state book while doing a distance course last year. I actually used two books for that course (along with a single handout from the lecturer which may as well have been written with a red crayon). I do recall that one of the books seemed fairly useless while the other got most of the use. I cannot actually recall which was which though. Let's say there's a 50% chance that Kittel's solid state isn't bad.
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Re: text books

Postby linford86 on August 27th, 2009, 10:19 am 

Nick wrote:I read Kittel's solid state book while doing a distance course last year. I actually used two books for that course (along with a single handout from the lecturer which may as well have been written with a red crayon). I do recall that one of the books seemed fairly useless while the other got most of the use. I cannot actually recall which was which though. Let's say there's a 50% chance that Kittel's solid state isn't bad.


I can guarantee you that Kittel was the bad one. I don't know anyone who took undergrad stat mech with me that actually likes that book. In fact, it was so bad, that I'm sitting in on the undergrad course at my grad school.
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Re: text books

Postby gost on August 5th, 2011, 10:02 am 

I think for your course thomas grafit is the best book at you level.
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Re: text books

Postby dady551 on July 9th, 2013, 4:32 am 

mate you can find good free books related to your courses in following websites
http://www.4shared.com

http://www.filecrop.com
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Re: text books

Postby Hendrick Laursen on January 25th, 2015, 9:37 am 

OpenStax College provides free Books.

They have some for physics but I've not seen them.

But their "Anatomy and Physiology" and "Concepts of Biology" are good enough to read. At least they're free.
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