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Good book on conservative fields?

  1. May 23, 2010 #1
    I am currently in calculus based undergraduate physics. I have questions that I can't seem to find answers to in my textbook. Can anyone suggest a really good book about the nature of conservative fields (gravity, electrostatic, etc) and the related math? I'm already done with the vector calculus sequence, so some heavy math isn't too scary. It seems that the vector calc sequence only ever did completely theoretical problems. The physics book doesn't go into much detail at all with the math.
    Last edited: May 23, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. May 26, 2010 #2
    there is no mathematical difference between the conservative fields in vector field (math) and those in physics...

    any text that covers multidimensional calculus should do fine. or google
  4. May 26, 2010 #3
    First, thanks for replying!

    I don't think that the problem is my textbooks, they are really good. I think that I'm the problem. I don't have problems with doing the math, I just have a problem with doing the physics that relates to the math. I know that sounds weird.

    I think that part of the problem is that I hadn't taken any physics courses when I completed the multi-variable maths, and I'd like something to work with to understand the physics better. Some sort of applied math book perhaps? I have several calculus books (Stewart, Anton, Rogawski, one more but I can't remember the author). Just seems that the application sections are lacking in the physics problems. Usually they don't even bother to include units, since they are more concerned about teaching calculus.

    My physics book doesn't really look at things from a realistic point of view (almost all problems are set up to cancel out half the problem when vectors are considered, for instance). Which is great as far as learning how to do the physics. I just want to know more about the relationship between the conservative forces and the potential fields.

    I'm not saying that a book that used more complicated examples would be better (I'm sure those are easy to find!) After doing a problem that (using my earlier example) cancels out everything in the y-direction, doing a problem that didn't have the y-direction cancel would just be practice/busy work.

    In short, I'm new to physics, and I would definitely like to understand it better. I completely understand if I'm putting the cart before the horse in wanting to know about these things so early on in my class sequence.
  5. May 26, 2010 #4
    Update - I just ordered the Feynman Lectures, hopefully they will help. I have a feeling they might be over my head, but I'm willing to give it a shot. I'm doing well in my classes as far as grades go, just wanting to learn something that is bugging me.
  6. May 26, 2010 #5
    Also, in the few days until the books arrive in the mail, I'm going to take your advice and go back through my calc. books again to see if I can't gain any more insight from those.
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