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Need a book for introductory thermodynamics

  1. Jan 14, 2007 #1
    I have course in thermodynamics that'll start in a few weeks. But it seems that we are just going to use notes instead of a text book. Last time I used notes in another course I didn't understand the whole subject, because their notes where pretty poor and unclear when explaining subjects.
    I only finished a course in classical mechanics (in physics), as for the math, I have basics knowledgde about calculus and linear algebra. But I'll have another math course at the same time as the thermodynamics course, where I'll learn about vector calculus and partiel diff. equations.
    Now I want to ask if someone can recommend a good introductory text book in thermodynamics, that I can understand with my current knowledge in physics and math (the aforementioned).
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 14, 2007 #2
    Schroeder is the standard, it doesn't assume any math beyond your level. Reif is more careful and pedagogical, but it may be hard at your level to extract useful information from its 500 pages or so. Schroeder is more compact and focused. The other standard book is Kittel, which I know nothing about.

    In thermodynamics, there are "standard" mathematical techniques used which are obscure elsewhere, so they are taught in the course itself. If you get Schroeder for instance, go to the appendices and learn about the Stirling's approximations, volume of n-dimensional spheres, simplifying very large numbers (10^23 + 10^3 = 10^23), some properties of probability and counting, and the factorial and the gamma function.
  4. Jan 14, 2007 #3
    I recommend the text A Course in Thermodynamics Vol. 1 by Joseph Kestin. It's a long winded and (in some parts) outdated book, but keep reading and you're almost certain to walk away with a better knowledge of the subject than the typical undergraduate books available. It would also serve as a great supplement if you find particular concepts boggling. Check to see if it's at your university library; and if it is, whether it's right for you.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2007
  5. Jan 15, 2007 #4
    Due to financial reasons I can probably only afford Shroeder's book. Is it btw https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0201380277/flexional-us-1-20" you were talking about Rash3? Reading the reviews it sounds like a good text.
    Does the book explain the physics behind the equations, or are they just represented and the reader has to consider all the physics? Because the text book we had in mechanics, on many occasion never explained in details the physics behind the equations, like for example stating "We define angular moment as L = rxp, and torque is defined as dL/dt", which is really something poor, and I never got the intuitive feeling about what the concept really was. Tat is untill I read about the subject in the "Feynman Lectures" (well Feynman Lectures did have extraordinary explainations).
    So does the book An Introduction to Thermal Physics, by Shroeder explains the "physics"?

    Btw, it seems that in the last thermodynamics course had used Kittel's text, Thermal Physics, but I don't know anything about that book.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  6. Jan 15, 2007 #5
    I'd recommend Fermi's little book as a supplement to all these academic textbooks.
  7. Jan 15, 2007 #6
    How is Kittel & Kroemer compared to these books? I know it's an old book, but the department here is still using it!
  8. Jan 16, 2007 #7
    I'm not really familiar with the other books, so I can't really compare it, but I enjoyed Kittel and Kroemer. It wasn't an easy read by any means, but once I understood what they were talking about, I really felt that I *understood* what they were talking about.

    A few answers at the end of the book wouldn't have killed them though.
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