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Strongly Recommend 32 84.21%
Lightly Recommend 3 7.89%
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Strongly don't Recommend 3 7.89%
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Classical An Introduction to Mechanics by Daniel Kleppner and Robert J. Kolenkow

by bcrowell
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bcrowell
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Jan20-13, 02:21 PM
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Table of Contents:
1. Vectors and kinematics - a few mathematical preliminaries
2. Newton's laws - the foundations of Newtonian mechanics
3. Momentum
4. Work and energy
5. Some mathematical aspects of force and energy
6. Angular momentum and fixed axis rotation
7. Rigid body motion and the conservation of angular momentum
8. Noninertial systems and fictitious forces
9. Central force motion
10. The harmonic oscillator
11. The special theory of relativity
12. Relativistic kinematics
13. Relativistic momentum and energy
14. Four-vectors and relativistic invariance.
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bcrowell
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Jan20-13, 02:21 PM
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These days I teach physics for a living, but in 1982 I used this book as a freshman in an honors class. Here are some impressions from going back over the book three decades later.

For a student who really wants to know the whys and wherefores of freshman mechanics, I am not aware of any alternative to this book that is available from the traditional publishers. The big-selling texts like Halliday may carefully derive certain things, but in other cases they just pop an equation onto the page and expect the student to use it without question. However, there are many free, online alternatives these days to the big-budget commercial texts, and some of these do provide a level of intellectual honesty similar to K&K's.

There are many challenging problems that are of very high quality. The focus of these problems is on symbolic rather than numerical computation.

The book includes many topics that are not typically included in a freshman text, e.g., nutation, the moment of inertia tensor, and relativistic four-vectors.

The book is designed for highly motivated and talented students, at schools with highly selective admissions, who have already taken a rigorous high school physics course, and who have already completed about a year of calculus. It would be a disaster to try to use this book with a less highly selected population.

The book shows its age (38 years!) in many ways. It presents various examples of applications of relativity, but they are all extremely old and dusty. Masculine pronouns are used generically. There is no discussion of numerical integration of the equations of motion. Attempts are made to help the student check results of symbolic results, e.g., by giving the output for a specific input, but today this would be far better done using open-source computer software such as LON-CAPA. Diagrams show common student lab apparatus from the Sputnik era. The book predates essentially all modern pedagogical research in physics, and it does not do any of the things that that research shows can have an impact on common conceptual difficulties.

To my taste, the treatment of special relativity is dreary and slavishly traditional, with too little geometrical insight.

Although the book is overpriced, there is a used market, and since the book hasn't changed in 38 years, students can buy a used copy without worrying about compatibility.
atyy
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Jan21-13, 05:10 AM
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I came across this wonderful book in the library by chance. I had already read Halliday and Resnick then. Kleppner and Kolenkow is one of my favourite books. Right up there with the Feynman lectures. Just thinking about it makes me happy. I hope to own a copy one day:)

WannabeNewton
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Jan21-13, 05:14 AM
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An Introduction to Mechanics by Daniel Kleppner and Robert J. Kolenkow

Quote Quote by atyy View Post
I came across this wonderful book in the library by chance. I had already read Halliday and Resnick then. Kleppner and Kolenkow is one of my favourite books. Right up there with the Feynman lectures. Just thinking about it makes me happy. I hope to own a copy one day:)
Too bad you don't live near me I have an extra copy because I got one a long while back then thought I lost it had to get a new one for class then found it again and was stuck with two. Cheers =D!
atyy
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Jan21-13, 05:17 AM
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Quote Quote by WannabeNewton View Post
Too bad you don't live near me I have an extra copy because I got one a long while back then thought I lost it had to get a new one for class then found it again and was stuck with two. Cheers =D!
=D With today's price tag, I had half a mind to add "after I strike gold".

Edit: Hmm, seems to be not terrible actually at USD 45. I somehow remembered it as USD 300!
WannabeNewton
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Jan21-13, 05:42 AM
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Quote Quote by atyy View Post
=D With today's price tag, I had half a mind to add "after I strike gold".

Edit: Hmm, seems to be not terrible actually at USD 45. I somehow remembered it as USD 300!
Wow when did you last see it
jbunniii
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Jan21-13, 12:08 PM
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Quote Quote by atyy View Post
Edit: Hmm, seems to be not terrible actually at USD 45. I somehow remembered it as USD 300!
Your memory is right - it was hugely expensive in 2005 or 2006 when I first looked into getting a copy. Then it changed publishers and was down to only $75 when I bought a copy in 2010. Now it's $45 (and still in hardback), a great deal considering that many paperback textbooks cost more than that.
guitarphysics
#8
Feb26-13, 01:23 AM
P: 176
I've been using this book to teach myself classical mechanics, and I love it!
WannabeNewton
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Feb26-13, 01:27 AM
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Quote Quote by guitarphysics View Post
I've been using this book to teach myself classical mechanics, and I love it!
Some of those end of chapter exercises really make you want to rip your hair out don't they =D? I remember there was one in chapter 4, near the end, about a moving wall, a stationary wall, and a ball bouncing back and forth between the two that made me consume like 6 full cans of coke in one sitting before I got it. God this is such a good book!
guitarphysics
#10
Feb26-13, 09:01 AM
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Quote Quote by WannabeNewton View Post
Some of those end of chapter exercises really make you want to rip your hair out don't they =D? I remember there was one in chapter 4, near the end, about a moving wall, a stationary wall, and a ball bouncing back and forth between the two that made me consume like 6 full cans of coke in one sitting before I got it. God this is such a good book!
Yes, they do :), but that's one of my favorite things about this book. The problems are really original and Kleppner knows how to make you think!
mindheavy
#11
Feb26-13, 01:12 PM
P: 61
I've really been considering looking into this book. A few months ago I came across an old edition (early 60's) of Halliday & Resnick's combined Physics vol I-II. It is an enjoyable book to work through, but I often wonder if I would be getting more out of a book like Kleppner and Kolenkow's. I am a mechanical engineering student and do wish to really get a solid foundation on these topics. Any thoughts?
MathematicalPhysicist
#12
Feb26-13, 01:40 PM
P: 3,221
I used this book for a course that used Alonso and Finn, I never looked at Alonso and Finn. :-)

Though I didn't do every exercise in the book, the exercises I did do were nice and interesting.

And some still ask me questions on my posts I did on the assignments back from 2006-2007, (6-7 years :-), time passes by).
guitarphysics
#13
Feb26-13, 02:59 PM
P: 176
Quote Quote by mindheavy View Post
I am a mechanical engineering student and do wish to really get a solid foundation on these topics. Any thoughts?
I'm not sure if I'm the right person to be giving you advice because I'm only 16, but this book has given me a really thorough understanding of mechanics. I feel like a have a really good foundation on all these topics now, so my advice is to definitely get this book. However, be prepared to work hard.
jtbell
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Apr12-13, 08:23 AM
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Quote Quote by bcrowell View Post
The book shows its age (38 years!) in many ways. It presents various examples of applications of relativity, but they are all extremely old and dusty. [...]

To my taste, the treatment of special relativity is dreary and slavishly traditional, with too little geometrical insight.
Is the edition on sale now (dated 2010 on amazon.com) simply a reprint of the 1973 edition (which I have), or has it been updated?

I happened to look at its treatment of relativity just now, to see how it handles "relativistic mass." It does introduce "relativistic mass" in connection with relativistic momentum. However, in practice it almost always uses "rest mass" from that point on in derivations, examples, and exercises, usually (but not always) labeling it as m0 and identifying it as "rest mass." This is for the 1973 version; has it changed at all?
WannabeNewton
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Apr12-13, 08:27 AM
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I have the 2010 copy jtbell and it doesn't look any different from the older edition as far as I can tell. It may be my bias leaking in here but considering it's the greatest mechanics textbook ever written I doubt there was much reason to change anything in the older copy :D.
robphy
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Apr29-13, 02:42 PM
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The relativity section needs to be updated:
include spacetime and energy-momentum diagrams [instead of just "spatial" diagrams]
and
dump ict.

Except for that, it is a great textbook.
Bob Z.
#17
Jun26-13, 02:50 PM
P: 4
Please consider CLASSICAL MECHANICS by John Taylor. Check out the reviews on Amazon.com- they are phenomenal. I ordered the book recently and have gone thru the 1st 3 chapters so far. All the reviews on this textbook are true! It is EXCELLENT!
(While in college many yrs ago we were brought up with MECHANICS by Keith Symon. The problems are next to impossible to solve which can be VERY discouraging.)
dustbin
#18
Aug5-13, 11:08 AM
P: 239
Would this book be appropriate for someone that is fairly advanced mathematically (calculus on level of Apostol/Spivak, some diff. geometry, analysis 1, abstract algebra 1&2, etc.), but has never taken a physics course?


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