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Good Texts for Independent Study

  1. Aug 10, 2005 #1

    I was wondeirng if anyone knew any good textbooks on Differential Geometry for independent study, at an undergraduate level. Thanks a bunch!

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 10, 2005 #2
    Start with Spivak's Calculus on Manifolds for a well-grounded introduction to the calculus of tensors and differential forms on manifolds. Note that there is not a single useless or wasted exercise in the entire book. All of them should be taken as part of the text. You can then use Spivak's "Comprehensive Introduction to Differential Geometry".
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2005
  4. Aug 10, 2005 #3


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    although spivaks comprehensive text is the best overall diff geom book out there, it is so loong you can get lost or bogged down.

    you might try some easier books like Noel J Hicks, or do Carmo, or Ted Shifrin's notes availablef ree from his website at University of georgia first.

    Spivak spends an entire thick book, vol 1, on foundations of diff manifolds, a bit of a heavy meal. then vol 2 is a fantastic intro to the curvature tensor, the heart of diff geom. then it just goes on from there.

    so if you get bored in vol 1 just go on to vol 2 for the geometry and refer back to vol 2 for needed facts. of course you need the definition of a manifold and a tangent space but thats about all.

    a very easy book to read on a closely related subject diff top, is by guillemin and pollack, and intended for undergrads.
  5. Aug 11, 2005 #4
    If you have little geometric experience outside of high school geometry, then you might not want to start out with Spivak. Investigating 2- and 3-diml. differential geometry first, in order to build up some intuition particularly with regard to curvature, might be the best option... leaving small Spivak for, say, a senior thesis.

    Thus, I would recommend John Oprea's Differential Geometry, Millman and Parker's text (Elements of Differential Geometry, I think), and/or Do Carmo's book on the geometry of curves and surfaces.
  6. Aug 11, 2005 #5


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    well of course it depends on how strong the student is. I taught from little spivak in my senior level advanced calc course as a Pre PhD teacher at a small regional school 30 years ago, and it was too strong for the weaker ones and excellent for the strongest one. Our own state university uses it for junior level math majors and it works about right there. At Harvard they often start out strong sophomores and freshmen on much harder stuff.

    So shop around among these recommendations for the one that lights your fire without scorching you.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2005
  7. Aug 24, 2005 #6

    Could you please give me the website for the note?
  8. Aug 24, 2005 #7


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  9. Sep 3, 2005 #8
  10. Sep 9, 2005 #9
    Flanders has a good book on diff G. My teacher tought me from it, I was pleased with its quality.
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