# Calculus of variations?

1. Dec 19, 2009

### AxiomOfChoice

Can someone please tell me what the best book for learning calculus of variations is?

2. Dec 20, 2009

### Landau

At what level, for what purposes? The physical, computational way, or the mathematically rigorous way?

3. Dec 20, 2009

### AxiomOfChoice

I'd prefer the mathematically rigorous way. I first encountered calculus of variations in my graduate mechanics class, and we did a few problems with it, but I never really understood it completely. (I understand that it's one way to derive the Euler-Lagrange equations.)

Is there a text, adequate for self-study, that lays out the rigorous mathematical framework and then goes on to apply the theory to physical problems, like deriving the Euler-Lagrange equations or showing that the shortest path between two points in the plane is a straight line?

4. Dec 20, 2009

### Landau

For the computational approach I would say Goldstein has a pretty clear explanation.
https://www.amazon.com/Calculus-Variations-I-M-Gelfand/dp/0486414485 is a great classic text (Dover, cheap), see Google books to browse through it. It is theoretical, but with a lot of physics applications (and a clear lay out of Noethers theorem, which I couldn't really follow in one of my physics classes).

A more modern book is https://www.amazon.com/Calculus-Var...r_1_12?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1261346582&sr=1-12 by Jürgen Jost and another Li-Jost. This one goes deeper, using functional analysis and measure theory in the second part.

Then there's another https://www.amazon.com/Calculus-Variations-Universitext-Bruce-Brunt/dp/0387402470 (not very original names) which seems ok, but I haven't read this one.

Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
5. Dec 21, 2009

### kowalski

Tray B. Dacorogna:Introduction to the Calculus of Variations (Paperback)

Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Imperial College Press; 2 edition (December 10, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1848163347
ISBN-13: 978-1848163348

Kowalski

6. Dec 29, 2009

### Cantab Morgan

I learned to love the subject from Gelfand and Fomin.

7. Dec 31, 2009

### kowalski

Yes, Gelfand & Fomin , a fine classic. Very nice. K.