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Classical Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics

  1. Feb 8, 2015 #1
    Recommend an easy going introduction to lagrangian and hamiltonian mechanics (for self study)
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  3. Feb 8, 2015 #2

    Quantum Defect

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    I liked "Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems" by Marion and Thornton (advanced undergraduate classical mechanics)
  4. Feb 18, 2015 #3


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    Landau/Lifshits vol. 1 is great to. I'd not call it "easy going" however, but it's very worth to struggle through!
  5. Feb 18, 2015 #4
    If you're just looking for an intro, nearly any senior-levle UG text will have what you want. The Marion/Thornton book is good. Fowles/Cassiday is also good. There are MANY to choose from. Go to your local university library (if there is one obviously) and just look through the books collected under "classical mechanics" or "analytical mechanics".
  6. Feb 18, 2015 #5


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  7. Feb 18, 2015 #6
    The first bits of Goldstein's book would probably be very beneficial.
  8. Feb 26, 2015 #7


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  9. Feb 26, 2015 #8
    Anything but that, unless you like meaningless formulas and calculations. If you don't like meaningless formulas and calculations, maybe Arnold if you can handle it.
  10. Feb 26, 2015 #9
    I second David Tong's notes. They are free after all. homeomorphic's recommendation of Arnold may be premature since you are asking for an "easy-going" introduction (the entire book is written from the perspective of differential geometry).

    The book by Marion and Thornton is an established undergraduate classic. So is the book by Fowles and Cassiday, or the book by Taylor. They are suitable for senior-level classical mechanics courses.
  11. Feb 26, 2015 #10
    I was recommending Arnold in the long term. For now, I'm just unrecommending Marion and Thornton. Unless, of course, ugly calculations and very little physical insight is your thing.
  12. Feb 26, 2015 #11
    According to someone, every textbook is full of ugly calculations and very little physical insight lol. But yes, I understand. Arnold is a scary book. Have you run through it? I just finished the whole of Fowles/Cassiday and will be moving onto Goldstein soonish.
  13. Feb 26, 2015 #12
    I think it's reasonably obvious to anyone who has read it that Marion and Thornton are not exactly Feynman when it comes to their physical insight. I have read most of Arnold, but the Appendixes get pretty wild, even for me (there's some good stuff in there if you ever want to understand differential geometry, though). But I have a PhD in math, so Arnold is kind of right up my alley. But I did start reading it in my first year of grad school, so it's not THAT bad. And I could have probably read it a bit earlier than that--as he says in the intro it's closer to a course for theoretical physicists than mathematicians.

    One book I'd like to read when I get the chance that might possibly (can't say, since I haven't read it) fit the bill here is Spivak's Mechanics for Mathematicians book.

    There's a free preview online.
    http://www.math.uga.edu/~shifrin/Spivak_physics.pdf [Broken]

    As you can see from the preview, it's not really that math-oriented, although maybe in the later chapters, it is. I haven't read the finished product. Anyway, it looks like Spivak wrote a book that is somewhat similar to one I was thinking about writing. So, I'll have to read it, and if I like it enough, maybe I won't have to write my own, but just refer people to Spivak and Arnold.

    Lanczos also has a Classical Mechanics book that's somewhat interesting and a bit lower level.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  14. Feb 26, 2015 #13
    I understand better now what you mean about M/T. Thank you.
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