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Mechanics book recomm. needed

  1. Nov 23, 2004 #1
    i'm taking second semseter of classical mechanics next semester. here's a syllabus of whats going to be covered. apparently the class uses Classical Dynamics of Particles & Systems/ Marion and Thornton. I saw on this site that the book is terrible. i'm not sure which book is appropriate for intermediate mechanics. i guess its between
    Landau, L.D., Lifschitz, E.M., Course of Theoretical Physics, V. I: Mechanics
    Goldstein, H., Classical Mechanics

    if anyone can give more feedback concerning those two textbooks that would be great. or if theres another book i should consider please let me know.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 23, 2004 #2
    Marion and Thornton is one of the standard books on the topic. I also know people taking that exact same course this semester (at UW) who have no complaints about the book.
  4. Nov 23, 2004 #3


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    I've never seen Marion and Thornton's book or Landau and Lifschitz's book, but I got Goldstein and it's quite good. Of course, many people have said wonders about Landau's book.
  5. Nov 23, 2004 #4


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    Your link didn't work. So, I can't see your syllabus.
    The answer depends on your taste and preparation. What was the text in part I?
    In some schools, Goldstein and LL are "graduate texts".
    Marion is definitely an undergraduate text. (One book that I didn't like was Symon's text.)

    I'd say: get them all!
  6. Nov 23, 2004 #5
    Yea, you can't see the link unless you're on campus at UW or a student.
  7. Nov 23, 2004 #6

    Dr Transport

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    Marion andf Thornton is one of the standard texts for Classical Mechanics at the undegraduate level. Landau's and Goldstein's books are standards for graduate level. Most of the PhD level people have suffered thru both at one time or another. A comnplete understanding will not happen in a year long course. it took me about 2 years off and on to master Marion, never sis spend the time to master Goldstein. I did learn enough to be able to work Quantum Mechanics because of it. If you don't have both on your shelf, you can't consider yourself a physicist.
  8. Nov 24, 2004 #7
    Will engineers have the study of quantum mechanics?
  9. Nov 24, 2004 #8
    What's wrong with Kleppner & Kolenkow, An Introduction to Mechanics (our lecturer calls it K^2)?

    I doubt it tbh.
  10. Nov 24, 2004 #9
    whoops, didn't realize non UW ppl can't view it. anyways, i'll get the marion & thornton book (since its required).

    no, engineers don't have to study quantum mechanics (actually very little physics, 3 std sem is sufficient). i'm computer engineering major but i like physics also so i'll be taking the 2 sem. quantum mechanics course my senior year. before that though, i'll have to take the intermediate mechanics and electromagnetics courses.

    i decided to not take mechanics next semester since i haven't had differential equations yet. i plan on learning diff eq this winter break (using mit's vid lectures). that should make my life easier next semester when i take diff eq, but i'm also taking calculus (real) analysis. it'll be my first intermediate math class, hopefully i'll survive it.
  11. Nov 24, 2004 #10
    I can recommend Landau. I used the book for an advanced undergraduate course on mechanics, and found that his no-nonsense way of approaching the subject is very refreshing. It's a slim booklet, but looks can be deceptive :biggrin:
  12. Nov 24, 2004 #11

    Dr Transport

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    Electrical Engineers will have to have a knowledge of Quantum Mechanics, there is quite a bit of work done in photonics.
  13. Nov 24, 2004 #12

    Tom Mattson

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    Your link didn't work for me, but I will still offer the following suggestion. You said that you are taking "intermediate" mechanics (I assume undergrad). In that case, neither of those books is for you. Landau and Lifschitz is for advanced undergrad/1st year grad, and Goldstein is definitely for grad students. You want a book called Mechanics by Symon. It's what I used for undergrad Intermediate Mechanics I-II, and it's excellent.
  14. Nov 25, 2004 #13
  15. Nov 26, 2004 #14
    Analytical Mechancs = Langrangian and Hamiltonian Mechanics?
  16. Nov 26, 2004 #15
    Yep. And, depending on one's taste, Hamilton-Jacobi.
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