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Calculus Need calculus of variations book for a laymen

  1. Jun 29, 2016 #1
    While trying to study textbooks on analytical mechanics or QFT I realized that I simply cannot operate with variations of functions in the same way I can operate with derivatives and integrals. I have never learnt calculus of variations in university and, frankly, I am not much interested in this topic by itself, but I need it to go further in my attempts to learn physics.

    So can anybody recommend a good practical book or may be video-course on this subject? Again, I do not need very fine details and rigorous proofs, but I need to gain practical ability to understand this stuff and gain some intuition with it. I see that some physics textbook try to introduce calculus of variations just as part of the text, but I fail to understand it to a satisfactory level.
     
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  3. Jun 29, 2016 #2

    SteamKing

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    The calculus of variations is often a graduate-level course. It's pretty abstract stuff, and I doubt there's a Calculus of Variations for Dummies out there.

    Now, there are certain physical problems which can be handled by the C of V which may be a little easier to understand than QFT, problems like the brachistochrone.

    http://mat.uab.cat/matmat/PDFv2007/v2007n05.pdf
     
  4. Jun 29, 2016 #3
    Why don't you try The Calculus of Variations by van Brunt. It has physical examples and you can skip over the theory if bored.
     
  5. Jun 29, 2016 #4
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  6. Jul 9, 2016 #5

    malawi_glenn

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    I am actually in the progress writing "Lecture notes" about mathematical topics for basic Quantum Field Theory.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/u3c4wzdbaqbjumq/QFT_notes.pdf?dl=0

    Now I so happens that I am almost finished with the section regarding calculus of variations :)
     
  7. Jul 9, 2016 #6
    Is there any way you could share it publicly? I do not have a dropbox account and it does not let me download it. Thanks.
     
  8. Jul 9, 2016 #7

    malawi_glenn

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    strange that one needs a dropbox account in order to obtain access to a shared file, it has never happened to me before

    no I do not want to do that because it is not finished yet
     
  9. Jul 9, 2016 #8
    Ok, I will open a free account. Thanks for sharing.
     
  10. Jul 9, 2016 #9

    malawi_glenn

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  11. Jul 9, 2016 #10
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