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Best book thread again

  1. Oct 20, 2006 #1
    Another one of those annoying best "text" threads...If you would kindly have the patience to tell me about your experiences, that would just be dandy.

    Best Quantum Text: Shankar or Sakurai?
    Best Linear Algebra Text: Axler or Friedberg?
    Best Real Analysis Text: Rudin or Royden?
    Best Electromag Text: Griffiths or Purcell or should i just move straight into Jackson?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2006 #2
    I'm reading Shankar right now and am purely amazed. Yet, I was looking at Sakurai's ToC and it looks like he's disclosing only some of the deepest concepts in QM while Shankar is very broad (and deep for that matter). So Shankar is, given my opinion, winning the contest :)
    Thanks for linear algebra texts!
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2006
  4. Oct 20, 2006 #3
    Shankar and Sakurai are pitched at different levels, Shankar being the gentler introduction, but still quite modern. Sakurai expects you've already had the standard undergrad QM course (e.g. experience solving Schroedinger's equation; familiarity with spin and angular momentum in QM). I'd start with Shankar.

    I've hardly made a survey of analysis books, but I really like the layout of
    Johnsonbaugh & Pfaffenberger (ISBN 0486421740), and it's cheap.

    For E&M, you definitely don't want to start with Jackson. Dover has a bunch of good books on E&M: Schwartz (my own favorite), Panofsky & Philips, Cook, and several others. The undergrad text we used was Nayfeh & Brussel, which is outstanding for its numerous worked examples.

    If you're not bothered about the ethics of it, you can get tons of math and physics ebooks (I've seen all the books you mention except Purcell, Royden, and Friedberg) via torrents at mininova.org. I always buy a hardcopy if I like a book anyway.
  5. Oct 20, 2006 #4
    I used Purcell and I liked it. It was the first time my teacher used Purcell, since the students the semester before didn't like Griffiths.

    I am using Axler right now and it's okay. I haven't used any other linear algebra texts before though, so I don't really have any basis for comparison.
  6. Oct 20, 2006 #5
    If you really want to start from the beginning in lin.alg I'd also recommend such tutorial. But it doesn't go very far and spends lot of time and examples on simple things.
  7. Oct 20, 2006 #6
    Axler vs Friedberg isn't a straightforward comparison. On the one hand, Friedberg covers a LOT of material, with much more exercises per topic. On the other hand, Axler's proofs are pretty nice. I like both books.
  8. Oct 25, 2006 #7


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    i have free linear algebra and alvanced algebra texts on my website.

    i am now writing aniother short phd prep book, covering same stuff as my webnotes on grqd algebra but in 1/3 the number of pages.

    my linear algebra book is 14 pages. i recommend it to any sgtrong student willing to do the exercises of filling in the proofs.
  9. Oct 25, 2006 #8
    if one goes through your linear algebra book, has he basically achieve proficiency in the subject?
  10. Oct 26, 2006 #9


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    well i wrote it and am not sure i am proficient, so maybe not, depending on what "goes through" means. if one masters it, he has learned a lot. just try it. there are no guarantees. but if one works, reads, thinks, and questions, then yes, one learns a lot.
  11. Oct 27, 2006 #10


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    i recommend ruslan sharipov's linear algebra etxt over mine. more detailed, better written, more learnable. but look at mine before and after his, to see how short i have made the main ideas look.
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