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Modern physics

  1. Apr 25, 2008 #1

    I am taking the GRE next fall and I have taken all of the core courses except a Modern Physics class. I am kind of confused as to what "Modern Physics" is but apparently it is tested on the GRE. Can someone recommend a book that will prepare me for the GRE? I like very much the Griffith's QM and EM textbooks, so if there is a similar Modern Physics book, that would be nice.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 25, 2008 #2


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    A "Modern Physics" course usually covers relativity and basic QM and applications (atomic, nuclear, solid state, etc.).

    For textbooks, try something like Taylor, Zafiriatos & Dubson (sophomore level), or Eisberg & Resnick (junior/senior level).
  4. Apr 25, 2008 #3
    The book I used was Modern Physics by Tipler and Llewellyn. My professor said the book sucked, but yet he used it and he was actually a pretty bad teacher, so it could either mean the book is really good or really bad. :)

    But Griffiths E&M covers relativity, doesn't it? I haven't gotten that far yet, but my glimpses of future chapters shows that it does.

    I don't think there would be *much* for you to learn. I'd just borrow the book from your school's library instead of buying it.
  5. May 4, 2008 #4
    So is Young and Freeman a bad physics book? It's the book my school uses and some of the problems are interesting but all the colors and diagrams make me feel like im in preschool.

    Not to mention they only have one small chapter on Relativity and one sentence on General Relativity. I'll check out the books you mentioned JTbell. I'm taking the class next year and want to make sure that when I graduate I remedy any inadequacies I may have that this mickey mouse university curriculum leaves me. Luckily though the Professors themselves are very respectable but I think they are pressured to use textbooks like this and Stewart's Calculus.
  6. May 4, 2008 #5
    That book is an introductory physics book designed primarily to teach mechanics, thermal, and E&M. Most preschoolers who use this text in their preschool courses have a hard time
  7. May 4, 2008 #6


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    We use this book at my university (or have used):

    I think they use this now:

    Or if you just want to refresh and repete:

    I mean, you have done quite much advanced QM and Solid State ehrenfest, I think you will pass the modern physics part just excellent :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  8. May 4, 2008 #7
    Taylor seems to be widely used for special relativity. It's a little odd, but does a good job of covering the bases. I'm pretty sure he has a GR book out there too, but I already had a copy of Hartle for that.

    It does a bit. At least, I wouldn't suggest using it for GRE prep. It might be good if you want a low-depth sampling of a large number of topics.

    Very briefly in chapter 12. It wouldn't be a very good choice for your first study of it.
  9. May 4, 2008 #8
    Haha good point. I was simply adding some sarcastic humor to my post though.:rofl:
  10. May 4, 2008 #9
    My modern class as an undergrad used "Physics of the Atom" by Wehr, Richards, and Adair. We used 4th edition, which was old at the time, but the professor really liked that particular book, and because that edition was out of print, the students could get it relatively cheaply so long as the supply existed. Bookstore hated him for it.

    I now have two copies, as the supply dried up the price rose considerably. I keep one for my own reference, and one to loan out to advanced students.

    I just checked. New, from Amazon, it is $182.80 (must be back in print, or it never really was out of print). But there are 22 used copies available from Amazon for as little as a few dollars. They must be priced low because the print date is so old (1984). It matters not--it is a great book. Snap up a cheap copy.

    ETA: I should point out I have NOT taken the physics GRE, as my master's didn't require it. So I don't really know how well it prepares you for it.
    Last edited: May 4, 2008
  11. May 4, 2008 #10
    I do know what you mean about it feeling like a kids book though. Big colorful pictures and word problems with physics students just like me!

    keeps me entertained though
  12. May 4, 2008 #11
    Haha yea. All the pictures and little boxes annoy me though. It makes whatever you learn seem complicated. I'm like okay lets learn about Newton's 2nd Law....

    I turn to the page.

    Theres like a billion boxes pictures and diagrams. "Wait what which do you want me to, oh ok, wait check figure, hmmm wait a minute okay this graph is..... crap what am I doing again?"

    I prefer a simple layout with a simple diagram on the side and some text.

    If your going to bloat my textbook with all these little boxes vista-style then at least give me a dang pop-up blocker.:uhh:
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