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How to study Theoretical Mechanics?

  1. Nov 17, 2014 #1
    I know Single variable Calculus and I have a basic understanding of multivariable calculus. I also happen to know basic linear algebra. What are the mathematical pre-requisites needed in order to self-study theoretical mechanics?
    I'm planning to take this course http://theoreticalminimum.com/courses/classical-mechanics/2011/fall taught by Leonard Susskind. I'm a first year fall (first term) 2014 mathematical physics student.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2014 #2


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    Knowing some calculus of variations and also methods of solving ordinary differential equations will help too. You should also be able to work with different coordinate systems. Some knowledge of vector analysis and a little about tensors is good too. I think reading the related chapters from Mathematical methods for Physicists by Arfken will give you what you need.
    I should say those courses, as the name implies, just give a minimum knowledge about what's going on. To actually learn it, you should take more extended courses.
  4. Nov 18, 2014 #3
    Shyan has told you everything you need, but I'd like to stress the importance of multivariable calculus. In particular, you are better to deeply understand the difference between partial derivative, total derivative and differential
  5. Nov 19, 2014 #4
    Thanks a lot. Yes, I have a theoretical mechanics course the third term in my university. But I just can't wait for it. Plus I have a lot of time, so why not spend it.
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