1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Looking for a good book on harmonic oscillations

  1. Sep 16, 2014 #1
    Hi all, I'm in a intro to wave phenomenon class this semester and unfortunately, our text book is written by the professor and is really not very good at all. So I'm liking for any recommendations on D.E. books that do well with explaining harmonics. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2014 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    A classic, that is usually easy to find in libraries, is F. S. Crawford Jr., Waves, Berkley Physics Course vol. 3, McGraw-Hill (1968).
  4. Sep 16, 2014 #3
    I second that.
    But, IMBO, the best introduction to oscillation and waves one could hope for is French's "Vibrations and Waves" from the MIT Introductory Physics Course.

    It is IMO more organized than Crawford (a book I love and treasure but not the clearest of them all...).

    (EDIT: in my first answer I was sure I had read "French" and not "Crawford"...)
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
  5. Oct 3, 2014 #4
    Are you talking about QM or classical mechanics?
  6. Oct 3, 2014 #5
    When I was an undergraduate, our text was French and I found it totally opaque (it didn't help that the lecturer was atrocious).

    I picked it up again last week and found it a model of clarity.

    I'm not sure what to conclude from this.
  7. Oct 3, 2014 #6
    Well, learning is a dynamic and cumulative process. Ever noticed that the best books on a given subject have an alarming tendency to come up after you have studied it on worse textbooks? :) Sometimes what makes a book totally opaque is the fact that the author has forgotten what he did not know the first time he faced the subject. A little thing given for granted here, another little thing given for granted there, and the beginner has lost his path. It is normal for those who have already been exposed to the subject to fill in the minor omissions, and this might be the reason you now find French a model of clarity now.

    Moreover, now you are probably better equipped to pick up the references to other fields of study, like optics, EM, control theory, circuit theory, quantum mechanics, that back then appeared just out of the blue.

    Sometimes 'less clear' books are needed as intermediary towards the real masterpieces.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2014
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted