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Studying Need Advice on summer studying, books, calculus

  1. Apr 11, 2010 #1
    Some background on me:
    Just graduated with physics major and am going to graduate school this fall. However, due to additional focus on philosophy I couldn't focus on properly learning either math or physics. I am relatively capable, however, I have small knowledge with many gaps to work with. Now that I am will be done with this, I want to learn properly both physics and math, focusing all my time only on them.

    I have ~3-4 month free this summer, and I would like to spend them re-learning calculus (properly) and a little bit of other math (linear algebra, etc.) so I will have a good command of the subject before focusing on re-learning physics properly in grad. school (as I mentioned, I am fairly capable but have many gaps in knowledge).

    1) Is this a reasonable task? (considering I will have 3-4 month)

    2) If yes, which books should I look for? I am interested in something that will allow me to have great command of calculus and will also allow me to have a good foundation to properly learn advance math after. I heard people recommending Spivak, Courant, Apostol.

    I looked through Apostol, and 2 Volumes contain all the necessary material I would like to learn. Would it be possible to get good grasp of the material and finish the volumes during summer? Or, what would be a better route?

    Thanks a lot in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2010 #2


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    Well, it can never hurt to learn the material from Apostol. But I guess someone with a bachelor's in physics will have enough knowledge of calculus and linear algebra for physicists (if you did mechanics, em, qm, you are probably confortable with the computational sides). I don't think the material from Apostol will help you much for physics grad school: it's nice to be able to prove Bolzano Weierstrass' theorem, but it doesn't make general relativity easier, so to speak.

    It's probably wiser to fill the gaps in your physics knowledge.
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