1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Calculus Good calculus textbook for physics, and vice versa?

  1. Aug 26, 2015 #1
    There are two textbooks each of calculus and physics which interest me. I am almost finished Stewart's Precalculus, which I have spent countless hundreds of hours on over these last couple of months in autodidactic zeal; and I am intent upon doing over a calculus textbook before moving on to physics.
    I make sure to answer correctly at least 50% of the questions in the book, which is probably about 90% of what I attempt. The state of my mathematical education prior to three months thence was abysmal. I do not give up, and I do not care for ease. I want what is best, but also accessible to my level.
    There are two calculus books which appeal to me: Stewart's, which I feel is probably the best to go with after having completed his precursor text; and Larson's, which, as I browse through it, gives me a faintly stronger appeal - that and the auxiliary resources that accompany Larson's. Ultimately, my intention is to go on to either Young & Freedman's University Physics with Modern Physics Technology, or perhaps Bauer & Westfall's University Physics with Modern Physics; thus I should prefer that the calculus book recommended be the most suitable for going on to whichever physics text you would also suggest. I am also open to ideas regarding other legitimate alternatives, my primary criterion being that each chapter should abound in examples with which I might hone my skill.

    Zaqiqu thanks you for your contributions to his long-lasting internal debate.

    If you go and take the field of an enemy, the enemy will come and take your field.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 26, 2015 #2
    Stewart, Larson, Anton, Thomas calculus books are preaty much identitical. Choosing either one doesn't really matter. Choose the book you find easier to read.

    You can learn both calculus and physics at the same time. Most introductory calculus physics book introduce calculus rarely in the mechanics portion. Starting from EM portion of the book and onwards, the calculus becomes more involved( nothing crazy).

    I would recommend you purchase an older edition of Stewart Calculus and Thomas Calculus 3rd ed. Make sure you get the 3rd ed, These books supplement each other really well. Thomas has a lot of geometric intuition and the book layout does not have 7 diagrams and colors on every page.

    After doing the equivalent of calculus 2, you may wana start learning linear algebra.
  4. Aug 26, 2015 #3
    Just curious, is there a reason you're suggesting an older edition of Stewart's Calculus?
  5. Aug 26, 2015 #4
    It's cheaper and their practically all the same.
  6. Aug 26, 2015 #5
    I love matrices, so I do look forward to Linear Algebra. Larson's or Clay's, I figure.
    I started Bauer and Westfall's Physics maybe six months ago, worked for a week before I realized that there was no way I'd get through the third chapter without calculus, and so here I've been, sitting right here for 10 hours each day glued to Stewart's Precalculus.
    Cost is irrelevant. I've long collected books from thrift stores, I have more books than you could imagine, far from the smallest category of which is the university textbook. I live in a city with no less than four post-secondary institutes, so there is no lack of used textbooks floating around.
    The one complaint I notice most people have with Stewart is that his books are unduly expensive (are not all new textbooks? a most enjoyable hobby is to buy a bunch of used textbooks, 2 or 3 bucks a pop, go home and check Amazon to see that they each sell for no less than $240) While I am sure that that is so, cost has no bearing upon my decision and so I want only the best when it comes to preparation for physics.
  7. Aug 26, 2015 #6
    an older edition of stewart can be had for 5 bucks shipped (the full book).
  8. Aug 27, 2015 #7
    "Vector Calculus" by Marsden/Tromba is a good book that focuses both on the applied (particularly in the physics) and theoretical aspects of vector calculus.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted

Similar Threads - calculus textbook physics Date
Algebra Math textbooks for physics grad student and other questions Oct 15, 2015
Calculus A good calculus book for physics Sep 1, 2015
Intro Physics A new online introductory E&M textbook (in progress…) Aug 23, 2015
Calculus Book idea: mathematical techniques in introductory physics Jul 23, 2015