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Books on complex variables

  1. Jun 24, 2013 #1
    As an electrical engineering student can learning about complex variables be beneficial to me? If so can someone recommend an introductory book that I can read on my own? Also I have very little experience working with complex variables.
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  3. Jun 24, 2013 #2


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    Learning can be complex variables be very beneficial to you. Many things are beneficial to learn unfortunately we have so little time to learn them. When choosing a book experience working with complex variables is unimportant compared to experience with mathematics in general. My favorite introductory book is Complex Analysis by Serge Lang, besides being a good book in general it is written with students with minimal background in mind and the goal of greatly increasing their knowledge. That said if want something lighter you might start with an engineering math book (most of which have an introduction to complex variables), something like Complex Variables and Applications by James Brown and Ruel Churchill or Applied Complex Variables John W. Dettman. I also highly recommend Visual Complex Analysis by Tristan Needham for getting a conceptual understanding.
  4. Jun 24, 2013 #3
    Thank you for the recommendations. I found all the books on pdf except for Applied Complex Variables John W. Dettman. I am currently reading a book on differential equations, linear algebra, and I'll choose from one of the books you recommended. Are there any other math fields that you can think of that will be beneficial?
  5. Jun 24, 2013 #4
    If you're looking for inexpensive books to study from, try Schaum's Outline of Complex Variables (2nd edition) and Complex Variables: Harmonic and Analytic Functions by Francis J. Flanigan.

    I found these both way better than the Brown and Churchill book!
  6. Jun 24, 2013 #5


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    ^Did you find Flanigan hard? As I recall it is between Churchill and Ahlfors which I only recommend as a punishment. I am lukewarm on Brown and Churchill, but it is pretty good, famous, easier than Lang, and much better than Snaff and Snider. I have the first edition of Schaum's Outline of Complex Variables, I don't know how much is changed. It is more of a supplement, but it has some good things.

    I am not in electrical engineering. I hear a lot of math can be useful there. Are you only interested in math commonly used in electrical engineering? Many electrical engineers (unless they are learning for fun) only learn the basics of each topic or what they know will be useful for their specialty area. Some mathematics commonly used includes

    Linear Algebra
    Discrete Mathematics
    Graph Theory
    Group Theory
    Information Theory
    Numerical Analysis
    Ordinary Differential Equations
    Complex Variables
    Digital Signal Processing
    Partial Differential Equations
    Fourier Analysis
    Integral Transforms
    Green's Functions
    Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos
    Control theory
    Manifolds and Differential Geometry

    One amusing book I read a part of recently that I assume would be of interest to electrical engineers is Dyadic Green Functions in Electromagnetic Theory by Chen-To Tai.
  7. Jun 24, 2013 #6


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  8. Jun 24, 2013 #7
  9. Jun 24, 2013 #8


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    There are a lot of illegal copies of books floating around. I would make sure you have a legal copy
  10. Jun 24, 2013 #9
    I got mine from scribd.com
  11. Jun 24, 2013 #10


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    Fredrik, if you think the older editions are equivalent, used copies can be found for little money:


    I have looked through the first edition and it seemed to be a great book, but I haven't worked through it in detail. Looks much better than the required book (Priestley) for the class I took!

  12. Jun 24, 2013 #11


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    Probably not legal. Why not get it from a library ?
  13. Jun 24, 2013 #12
    Complex variables are critical for electrical engineering, not just beneficial.

    I like "Complex Variables and the Laplace Transform for Engineers" by Wilbur R. LePage.

    The Dover edition is not very expensive.

    It's not an introductory book, but it will serve well in the long term and requires no more fundamentals than an electrical engineering student would have in the 3'rd year.
  14. Jun 25, 2013 #13
    I pay for the website
  15. Jun 25, 2013 #14
    Just to make it clear. Scribd charges for usage. The content is uploaded by normal people. If you got saff and snider from scribd it is definitely an illegal copy. In fact, I hardly see any ebook that is legal in scribd. You are paying but it is not going to the authors / publishers. It is not different from buying pirated DVDs and CDs.
  16. Jun 29, 2013 #15
    Can someone recommend a good book on vectors. I would like to have a better understanding of vectors because I'm assuming a good understanding on vectors could be very beneficial???

  17. Jun 29, 2013 #16


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    a good understanding of vectors is essential for an electrical engineer (or any engineer, for that matter). What exactly is your background? I would think by the end of your freshman year of an electrical engineering program you would be fluent in vector algebra at the very least, and have seen it used in math and intro physics. You should know this stuff WAY before you worry about complex variables!!!!!!

  18. Jun 29, 2013 #17
  19. Jun 30, 2013 #18
  20. Jun 30, 2013 #19


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    It sounds like you are done with vectors. There are many options now.

    One option is Kreysig - Differential Geometry, it looks pretty interesting. According to the preface, it investigates curves and surfaces in space and, in doing so, introduces and uses tensor calculus.

    Another option if you have real analysis experience is Gelfand & Fomin - Calculus of Variations, should also be interesting.

    If you want applied vector analysis, perhaps Shadowitz - The Electromagnetic Field would work.

    I chose these topics because they seem to deal with areas where vector math is applied or because they are about analysis of vector functions.
  21. Jun 30, 2013 #20
    I've taken up to calc 3, differential equations, and linear algebra. I was introduced to vectors in my physics courses and calc 3.
    Would I be wasting my time reading about vectors? Or should I invest my time in another math subject?
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