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Are old theoretical texts worth saving?

  1. Feb 26, 2012 #1
    I am probably in the same boat as a bunch of people. My father passed away and had a ton of texts. He was a PhD/expert in Heat Transfer, Fluid dynamics and Nuclear Engineering.

    There are some good theoretical engineering,physics,math books from the 30's 40's and 50's, some of which might still be useful to someone. He made a purge of them in the past 15 years getting rid of many of the obsolete ones. I basically don't want to dump the whole lot into the recycling.

    Can anyone think of a place to dump these that someone might be able to pick out the gems, or is it not worth my effort.

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2012 #2
    maybe give them to a library or used book store
  4. Feb 26, 2012 #3


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    You could also contact your local university's physics department - some of the grad students there might take them off your hands.
  5. Feb 27, 2012 #4
    Many old books can be priceless, but it is difficult for us to know from a general description. Your best bet would be to either find a library that wants them, or talk to a 2nd-hand bookstore that specializes in technical books.

    I guarantee that someone will be interested in them, even if they aren't worth a lot of money in bulk. Whatever you do, don't just dump them in the recycling.
  6. Feb 27, 2012 #5


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    the value of a book is proportional to the quality of the author, and has nothing at all to do with the date of publication.
  7. Feb 27, 2012 #6
    I'm actually quite enthusiastic about collecting older texts. If I inherited such a collection, I would certainly keep as much of it as possible.

    I find that some older texts are all around better and are easier to learn from (I prefer a style with less colour, graphics, blabber--straight to the point). Of course some books go out of date, but math and 'general' physics, remain basically unchanged.
  8. Feb 28, 2012 #7


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    here is a quote from Arnol'd:

    "The "obsolete" course by Hermite of one hundred years ago (probably, now thrown away from student libraries of French universities) was much more modern than those most boring calculus textbooks with which students are nowadays tormented."

    and here is the full essay:

  9. Feb 28, 2012 #8
    If you are in MA, USA ... I will pick them up :smile:
  10. Feb 28, 2012 #9
    If you're near Toronto, I'll pick them up:)
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