Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Good linear algebra book (for engineers)?

  1. Apr 14, 2012 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Hello everyone. My friend was asking me for a good linear algebra book. He's an engineering major. I taught myself out of Axler, so I have no clue of a book that would serve his purpose.

    Any suggestions? I did an Amazon search and a few names popped out: Strang, Bretscher (sp?), Anton...and they all seemed to have mixed reviews.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 15, 2012 #2
  4. Apr 16, 2012 #3
    Poole - Linear Algebra: A Modern Introduction: https://www.amazon.com/Linear-Algebra-A-Modern-Introduction/dp/0534341748

    This book is intuitive, visual, and motivating; it also has a lot of applications. The methods used in this book are the only way I would get anything out of linear algebra. In my Diffy Q/LA class, the first day we started linear algebra we immediately started off talking about Rn so I just took the entire subject as one big abstraction. Out of pure frustration, I found this book at my library and I was blow away by the amount of geometric representations of literally every topic covered in my class. Basis, vector space, eigenstuff, determinants, linear independence, etc. Everything suddenly clicked because I am a visual learner.

    Note: to a pure mathematician I'm sure they would scuff at a book like this but I really don't know why. If you look across the reviews of several editions some of these people come up and yell about "rigor" but the CS, engineering, physics majors all love this book. This book teaches the concepts in full form along with computational problems and it also has proofs. It's just not like Axler's style --> definition, theorem, proof constantly. If your friend is remotely visual/conceptual have them get this book and thank me later. If they live in an abstract, pure math snob world then go with a book like Axler. :wink:
  5. Apr 16, 2012 #4
    Lang's Introduction to Linear Algebra might do, but:
    It does not cover applications, and it is probably more theoretical than most engineering books.

    Also, it deals with R^n mostly (or entirely), mainly n=2,3; but I don't know if this is a problem for engineers. Also, it only covers one term worth of material, so you may need another book, like his Linear Algebra (there's a used copy on amazon for $28.44).

    I know the reputation of Lang's books, but this one is quite elementary, has some good illustrations, and the answers at the back. And a new paperback copy costs $23, which is not too bad. Well, at least you can trust Lang to be accurate, books that are too applied often tend to muddle the fundamentals, in my experience.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook