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Is this a good idea? I'm going to self study with Boas before school starts

  1. Jul 31, 2012 #1
    Hello PF,

    I'm going to be heading to my 3rd year as a Physics major and I want to make this last month of summer a tad productive. So my plan was to review/self study math using the mathematical methods book by Boas (and maybe some online resources to get more depth on some particular topics). Is this good idea? and if so, is there a recommended order that I should do the topics in to better prepare me for my 3rd year?

    Thanks for all input !
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 1, 2012 #2
    If you want to self study mathematical methods, go for it.

    You can't really go wrong studying anything in that book. Just pick what interests you.

    May as well avoid special functions though. They can be learned in the context of physics courses.
  4. Aug 1, 2012 #3
    YES. This is a great idea. It helps to know the math, at least a little bit, before you know the science so you don't have to study both at the same time.

    I'd place greater emphasis on reviewing complex numbers, series and sequences, calc, vector calc, basic linear algebra and ODEs than on things you haven't seen before, since much of classical mechanics, EM and QM are going to be old math packaged in new science.
  5. Aug 1, 2012 #4


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    The Boas book was written in such a way that it can be used as a self-study. I heard it from the "horse's mouth" herself, i.e. from Mary Boas herself in 1986 (and I just dated myself there!), and this may also have been written in the Foreword of the book.

    Note that if you do use it as a self-study, it might also be useful to get the Student's Solution Manual. In that book, she walks you through the details in arriving at the answers of some of the problems in her book.

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