1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Support PF! Reminder for those going back to school to buy their text books via PF Here!
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Classical An Introduction to Mechanics by Daniel Kleppner and Robert J. Kolenkow

  1. Strongly Recommend

    86.9%
  2. Lightly Recommend

    6.6%
  3. Lightly don't Recommend

    1.6%
  4. Strongly don't Recommend

    4.9%
  1. Jan 20, 2013 #1

    bcrowell

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member


    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.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2013 #2

    bcrowell

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    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 long time, I don't think there was any alternative to Kleppner and Kolenkow for a student who really wanted to know the whys and wherefores of freshman mechanics. 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. Today, however, there are many free, online alternatives to the big-budget commercial texts, and some of these do provide a level of intellectual honesty similar to K&K's. In addition, there is a recent commercial text by Morin that targets the same type of student as K&K.

    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 was originally published in 1973. McGraw-Hill kept it in print over the decades, but hiked the price outrageously and showed no interest in bringing out a new edition. Eventually the authors got the rights back from McGraw-Hill, redid the manuscript in LaTeX, made some changes, and published the 2nd edition in 2010 (37 years after the first edition!) through Cambridge University press. Cambridge brought the price way back down, which is great.

    The changes made in the second edition are good ones, but they are mostly extremely minimal, and the book still shows its age. There is no discussion of numerical integration of the equations of motion. Attempts are made to help the student check symbolic results of homework problems, 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 line art appears to have been redrawn on a computer, but is basically exactly the same.) 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.

    The book was unusual for first-semester freshman texts of its time in providing a fairly thorough introduction to special relativity. This is especially important if the students are to move on to Purcell's Electricity and Magnetism (also available in a new edition from CUP), which assumes a thorough familiarity with SR. Although the treatment of SR has been updated significantly in the second edition, to my taste it is still dreary and slavishly traditional, and compares poorly with the much nicer and more modern approach used in Morin. K&K still use the relativistic mass convention, which professional relativists stopped using ca. 1950. K&K use Einstein's 1905 axiomatization of special relativity, which to my mind reflects a century-old world-view and would be better replaced with an approach based on symmetry, as in Morin. The examples and the presentation of experimental tests of SR have essentially not been updated since the 1973 edition. For example, the old edition presented the concepts of GPS, which was being developed in the 70s. That was cool for its time, but the new edition merely sticks in the modern acronym GPS into the preexisting text. One important improvement is the elimination of ict from the four-vectors, which at least gives the book more of a feel of having been written after 1950.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2015
  4. Jan 21, 2013 #3

    atyy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    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:)
     
  5. Jan 21, 2013 #4

    WannabeNewton

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    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!
     
  6. Jan 21, 2013 #5

    atyy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    =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!
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  7. Jan 21, 2013 #6

    WannabeNewton

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Wow when did you last see it
     
  8. Jan 21, 2013 #7

    jbunniii

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    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.
     
  9. Feb 26, 2013 #8
    Re: An Introduction to Mechanics by Daniel Kleppner and Robert J. Kole

    I've been using this book to teach myself classical mechanics, and I love it!
     
  10. Feb 26, 2013 #9

    WannabeNewton

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Re: An Introduction to Mechanics by Daniel Kleppner and Robert J. Kole

    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!
     
  11. Feb 26, 2013 #10
    Re: An Introduction to Mechanics by Daniel Kleppner and Robert J. Kole

    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!
     
  12. Feb 26, 2013 #11
    Re: An Introduction to Mechanics by Daniel Kleppner and Robert J. Kole

    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?
     
  13. Feb 26, 2013 #12

    MathematicalPhysicist

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: An Introduction to Mechanics by Daniel Kleppner and Robert J. Kole

    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).
     
  14. Feb 26, 2013 #13
    Re: An Introduction to Mechanics by Daniel Kleppner and Robert J. Kole

    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.
     
  15. Apr 12, 2013 #14

    jtbell

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    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?
     
  16. Apr 12, 2013 #15

    WannabeNewton

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    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.
     
  17. Apr 29, 2013 #16

    robphy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    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.
     
  18. Jun 26, 2013 #17
    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.)
     
  19. Aug 5, 2013 #18
    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?
     
  20. Aug 13, 2013 #19

    QuantumCurt

    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    Would this be an appropriate book to use as a supplement/reference for a first semester calculus based physics course? I'm gathering that this is basically a freshmen level text, though more rigorous/advanced than books like Freedman, Tipler, Resnick etc.

    I'm starting University Physics this coming spring, and we're going to be using the Tipler book, which I've heard is great. I want some type of supplement with additional problems and more rigorous explanations though as well. Would this be a good choice?
     
  21. Aug 13, 2013 #20

    robphy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    At some schools, this text is used as the "introductory physics course" for physics majors,
    usually followed by Purcell's E&M text.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted



Similar Discussions: An Introduction to Mechanics by Daniel Kleppner and Robert J. Kolenkow
Loading...