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Best of the best books in your field

  1. Dec 12, 2004 #1


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    What are the best books in your field? Any field- philosophy, math, physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, psychology, history, literature, etc. Specialties too. Not just good, best. I don't really have a field :rolleyes: but I'll get this started with some suggestions.

    Math Analysis. "Principles of Mathematical Analysis" by Walter Rudin.
    Gen Physics. "Feynman Lectures on Physics" by Richard Feynman.
    QM. "Principles of Quantum Mechanics" by R Shankar.
    Computation. "Introduction to the Thoery of Computation" by Michael Sipser.
    Intro Psychology. "Psychology" by Henry Gleitman et al.
    Economics. "Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith.
    Philosophy. Complete Works of Aristotle.
    Drama. Complete Works of Shakespeare.
    Molecular Bio. "Molecular Biology of the Cell" by Bruce Alberts et al.

    BTW I haven't read all of these- yet :biggrin:
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  3. Dec 12, 2004 #2


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    I don't really think there is a best book in molecular biology. I've never really come across a good one. When I got to advanced courses in molecular endocrinology, our prof told us not to waste our money on any of the books available. The field was moving too quickly and everything was too outdated to be of any use by the time it was for sale.

    The best General Biology text I've ever come across is Campbell's. All the others I've seen aren't even a close second. I had to teach from another text once and had to keep telling the class to ignore sections of chapters because they were just plain wrong!

    In reproduction, there's a two volume beast called The Biology of Reproduction edited by Knobil and Neill. The most recent edition is currently being edited. For a single reference with well-written reviews, there's no other source even comparable. Beyond that, you just have to read the literature on your own.
  4. Dec 12, 2004 #3
    Gleitman schmeitman. Gross, baby, Gross: Psychology: the science of mind and behaviour. I know its only intro but I like it, like it, yes I do.
  5. Dec 12, 2004 #4


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    There are only a few (rather specialized) areas where I'd feel brave enough to pick one "best of the best".
    Phase Diagrams : Reines
    Physical Metallurgy : Reed-Hill
    Solid State Physics : Ashcroft & Mermin (also Kittel, if both his texts were combined)
    Vacuum Technology : Roth
    Practical Electronics : Horowitz & Hill
    1D and 2D Semiconductor Systems : Davies
    Classical Fields : Landau & Lif$hitz (PF wouldn't let me spell that right :grumpy:)
    Intermediate Level (high school/college) Physics Problems : Irodov; Thompson (for very different styles of problems)
    History of Modern Physics : Crease & Mann
    Intermediate (high school/college) Algebra : Hall & Knight

    **the following are less related to my field, but I still have strong opinions on them having read different texts in the respective areas**

    Physical Chemistry : Atkins
    Basic Micro- & Macro-Economics : Samuelson

    **this is purely from what I've heard from close sources**

    Intro Biochemistry : Lehninger
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2004
  6. Dec 12, 2004 #5


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    I've read Alberts et al was among the best. Is it also no good? Are there any great online texts or websites? Do you happen to know if any of the following are good? http://www.cellbio.com/courses.html

    Oh yes, the parts I read were excellent. Each chapter is comprehensive so you can even skip around.

    Gleitman is also intro and does IMO include irrelevant history, pictures, etc. I'll give Gross a shot. How modern is it? Does it include plenty of neurobiology and such?
  7. Dec 12, 2004 #6
    Organic Chemistry: Organic Chem by Bruice
    Modern Algebra: Abstract Algebra by Gallian
    Linear Algebra: Linear Algebra Done Right by Sheldon Axler
    Game Theory: Strategy by Joel Watson
    Combinatorics: Introductory Combinatorics by Kenneth Bogart
    Macro Economic Theory: Macro Economics by Abel and Bernanke

    Books that basically suck-

    Physical Chemistry by Robert J. Silbey (talks way over your head for an undergraduate text.)
    Linear Algebra by Otto Bretscher (atrocious use of notation. The only reason my professor said he used this text was for the problems only.)
    Inorganic Chemistry by Miessler and Tarr (relies too heavily on group theory for most concepts which professors never teach.)
  8. Dec 12, 2004 #7
    Hmm. The last edition may be 2001, but that is only old if you need the latest info i.e. its good enough for an undergrad course. If you need the latest, check psycinfo.


    Neurobiology: 'Plenty' is a relative term; it is sufficient for undergrad psych purposes IMHO, so it depends on your purposes.

    Yeah, Gleitman is form over content.
  9. Dec 13, 2004 #8

    Tom Mattson

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    Mechanics: Symon (undergrad), Goldstein (grad)
    E+M: Griffiths (undergrad), Jackson (grad)
    QM: Griffiths (undergrad), Sakurai (grad)
    Particle Physics: Griffiths (undergrad), Halzen and Martin (grad)
    QFT: Zee (It's probably not the best, but it's the most enjoyable!)
    Philosophy: Goedel, Escher, Bach by What's-His-Face
    Calculus: Larson, Hostetler, and Edwards (been teaching from it for 1.5 years, and it's the best I've seen)
    General Physics: I'll let you know when I'm done writing it. :cool:
  10. Dec 13, 2004 #9


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    I see you're a Griffiths fan ! :biggrin:
  11. Dec 13, 2004 #10

    Tom Mattson

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    If he'd written books in classical mechanics, QFT, general physics, calculus and philosophy, he'd have made a clean sweep. :wink:
  12. Dec 13, 2004 #11
    foundations of mathematical analysis - pfaffenberger/johnsonbaugh (rudin's is overrated; people need to move on from that one)
    real analysis - royden

    abstract algebra - herstein
    topics in algebra - herstein
    algebra - hungerford (NOT good for learning from but i can easily see this being a good reference)
    field theory & its classical problems - hadlock

    topology - munkres
    general topology - willard
    general topology - kelley (was going to be entitled "what every young analyst should know)

    verbal, nonberbal & written communication:
    looking in, looking out - adler, etc
    nonverbal communication in human interaction - knapp
    academic reading - giltrow
    academic writing - giltrow
    the art of graphology - bernard

    open for business: the roots of foreign ownership in canada - laxer
    not for export: towards a political economy of canada's arrested industrialization - williams
    999, 1000, 1001 questions about canada - columbo
    uncle sam & us - clarkson
    canada & the reagan challenge - clarkson

    world issues:
    killing hope - blum
    rogue state - blum
    america's achilles heel - falkenrath, etc
    rushing to armageddon - hurtig
    manufacturing consent - herman/chomsky
    globalisation & its discontents - stiglitz
    imperial brain trust - shoup/minter

    douglas hofstadter
  13. Dec 13, 2004 #12
    A book that I really like is "Observational Astrophysics", Smith, Cambridge University Press.
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