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Good book on mechanics?

  1. Jan 19, 2009 #1
    I'm wondering if anyone has any tips on a good book on mechanics? I'm not too knowledgable in physics, but I do have a good grounding in calculus and linear algebra.

    Best regards,
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 19, 2009 #2
    Re: Mechanics?

    What level of mechanics?
    If you need basics, use books such as the Feynman Lectures, Berkeley intro course, AP French, Symon. (Except for Symon, I have used the other 3 at some point of time. They are all good resources.)

    If you are looking for more advanced, look into Goldstein or Landau and Lifgarbagez. These are the standard texts being used.

    You might want to go through some of the other links here which provide material for free.

    Richard Fitzpatrick - Classical Dynamics

    Leonard Susskind - Classical Mechanics

    MIT OCW - Mechanics

    Search PF. There are lots of great resources.
  4. Jan 20, 2009 #3
    Re: Mechanics?

    I'm assuming you know basic physics at least (e.g. a freshman/sophmore course in calculus-based physics). Then I'd recommend Fowles/Cassiday "Analytical Mechanics" or Marion/Thornton "Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems." These are the standard text for upper level physics students.

    Goldstein and Landau/Lifgarbagez are graduate level text and are usually difficult if you don't have previous physics training.
  5. Jan 20, 2009 #4
    Re: Mechanics?

    You're both right, I have some notion of mechanics but I haven't read a lot. I've studied Spivak's book on calculus and both of Courant's books, so my math is solid.I'm looking for a book that's good for a bright undergrad to read in mechanics. So far, your recommendations seems wonderful. If you have anything else in mind that could fit me, please tell!

    Best regards,
  6. Jan 22, 2009 #5
    Re: Mechanics?

    Although you haven't given much indication as to what level textbook you're looking for (you said "undergrad"), I'm going to assume your prerequisites in physics are rather minimal.

    If so, I suggest Kleppner's Introduction to Mechanics. Despite its title, the book is rarely used as a first course in Mechanics and is instead implemented in honors physics sequences at univeristies. But it is indeed great for self study (as I can attest) because many of its problems have online solutions. And its problems...Wow. They really help in developing physics problem solving skill and intuition.

    Another alternative, which is gaining popularity at top universities, is Morin's Introduction to Classical Mechanics. It seems to have been written in the same spirit as Kleppner's book and covers the same topics (plus more!) but feels more "modern" if you can say that about any classical physics text. But for an introduction, I still prefer Kleppner for some reason. Morin's book does have its highpoints, however, including its sections on Lagrangian Mechanics and Noether's Theorem, Hamiltonian Mechanics (on the book website) and Angular Momentum in three-dimensions which are all treated at a high level of mathematics. Lagrangian Mechanics is an alternate formalism of Mechanics (distinct from Newtonian Mechanics) and is important in advanced physics with Noether's Theorem especially important in particle physics. Hamiltonian Mechanics is also an alternate formulation of Mechanics which is used in the development of Quantum theory. Last but not least, Angular momentum in three dimensions is just really interesting!

    Oh! I forgot the most important aspect of Morin's book: Its problems. In the introduction, he claimed to have compiled close to 600 problems and about 250 of these problems have solutions at the end of the chapter. This facet probably makes Morin's book even better for self study than Kleppner's, but, as I mentioned before, you can find many of Kleppner's solutions online.

    Here are the amazon links to the books


    and if you want to look at some chapters before you purchase it, here's a sample of Morin's book

  7. Jan 22, 2009 #6
    Re: Mechanics?

    I would also recommend Kleppner's book, it's more of an introductory mechanics book, however it really helps to develop the physicists method for solving problems.
  8. Jan 22, 2009 #7
    Re: Mechanics?

    I would recommend Taylor's Classical Mechanic book. He introduces a lot of topics and does it quite well. He's very verbose "à la" Griffiths, talk about the concepts behind the equations, give some good examples, etc. Half of the problems have their answers at the end of the book, so it's very good for self study.

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