Concise textbook for undergrad physics to be used as a reference

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Main Question or Discussion Point

I don't own undergraduate textbooks. I'm looking for a single one that works well as a reference or a refresher for various basic topics. Specifically, I'm thinking of a textbook that I could pick up when I forget some detail in an elementary topic and quickly check it out. So I don't mean one of the verbose introductory textbooks that are useful when you first learn the subjects. I think some reasonable requirements for this goal would be:
  • Not verbose.
  • Assumes all undergrad mathematical background is known (multivariable calc, lin alg, diff eqs, etc), so the derivations of equations can be concise and elegant.
  • Conceptually clear, to the point. So not only derivations, but also explanations should be concise.
  • Covers a wide range of topics, so that I can look things up in a single book. I already own some great graduate textbooks if I want to check out some advanced or specialized thing.
I'm thinking of something written in the style of Laundau Lifschitz that quickly goes through the standard introductory undergraduate themes. Can you recommend anything like that?

Thank you!
 

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  • #2
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I like Rohlf Modern physics. Modern is relative. Here is a review.
 
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Here are a few options. Check the table of contents to decide which of these is best for you.

I would suggest combining the first two, giving you a concise overview of undergraduate physics minus the astrophysics, the solid state physics, and the subatomic physics. You can get concise introductions to these missing subjects with the 3rd book.

(1) "Physics: A Student Companion" - Kirkby
https://www.amazon.com/Physics-Student-Companion-Lowry-Kirkby/dp/1904842682/&tag=pfamazon01-20

(2) "Compendium of Theoretical Physics" - Wachter, Hoeber
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1441920692/&tag=pfamazon01-20

(3) "The Physical World: An Inspirational Tour of Fundamental Physics"
https://www.amazon.com/Nicholas-Manton/dp/0198795939/&tag=pfamazon01-20

The remaining books mostly fall into the category of books you asked for but, as far as I can tell, are not as good.

"Advanced University Physics" - Rogalski, Palmer
https://www.amazon.com/Advanced-University-Physics-Second-Rogalski/dp/1584885114/&tag=pfamazon01-20

"A Review of Undergraduate Physics" - Bayman, Hamermesh
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0471816841/&tag=pfamazon01-20

"Basic Theoretical Physics: A Concise Overview" - Krey, Owen
https://www.amazon.com/dp/3642071899/&tag=pfamazon01-20

"A Complete Course on Theoretical Physics" - Lindner, Strauch
https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Cou...ndergraduate/dp/3030043592/&tag=pfamazon01-20

"Conquering the Physics GRE" - Kahn, Anderson
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1108409563/&tag=pfamazon01-20
 
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Thank you so much. It will take some time to skim through and see which ones I like best, but some already look like pretty much what I want!
 

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