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Studying Best physics books

  • Thread starter student85
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I thought this would be a good place to ask for your opinions on some of the best physics books youve read. Stephen Hawking?
What some other more theoretical writings, like Newtons or Einsteins works for example?
 
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student85 said:
I thought this would be a good place to ask for your opinions on some of the best physics books youve read. Stephen Hawking?
What some other more theoretical writings, like Newtons or Einsteins works for example?
I think it would be better if you specified which branch of physics and "best" in which sense.
 
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There already are some threads on this subject under Academic Guidance -> Science Book Reviews (the database seems to be freaking out right now, though.)
 
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Textbooks. Don't waste your time with popular books.
 
I think "An Introduction to Mechanics" by Kleppner is good.
 
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Ridley, Space, Time and Things. Useful pop-sci discussion of
some fundamental physical concepts.

Feynman Lectures on Physics

Schwartz, Principles of Electrodynamics. I took the usual
Jackson course, but this is where I really learned E&M.

Fermi, Thermodynamics. And this is the one that really taught
me thermo.

French, Newtonian Mechanics

Taylor & Wheeler, Spacetime Physics. (The old red paperback
edition that had all the problems worked out in the back.)

Rindler, Relativity: Special, General, Cosmological. Really
strong on intuition. A bit weak on tensors.

Ohanian, Gravitation and Spacetime. He works out the
linearized equations for GR based on heuristic arguments, allowing him
to cover a lot of physics before dumping Riemannian geometry in your
lap.

Mermin, Space and Time in Special Relativity. He rewrote this
as It's About Time.

Fowles, Analytical Mechanics, 3rd ed.. I really liked the uncomplicated
approach when using this for background reading in my graduate
mechanics course.

Landau & Lifschitz, Mechanics. Elegant as always. The book to
remind you that classical mechanics is beautiful, not just a grind.

Gasiorowicz, Quantum Physics. This was my undergrad text, so
there may be an element of nostalgia here. Reviewing it now, I like
the no-nonsense approach, find it very strong on showing you how to do
calculations, but perhaps a little weak on stressing some
fundamentals (they're there, but would probably slide past the uninitiated).

Schwinger, Quantum Mechanics: Symbolism of Atomic Measurements.
An amazing book. He works out the algebra of the Dirac formalism
inductively using Stern-Gerlach type experiments. This gives you a
strong feeling for the physical meaning of the mathematics. And
that's just the first 80 pages or so, there's lots of fascinating
stuff here. He also works out all the calculations in great detail.
I'm sure it would have been even better if Schwinger had lived to
finish it himself, but it's still very readable.


Spiegel, Mathematical Handbook. Everyone needs this.
 
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Daverz said:
Gasiorowicz, Quantum Physics. This was my undergrad text, so
there may be an element of nostalgia here. Reviewing it now, I like
the no-nonsense approach, find it very strong on showing you how to do
calculations, but perhaps a little weak on stressing some
fundamentals (they're there, but would probably slide past the uninitiated).
Terrible book. Half it is put online, and it's absolutely gaunt compared to other more comprehensive texts. Completely glosses over many fundamental derivations. Avoid at all costs.
 
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Guillochon said:
Terrible book. Half it is put online, and it's absolutely gaunt compared to other more comprehensive texts. Completely glosses over many fundamental derivations. Avoid at all costs.
It's not too popular on Amazon, either. Oh, well. I still like it for my own review (this is the first edition, by the way; I haven't seen the later editions).

If I were teaching undergrad QM, I'd probably use Shankar.

Another book I forgot to mention was

Chester, Primer of Quantum Mechanics, which does a really nice job explaining the meaning of the Dirac formalism.
 
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I think Einstein 1905 by John S. Rigden was good =/ even if it is just an outline of what einstein accomplished in 1905, its not very complex so its good for the less educated, like me
 

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