Any engineer's/physicist's holy grail for maths and physics essentials

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In summary: Mathematical Methods for Physicists" by Arfken, Weber, and Harris is a book that could be helpful for someone studying aerospace engineering. It covers a broad range of mathematics, from high school level to theoretical physics. The problems in the book are excellent and can be used to reinforce concepts learned in other courses. It is a book that is commonly used in undergraduate and graduate physics courses.
  • #1
greg_rack
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Hi guys,

Next year I'll be studying aerospace engineering, and I'm wondering if it exists that one book anyone should have, in this field, to orient best in the various courses and keep track of fundamental constants, concepts, theorems formulas(plane and solid geometry, algebra, etc.), both of mathematics and physics.

I don't know if I'm asking too much, but it would be great to have such a trusted book to walk me through the huge amount of information I'm going to be asked to learn and understand during the next few years.

Thank y'all in advance for any suggestions,

Greg.
 
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  • #2
At my university both engineering and physics majors had to take specialized math classes (after taking multi-variable calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra) to prepare them for their upper level courses.

We used “Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences” by Mary L. Boas for undergrad.

In my grad physics program we used “Mathematical Methods for Physicists” by Arfken, Weber, and Harris.

Our very own @Orodruin published a similar textbook to AWH. I haven’t read this text but I am intrigued. I may have to nab a copy.

https://www.routledge.com/Mathemati...-and-Engineering/Blennow/p/book/9781138056886
 
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  • #3
Hi, actually I don't know well about aerospace engineering (sounds cool though), but I have a maths book that I would definitely recommend to anybody doing an undergraduate or graduate course in science or engineering.

"Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering" by K. F. Riley, M. P. Hobson and S. J. Bence

The book covers a very broad spectrum of maths, starting from what's at the boundary between high school and university levels, going up to what's used in theoretical physics courses. The problems are extraordinarily well made.

This book is one of the popular three along with Boas and Arfken which PhDeezNutz mentioned :) Especially it is a highly recommended text in Oxford and Cambridge physics courses.
 
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I am not familiar with them, but there are also engineering mathematics texts. A quick look at amazon shows authors like Kreyszig, O’Neill, Zill, Stroud ...

You should look at the TOC’s to make sure that the topics you need are covered.

As a side note, while you don’t necessarily need the latest edition, things have been added and subtracted over time from many of these books.
 
  • #5
Books are expensive. I would be careful about buying them until you are at least a little bit into the subject at hand. See if you can read them in the library before you buy them.

It's a bit heretical, but often the best book is the one that you had to use in your course work, just because you are familiar with it. Even if it isn't the "best" one. Then if/when you need it, look for additional or supplemental books. There are several books I bought as an undergrad that I never really used. Part of what I learned was what areas of technology I was most interested in. Even within those areas, just because someone else said a book was great, doesn't mean you'll like it or actually use it.

Also, ask the profs in your subject area. They should know the books and how they relate to your coursework. They should know the missing bits of the curriculum or the next stuff.
 
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Thank y'all for your precious suggestions!
I'll treasure those. Thanks again :)
 
  • #7
As an engineering student, I was interested only in how the fundamentals could be applied to solving physical and chemical problems. "Why do things behave that way?" was never on my list of priorities.
 

Related to Any engineer's/physicist's holy grail for maths and physics essentials

1. What is the "holy grail" for engineers and physicists in terms of math and physics?

The "holy grail" for engineers and physicists is a unified theory that can explain all of the fundamental forces and laws of the universe in a single, elegant framework. This theory is often referred to as the "Theory of Everything" and is the ultimate goal of many scientists.

2. Why is a unified theory considered the holy grail for engineers and physicists?

A unified theory would allow us to understand and predict the behavior of the universe on a fundamental level, leading to advancements in technology and our understanding of the world around us. It would also provide a deeper understanding of the connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena.

3. What are some of the challenges in developing a unified theory?

One of the main challenges is that the laws of physics at the smallest scales (quantum mechanics) and the largest scales (general relativity) seem to be incompatible. Additionally, there is currently no experimental evidence to support any proposed unified theories, making it difficult to test and refine these theories.

4. Are there any promising theories or approaches to achieving a unified theory?

There are several theories and approaches that have been proposed, such as string theory, loop quantum gravity, and supersymmetry. However, none of these theories have been fully developed or proven, and there is still much debate and research being done in this field.

5. How close are we to achieving a unified theory?

It is difficult to say how close we are, as it is a complex and ongoing area of research. Some scientists believe that we may never fully achieve a unified theory, while others are optimistic that we will eventually find a solution. The discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 was a significant step towards a unified theory, but there is still much work to be done.

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