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Good problem solving book

  1. Aug 3, 2010 #1
    Hi. Can anybody recommend a couple of good problem solving books? I'd like to improve my thinking skills and my natural ability, particularly in physics, but I don't mind if the book focusses on maths.

    Also, what do people think of "The Art and Craft of Problem Solving" by Paul Zeitz? Is it worth buying?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 5, 2010 #2
    I enjoyed Principles of Mathematical Problem Solving by Erickson/Flowers
  4. Aug 7, 2010 #3
    Thanks for the reply.

    Do you have any tips on improving thinking skills and intuition in physics?
  5. Aug 8, 2010 #4
    I think working on more problems is more fun and enjoyable, but if you have to read a book then How to Solve It by Polya is the classic.

    The Zeitz book will probably be pretty difficult unless you are already familiar with contest style problems that involve the basics of high school mathematics.
  6. Aug 8, 2010 #5
    I think the most fun and best way to learn math and physics is by doing challenging problems that require ingenuity and resourcefulness. Those problems should also illuminate the most important topics as well. A book that does that very well is Putnam and Beyond and a few other math Olympiad books.

    Here are the best problem books for physics afaik. They should also prepare you well for the IPO if that is a goal of yours.

    Problems in General Physics I.E. Irodov
    Physics by Example: 200 Problems and Solutions by W.G. Rees
    200 Puzzling Physics Problems by Peter Gnadig
    A Guide to Physics Problems, Part 1: Mechanics, Relativity, and Electrodynamics
    A Guide to Physics Problems: Part 2: Thermodynamics, Statistical Physics, and Quantum Mechanics
  7. Aug 8, 2010 #6
    nobody's mentioned larson's problem solving through problems? that's another good one.

    just for fun I looked that one up on google books & found this problem: "A small object is on the edge of a horizontal table. It is pushed in such a way that after 2sec it falls off the other side of the table, which is 1m wide. Does the object have wheels?" :uhh:

    I guess it's a problem about friction or something but I wouldn't know. Maybe it's just that I'm kind of an outsider but that sounded funny
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  8. Aug 8, 2010 #7
    Hopefully I'll be going to my preferred university and I just wanted to improve my natural ability in maths and physics as this will make my degree easier and so I'd be able to do more stuff at university. Preparing for IPhO is an excellent idea. I'll look into that, thanks.
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