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Good math methods in physics book?

  1. Feb 19, 2010 #1
    Hello. I am looking for a good math methods in physics book. I am currently taking Mathematical methods in physics at my university. The tutorial we use isn't very helpful. Does anyone have any suggestions?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 19, 2010 #2
    Lots of people like Boas, I don't have it though. Courant and Hilbert is classic I guess, real in depth with way more than you would ever cover in a course though. I also have Menzel which is good I guess.
  4. Feb 19, 2010 #3


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  5. Feb 19, 2010 #4


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    I would also suggest "Spacetime, Geometry and Cosmology" by William Burke as a very good first introduction to what is called 'calculus on manifolds' which has become indispensable for modern physicists, but is not usually treated in the older 'mathematical methods for physicists'-type books like Boas.
  6. Feb 19, 2010 #5
    Thanks for the suggestions.
  7. Feb 19, 2010 #6

    George Jones

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    At what level? Does the course has assigned or recommended texts?

    At the most introductory level there is Basic Training in Mathematics: A Fitness Program for Science Students by R. Shankar,


    I, too, recommend https://www.amazon.com/Mathematical...sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1213011834&sr=1-3" by Boas, which is a standard text for junior-level mathematical method courses. I wasn't very familiar with this book until I used as the text for a course that I taught a few years ago

    https://www.amazon.com/Mathematical...sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1213011961&sr=1-1" by Arfken and Weber is a standard text for grad-level (or possibly senior-level) mathematical methods courses.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Feb 19, 2010 #7
    Thanks. The course is taken over 3 semesters. One is at the end of you sophomore year (spring), and the other is in the beginning of your junior year (fall). There is a "tutorial" that was put together by a Professor Emeritus of Physics at my university. I believe the course is 7-8 years old by now. I can give you the table of contents for the first and second semesters.
    Complex Arithmetic
    "Trigg" Functions
    Vector Algebra and intro to Matrices
    Matrix theory
    Orthogonal functions and Fourier Series
    One-Dimenisonal Wave Equation

    2nd half:
    Vector Calculus
    The delta function
    Fourier Transforms
    Bessel Functions
    Legendre Polynomials
    Associated Legendre functions and spherical harmonics
    Sturm-Liouville Theory and Orthogonal Functions
    Analytic Function theory
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. Feb 19, 2010 #8
    Although the text I'm going to mention is more advanced than the class you've described, I feel that it is indispensable to understanding deep structural connections within physics. It is "Mathematical Physics" by Robert Geroch. It is not computational but proof based, though it gives a very deep insight into the relationship between mathematics and physics from a more formal (and structuralist) point of view.
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