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Calculus-based physics textbooks.

  1. Nov 6, 2013 #1
    I am looking for a rigorous-calculus based introductory physics textbook with very good conceptual presentations. I would like one that provides mathematical derivations and proofs for the formulas and equations using calculus. I have a calculus based textbook, but it is severely lacking. The book is Wolfson's essential university physics and from a student's perspective, I would say most of the chapters are incomplete. I've been searching around and I have found two books that I am looking to buy. The first is Fundamental of Physics by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker; 9th edition. The latter is University Physics by Young and Freedman; 12th edition. The reason I want a new textbook is because I cannot grasp ideas unless I read, study, derive/prove, and practice physics. I am a self-learner and I cannot learn simply by looking or listening someone else do physics, namely, my professor. I have seen and skimmed through the inside of these books and they both look good. However, I have not read them thoroughly. Does anyone have a suggestion or advice on which book I should get? Other book recommendations are also welcomed.

    P.S. I probably won't get the newest edition. I will probably get one that's one or two editions old.
    P.P.S. Thanks in advanced! :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 6, 2013 #2
    An Introduction to Mechanics by Daniel Kleppner and Robert J. Kolenkow, Vibration's and Waves by A.P. French, Optics by Eugene Hecht, An Introduction to Thermal Physics by Daniel V. Schroeder, and Introduction to Electrodynamics by David J. Griffiths. Those should cover the bulk of intro physics
  4. Nov 6, 2013 #3


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    You're comparing lots of books that are basically the same book. If you want something that's actually different for freshman mechanics, possibilities would include Kleppner and Kolenkow or the Feynman lectures.

    None of this has anything to do with picking a textbook.
  5. Nov 18, 2013 #4
    I totally agree with bcrowell in that most of the books you mentioned are nearly identical. The list given by Phizkid is good, although only Kleppner and French are at an intro level. For E&M I highly recommend Electricity and Magnetism by Purcell (especially the 3rd edition revised by David Morin. Morin's book on mechanics is also great, perhaps consider using it alongside kleppner).
  6. Nov 21, 2013 #5


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    There is a second edition of Kleppners book coming out, you can preorder on amazon if you don't mind waiting till the end of the year. FoP with walker is a good reference book for equations, but it isn't going to be of much use for conceptual understanding. We used that book in my intro to physics series, its okay, but it's not very rigorous or conceptual. Physics 4th edition, with H&R&Krane I like a bit better, volume's 1 and two cover intro physics. Feynman lectures are great for conceptual ideas.

    Also, don't buy the latest edition of FoP, you'll pay a lot more money for something that is basically the same as the previous edition.

    Tripler also has a book close to FoP, which is decent again as a reference but not really what you're looking for.

    Morins book might be a bit much, depending on where you're at with things.

    In all reality though, you should seek to pick your professors brain to help make the connections you seem to be having trouble with.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
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