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Arfken's book worth buying?

  1. Aug 26, 2005 #1

    quasar987

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    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?
     
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  3. Aug 26, 2005 #2

    Gokul43201

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  4. Aug 27, 2005 #3

    quasar987

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    Then what it the must-have "math for physicist" book out there?
     
  5. Aug 27, 2005 #4
    Well did Zapperz recommend, without hesitation, that Arfken and Boas are the ideal mathematical physics textbooks.
     
  6. Aug 27, 2005 #5
    They're not really mathematical physics books. Just mathematics for physicists. There is a difference.
     
  7. Aug 27, 2005 #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.
     
  8. Aug 27, 2005 #7
    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.
     
  9. Aug 27, 2005 #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.
     
  10. Aug 27, 2005 #9
    i have arfken and also boas, and i like boas better. (i'm an undergrad.)
     
  11. Aug 28, 2005 #10
    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.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2005
  12. Aug 28, 2005 #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.
     
  13. Aug 29, 2005 #12

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

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

    Check out the contents http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/052...878-5853630?_encoding=UTF8&p=S006#reader-link

    If possible take a look at a few in your library before deciding..
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2005
  14. Aug 29, 2005 #13

    ZapperZ

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    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.
     
  15. Aug 29, 2005 #14
    Then what do you consider to be mathematical physics textbooks?
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2005
  16. Aug 29, 2005 #15
    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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