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Awesome textbooks

  1. Aug 17, 2014 #1

    micromass

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    We had a thread about awful textbooks recently, but what about the converse? Which textbooks do you consider to be incredibly well-written, clear and (almost) flawless. Which books do you consider to be closer to a work of art than a science book.

    It doesn't matter what topic it is or how advanced it is.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 17, 2014 #2

    AlephZero

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  4. Aug 17, 2014 #3

    ZombieFeynman

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    Altland and Simons Condensed Matter Field Theory
    Stone and Goldbart Mathematics for Physics
    Landau's Classical Mechanics (Honorable Mention for his text on Statistical Physics as well)
    French Vibrations and Waves
    Zangwill Electrodynamics
     
  5. Aug 17, 2014 #4

    WannabeNewton

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    Landau Lifshitz QM and stat mech
    Reif stat mech
    Wald GR
    MTW
    Kleppner and Kolenkow
    Gourgoulhon SR
    Griffiths electrodynamics
     
  6. Aug 17, 2014 #5
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  7. Aug 17, 2014 #6

    ZombieFeynman

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    Ugh. Reif is a decent book, but work of art it is not.
     
  8. Aug 17, 2014 #7

    atyy

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    MTW definitely doesn't belong on a list of books that are "closer to a work of art than a science book".

    MTW is a work of art. :smile:
     
  9. Aug 17, 2014 #8

    WannabeNewton

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    Then we have to agree to disagree. Reif is one of the best physics books I've ever read. It's as close as I've ever gotten to getting pure joy from reading a textbook.
     
  10. Aug 17, 2014 #9

    WannabeNewton

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    Haha no arguments there, it is definitely something to worship.
     
  11. Aug 18, 2014 #10
    Bender & Orszag is the best math methods book in my eyes.

    Pugh Real Analysis, Carothers Real Analysis, Simon & Reed FA Vol 1, Lee Topological manifolds and Janich Topology are all exceptional math texts.

    Tuckerman Stat Mech
    Kleppner CM
    Zettili Quantum Mechanics
    Sakurai Quantum Mechanics

    The two best textbooks I've ever used are actually organic chemistry texts - they are perfect:
    Clayden, Greeves, Warren, Wothers- Organic Chemistry
    Kurti, Czako - Strategic Applications of Named Reactions in Organic Synthesis
     
  12. Aug 18, 2014 #11

    micromass

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    Definitely one of my favorite books.

    The sequels are on much more esoteric topics, but really are as good. I love the various examples and counterexamples in the text.

    All of Lee's books deserve to be up there in my opinion. Some say they are too slow, and perhaps they're right, but I really like them.

    Other choices: Steen & Seebach's Counterexamples in Topology (not really a textbook though). Conway's book on operator algebra's is also exceptionally nice. The functional analysis text by Brezis also deserves to be up here. Finally, it's not really an official textbook, but these notes deserve mention: http://math.stanford.edu/~vakil/216blog/
     
  13. Aug 18, 2014 #12

    ShayanJ

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    Solid state physics
    Grosso and Parravichini

    Quantum Mechanics:An introduction
    Greiner

    Principles of optics
    Born and Wolf
     
  14. Aug 18, 2014 #13
    Considering the books of elementary mathematics, I do think that the series by Gelfand et al. are extraordinary, especially Algebra, Trigonometry, The Method of Coordinates and Functions and Graphs. Moreover, one of the first well-structured books is a classic by Euclid,The Elements, even though the original list of axioms is not exhaustive and there are some downsides in defining the primitive terms.

    My favourites are listed there.
     
  15. Aug 18, 2014 #14

    George Jones

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    I couldn't think of any books to include in your "Which textbook not to read?" thread, i.e., you convinced me that I am not critical enough.

    Now I am having difficulty thinking of books for this "Awesome texts thread", i.e., you have now convinced me that I am too critical! Maybe I am just too MOR.

    Scanning my shelves, I will say the broad and shallow pure maths book "Mathematical Physics" by Robert Geroch, and "Lectures on Quantum Theory: Mathematical and Structural Foundations" by Chris Isham. Despite its title, the latter is definitely not a pure maths book.

    Should I list a Weinberg book just to annoy someone? :wink::biggrin:
     
  16. Aug 18, 2014 #15

    atyy

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    Annoy? They are in the same league as Landau and Lifshitz, aren't they?
     
  17. Aug 18, 2014 #16

    atyy

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    There's a book that's awesome but I don't remember the title or the author. I've been trying to find out what this lost book for a long time. Anyway, the reason I remember it is that it had this story:

    The legislators of some planet decided that gravity was causing too much trouble, making things heavy to carry about. So they decided to repeal the law of gravity. Unfortunately, they forgot to also repeal the law of angular momentum conservation, so when the law was passed, everything went whizzing off the planet immediately.
     
  18. Aug 18, 2014 #17

    AlephZero

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    Depends which Weinberg you mean. These are pretty good (though the specific examples are obviously dated now): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Weinberg
     
  19. Aug 18, 2014 #18

    WannabeNewton

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    Don't you dare George! :smile:
     
  20. Aug 18, 2014 #19

    Ben Niehoff

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    Bleh, I can't stand MTW. Books I like:

    M. Nakahara, Geometry, Topology, and Physics
    Serge Lang, Fundamentals of Differential Geometry
    V. I. Arnold, Mathematical Methods of Classical Mechanics
     
  21. Aug 18, 2014 #20
    For an introductory Calculus text I recommend Anton's book. The craftsmanship lies in its pedagogical nature.

    On a similar note, I wholeheartedly agree with those who listed James Stewart on the 'other' thread :)
     
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