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Mathematical methods for physics and engineering-Reviews/Suggestions

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  • Thread starter warhammer
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  • #1
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Hi,

I was told by someone to go for the above mentioned book (authored by Riley and a couple of other authors). I need a definitive tour de mathematica- something that I could use for the beginning of my Physics UG until the end of it (or even further if such a book exists!). Also, something that would help me explain nagging concepts in a great manner. Therefore, I would like to seek out your reviews/opinions/suggestions about the quality of the book and is it worth investing in (if not, then please feel free to suggest any other texts even if it doesn't explicitly match my criteria and could be used for the solid mathematical foundation necessary for a great understanding of Physics).
 

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  • #2
berkeman
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I need a definitive tour de mathematica- something that I could use for the beginning of my Physics UG until the end of it (or even further if such a book exists!). Also, something that would help me explain nagging concepts in a great manner.
That's probably too broad of a range of your studies to try to find one book that will cover it all, IMO. You might be able to cover it with 2-3 books as adjuncts to your university texts, but I'm not sure.

I'll suggest that you look at this very useful textbook by our own @Orodruin -- I like it a lot, but it is geared more toward upper-division and beyond:

https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/the-birth-of-a-textbook/
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1138056901/?tag=pfamazon01-20
1567458602856.png
 
  • #3
21
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That's probably too broad of a range of your studies to try to find one book that will cover it all, IMO. You might be able to cover it with 2-3 books as adjuncts to your university texts, but I'm not sure.

I'll suggest that you look at this very useful textbook by our own @Orodruin -- I like it a lot, but it is geared more toward upper-division and beyond:

https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/the-birth-of-a-textbook/
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1138056901/?tag=pfamazon01-20
View attachment 249038
Thanks for your response. I will definitely check out this book. What is your opinion however about the book I mentioned if you have used it?
 
  • #4
berkeman
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BTW, the good thing about the textbook that I suggested is that it is something that you can grow into, and it will provide motivation for you as you are studying in your math classes at university. You can tell by looking ahead in the book what you will be learning in the next couple of years, and that should help to motivate you to want to learn those subjects.

I've mentioned here before on the PF how I always enjoyed buying my textbooks for the new semester at school -- I would stand in the bookstore and flip through the textbooks in my pile, and get very excited about the math and physics and engineering that I would be learning (and understanding) in the coming months.

Enjoy the ride! :smile:
 
  • #5
berkeman
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What is your opinion however about the book I mentioned if you have used it?
I have not used the Riley book. I did have one other book that I used after undergrad and for review for my work after I finished graduate school, but found it to be a bit more non-intuitive and non-physical than I preferred (I don't remember the author).

By using the Amazon "Look Inside" feature and looking through the Table of Contents of the Riley text, it looks pretty basic but it does look like it bridges into upper division undergraduate subjects fairly well. The important thing for me would be whether it uses practical real-world problems to illustrate all of the important concepts. That's what I like so much about the Blennow textbook. Have you looked through the Riley text at your university library yet?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0521679710/?tag=pfamazon01-20
1567459774523.png
 
  • #6
marcusl
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The three standard broad-coverage texts are those by Boas, Riley and Arfken. (I used Arfken in grad school so it might be more advanced.) Each has admirers and detractors, so you can go to your university library and compare them to see which suits your tastes. Note that these strive to cover "all" of the methods of mathematical physics, so they tend to be terse and summary rather than offering derivations and deep explanations. For more advanced treatments (since you asked about "beyond"), classics include Courant and Hilbert, Whittaker and Watson, and the two-volume set by Morse and Feshbach.

To supplement one of the general texts above for a more pedantic approach to a specific topic, Dover has inexpensive texts on virtually every mathematical topic. As one example: Lebedev's Special Functions gives a comprehensive treatment of orthogonal functions and expansions with physics examples.
 
  • #7
21
5
I have not used the Riley book. I did have one other book that I used after undergrad and for review for my work after I finished graduate school, but found it to be a bit more non-intuitive and non-physical than I preferred (I don't remember the author).

By using the Amazon "Look Inside" feature and looking through the Table of Contents of the Riley text, it looks pretty basic but it does look like it bridges into upper division undergraduate subjects fairly well. The important thing for me would be whether it uses practical real-world problems to illustrate all of the important concepts. That's what I like so much about the Blennow textbook. Have you looked through the Riley text at your university library yet?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0521679710/?tag=pfamazon01-20
View attachment 249041
No, I haven't yet checked it out for my uni library is pretty average. To be honest, I found Prof. Blennow's book really great after viewing a sample on Amazon but the book is way way beyond the budget of a middle class student in India (e-book costs about 5000 INR while the paperback is around 5500 INR). This why I was asking if the Riley one had been used by you so that you could provide me a picture of how good or bad the book is. Do you have any other recommendations?
 

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