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Arfken's book worth buying?

  • Thread starter quasar987
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  • #1
quasar987
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Main Question or Discussion Point

ebay has 41 copy of 'Arken's mathematical methods for physicist 5th edition' for sale at half the amazon price. Is this book a "must-have" for physicist?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #3
quasar987
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Then what it the must-have "math for physicist" book out there?
 
  • #4
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Well did Zapperz recommend, without hesitation, that Arfken and Boas are the ideal mathematical physics textbooks.
 
  • #5
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They're not really mathematical physics books. Just mathematics for physicists. There is a difference.
 
  • #6
ZapperZ
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I recommended Boas without hesitation. I recommend Afken only for someone who already have enough mathematical sophistication. But if you're an undergrad and are becoming overwhelmed by all the math you are seeing in QM, E&M, Stat-Mech, then I recommend Boas in a heartbeat.

Zz.
 
  • #7
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I recommend Arfken. I am sill undergrad and find it is lacking in many aspects. There is very little differential geometry. I think there is no one must have book. Anyway, most books on physics have an intro with the math relevant to the subject. For example, Wald has an extensive math chapter, I think.
 
  • #8
Dr Transport
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Arfkin is an OK reference if you have got the background. Dennery & Krzywicki is a very good book, Morse and Feshbach is the series to have, but having been written in the '50's it is lacking in differential geometry and group theory. I cannot give a reference for differential geometry but I'd suggest Tinkham for group theory applied to solid state and Wu Ki Tung for coutinuous groups more in line with high energy physics.
 
  • #9
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i have arfken and also boas, and i like boas better. (i'm an undergrad.)
 
  • #10
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So did you decide yet quasar987?

Would anyone care to speculate about the differences between Boas' 2nd & 3rd edition provided they have it?

I'll assume the 3rd edition is loaded with more graphics.
 
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  • #11
quasar987
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Well I won't buy Arfken. But I won't buy Boas either cuz it's not on sale.
 
  • #12
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ZapperZ said:
I recommended Boas without hesitation. I recommend Afken only for someone who already have enough mathematical sophistication. But if you're an undergrad and are becoming overwhelmed by all the math you are seeing in QM, E&M, Stat-Mech, then I recommend Boas in a heartbeat.

Zz.

I find that Boas doesn't cover certain things in enough depth like tensors. My favourite is

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/...002-1433878-5853630?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

Check out the contents https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0521890675/?tag=pfamazon01-20

If possible take a look at a few in your library before deciding..
 
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  • #13
ZapperZ
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Baggio said:
I find that Boas doesn't cover certain things in enough depth like tensors. My favourite is

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/...002-1433878-5853630?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

Check out the contents https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0521890675/?tag=pfamazon01-20

If possible take a look at a few in your library before deciding..
But I think people are MISSING the whole point here, and especially with regards to Boas's book. Read the INTRODUCTION, and her message TO THE STUDENTS.

When you pick up a book, especially a mathematical physics text, you need to keep in mind what you want to use it for! If anyone have read the chapter of So You Want To Be A Physicist where I talked about mathematical preperations, you'll understand where I'm coming from. Boas's text is meant for undergraduates starting at the SOPHOMORE level. It is to be used so that by the time the student starts taking more advanced undergraduate classical mechanics, QM, E&M, Stat-Mech, etc., he or she would have at least SEEN the mathematics involved. Like I said, a QM class is NOT the best place in the world to hear the words "orthornormal" or "Legendre polynomial" or "Bessel function" for the very first time.

Now one can argue that the student could take all the mathematics classes required to do just that, but as a physics major, who has the time and the patience? I certainly don't! It also means that the student will have to delay taking all the "fun" classes till late in his or her undergraduate years until all the mathematics are done. I find this highly impractical.

Read the intro to the book. Figure out what it is meant for and who she is aiming the book at. Then use it according to instructions.

Zz.
 
  • #14
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ZapperZ said:
When you pick up a book, especially a mathematical physics text, you need to keep in mind what you want to use it for!
inha said:
They're not really mathematical physics books. Just mathematics for physicists. There is a difference.
Then what do you consider to be mathematical physics textbooks?
 
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  • #15
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I don't have the book but I'm interested to hear what she had written. If you don't mind and if it is not too long, would you please post her introduction?
 

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