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Classical Mechanics : Taylor or Morin?

  1. Jun 6, 2013 #1
    My requirements are :

    - Text should be at an undergrad level (I will be starting my 2nd year soon).
    - Should contain a large number of solved examples, but not many questions (I would like the questions to be of good quality though, so that I don't have to choose which questions to solve).

    So which book do you guys recommend? I've heard that Morin and Taylor are the ones at my level ; but if you have some other names, please let me know. Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2013 #2

    WannabeNewton

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    If you want a lot of difficult but very instructive problems then go with Morin. He has a slew of worked problems with solutions as well as "homework" problems which don't have solutions. The 4 star problems can get quite insane though.
     
  4. Jun 7, 2013 #3
    Is Morin easy to understand though? I read on Amazon reviews that people found his explanations of the subject weren't as good as Taylor's ; no point in me attempting difficult questions when I can't even understand the subject, right?

    Are the problems in Taylor of a good level? (they don't need to be insanely hard, just..practical/intuitive). Does it have solved examples?
     
  5. Jun 7, 2013 #4

    WannabeNewton

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    I found Morin to be perfectly understandable. He proves everything and doesn't "baby" the reader. Taylor is a great text too but the problems are nowhere near as hard as the ones in Morin and as such not as instructive as far as mechanics goes. And yes Taylor has a few worked examples per chapter. At this level of physics, I personally found that doing hard problems (which is what Morin has) provided a much better way of understand the subject than reading through excessively wordy discussions (which is what Taylor has) supplemented by "not so hard" problems.
     
  6. Jun 7, 2013 #5
    I checked out some of the questions of Morin (from previews), and I realized that I'm not quite at it's level yet ; plus the number of questions is far beyond how much I shall be able to attempt due to time constraints. I'll be ordering Taylor ; maybe after I'm through with it I'll attempt questions from Morin. Thanks for the help!
     
  7. Jun 7, 2013 #6

    WannabeNewton

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    You'll be fine either way. They are both great texts. And yes the number of problems can be quite daunting-you never know how many to do and which to do. His new revision of Purcell's classic EM text has the same issue but it's a minor issue I guess compared to the rewards you can potentially reap from doing the problems. All in all, good luck with your studies!
     
  8. Jun 7, 2013 #7
    Well it turns out the store didn't have Taylor - so I'll be getting Morin instead. A little apprehensive about the large number of questions, but here goes!
     
  9. Jun 7, 2013 #8

    verty

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    Here is one method, do every second or third question. If you get stuck, do the latest one you skipped. Rinse and repeat.
     
  10. Jun 12, 2013 #9
    get Morin for questions and Taylor for explanations :D
    or you can ask your professor.
     
  11. Jun 12, 2013 #10
    Too bad because Taylor is great imo, and he has answers to some questions in the back of the book so you can check your work.
     
  12. Jun 13, 2013 #11
    I've done Taylor completely and I loved it. That being said, every chapter from the calculus of variations and beyond can be a textbook or several, but of course it's an introduction. I need to check out Morin after reading these comments.
     
  13. Jun 13, 2013 #12
    Morin is better in my opinion. The questions are way better, and I think his explanations worked better for me than Taylor.

    The biggest thing is the questions, Taylor's questions are so horrible, it's difficult to know if you actually understood the chapter.

    Taylor's chapter on Lagrangian mechanics was pretty terrible, I must say. If I had to chose one, I'd go with Morin.
     
  14. Jun 13, 2013 #13
    I'm into my 4th chapter of Morin right now - and the problems are damn difficult for me. I can attempt only the 1* or 2* problems. The 3* and 4* I attempt but get no where and end up looking at the solution.

    Still, the questions are pretty interesting.
     
  15. Jun 13, 2013 #14

    WannabeNewton

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    Don't rip your hair out too much! The 3* and 4* problems (especially the 4* problems) can be extremely difficult for just about anyone. I still have trouble with a good number of them but struggling is the best way to learn. Did you try problem 2.8 (the one about the hanging chain-the catenary). That problem was beyond brutal using Newton's laws. Thankfully the calculus of variations gives a much more elegant solution.
     
  16. Jun 13, 2013 #15
    Yes I remember that question - I was unable to do the first part but the 2nd (and easier part I guess) was okay.

    Just curious, is Morin considered to be at an undergraduate level or higher than that? I'm wondering what kind of insane questions do actual graduate books (like Goldstein) have!
     
  17. Jun 13, 2013 #16

    WannabeNewton

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    It is an undergraduate 2nd year text; it is used primarily at Harvard. I have personally found that textbook based physics problems get much easier the higher up you go in physics (with the exception of some textbooks which can just have god awful tedious problems like Jackson). The problems in Morin's classical mechanics, Kleppner's classical mechanics, and Purcell&Morin's EM are the hardest I've personally encountered, as far as physics and physical subtleties go (i.e. ignoring the level of difficulty of the mathematics involved in higher level physics problems) in all the various physics books I've used/seen (not just restricted to mechanics and EM and not just restricted to undergraduate level).
     
  18. Jun 13, 2013 #17
    So at universities like Harvard students have the option of taking more than 1 Mechanics course? One in their first year, and then another in their 2nd? At my university we only had 1 semester of Mechanics in our 1st year, and that too the part of Mechanics which does not contain Lagrangian and onwards (I don't know what it's called - Newtonian Mechanics, maybe?).

    It makes me feel better about myself knowing that Morin's questions are one of the toughest experience by you - like I said earlier, my attempt-without-peeking-at-the-solutions percentage must be terrible. I really need to improve.
     
  19. Jun 13, 2013 #18

    WannabeNewton

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    At pretty much every university I know of where a physics bachelors is offered, you take one semester of introductory mechanics and one semester or two semesters of intermediate mechanics. Harvard uses Morin for intermediate mechanics whereas many other universities use Taylor. At various universities students also have the option of taking extra mechanics classes e.g. introductory graduate level ones that use Goldstein.

    Try not to look at the solutions if you can't figure out a problem. I've found that many grad physics books don't come with solutions so you don't want to get used to relying on solutions manuals (they won't help you learn even in the least bit-just use them to check your answer or peek at small parts to get a nudge/hint). If you get stuck you can always just ask for help on the forum. It's what I did (and still do).
     
  20. Jun 13, 2013 #19
    At the University of Toronto we cover a single semester of mechanics in first year. I used Knight 2nd. edition and I believe that is still the introductory text.

    There is a second year course in mechanics that covers material similar to the first year class but in greater depth and at a higher level. We used Morin here. I personally found the 3 and 4 star problems very challenging and was often unable to solve them. Our professor told us that we should expect only 1 and 2 star problems and that we would expect 2 star problems to be "challenging but possible" given the scope of the class. We supplemented Morin with Vibrations and Waves - I forget the author.

    In third year UofT offers Advanced Classical Mechanics and the required text is Landau and Lifgarbagez which I found to be challenging and very, very concise (but also strangely appealing).
     
  21. Jun 13, 2013 #20

    WannabeNewton

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    This seems to be the general consensus. It is quite a hard book but very rewarding I must say. Classical mechanics is very fun under Morin's textbook. But seriously some of those problems are just sadistic.
     
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