Old books pulled off your shelves during pandemic

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In summary, Pauling's "The Chemical Bond" is a well-written abridgement of his longer "The Nature of the Chemical Bond." Sherwin's "Basic Concepts of Physics" is an unusual introductory text arranged around classical mechanics, relativity, electricity, and quantum mechanics. Goldstein is self-contradictory, and the correct answer is what he derived with d'Alembert's principle. Nevertheless, I also went through my book shelves during these pandemic times and as a result am now rereading Pais's "Subtle is the Lord", which once more looks like the best biography of Einstein ever written. I've been going through Goldstein trying to wrap my head around non-holonomic constraint forces.
  • #1
Frabjous
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I’ve been doing a lot of reading during the pandemic and some of that has involved pulling books off my shelves that I haven’t looked at for a long time. Assuming that you have done the same, what are your pleasant rediscoveries?

For me it was
Pauling “The Chemical Bond” - well written abridgement of his longer ”The Nature of the Chemical Bond” and reminds me that QM is much larger than what physicists are commonly taught (1967)

Sherwin “Basic Concepts of Physics” an unusual introductory text arranged around classical mechanics (37 pages) relativity (71 pages) electricity (69 pages) QM (72 pages) and Statistical Mechanics (75 pages) (1961)
 
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  • #2
I’ve been going through Goldstein trying to wrap my head around non-holonomic constraint forces.
 
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  • #3
Be very careful. Concerning non-holonomic constraints Goldstein is self-contradictory. The correct answer is what he derived with d'Alembert's principle :oldbiggrin:

Nevertheless, I also went through my book shelves during these pandemic times and as a result am now rereading Pais's "Subtle is the Lord", which once more looks like the best biography of Einstein ever written.
 
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  • #4
PhDeezNutz said:
I’ve been going through Goldstein trying to wrap my head around non-holonomic constraint forces.

We used Fetter and Walecka and I never got around to Goldstein. I remember being a snob and saying that Goldstein was only good if you wanted to do QM, not classical mechanics. Amusingly, I discovered Borowitz’s Fundamentals of QM about a decade ago and loved it because the first third of it was classical mechanics in order to do QM, but I digress.

There are a couple of turn of the century (1900) books by Routh on ”dynamics of a system of rigid bodies” that I would occasionally turn to in grad school when I had unusual CM questions. I never read them completely, so I have no idea if they would be of use to you, but you might try thumbing through them. They are not written in moden style and if they have what you need it will probably be called something else.
 
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  • #5
caz said:
We used Fetter and Walecka and I never got around to Goldstein. I remember being a snob and saying that Goldstein was only good if you wanted to do QM, not classical mechanics. Amusingly, I discovered Borowitz’s Fundamentals of QM about a decade ago and loved it because the first third of it was classical mechanics in order to do QM, but I digress.

There are a couple of turn of the century (1900) books by Routh on ”dynamics of a system of rigid bodies” that I would occasionally turn to in grad school when I had unusual CM questions. I never read them completely, so I have no idea if they would be of use to you, but you might try thumbing through them. They are not written in moden style and if they have what you need it will probably be called something else.

undergrad CM and QM were extremely manageable to me. Their grad counterparts still seem very esoteric to me. Furthermore, grad QM seems to be built on grad CM so that was a double whammy. Now I’m extremely interested in your Borowitz recommendation.
 
  • #6
PhDeezNutz said:
undergrad CM and QM were extremely manageable to me. Their grad counterparts still seem very esoteric to me. Furthermore, grad QM seems to be built on grad CM so that was a double whammy. Now I’m extremely interested in your Borowitz recommendation.

Borowitz Fundamentals of Quantum Mechanics
Undergraduate textbook from 1967
Ch 1 Waves and Particles
Ch 2 Wave Propagation
Ch 3 Fourier Series, Fourier Integrals and Related Topics
Ch 4 Wave propagation and optics
Ch 5 Geometrical Optics - The Short wavelength limit
Ch 6 Dynamics
Ch 7 The Hamilton-Jacobi theory of dynamics
Ch 8 Schrodinger Wave Equation
Ch 9 Solution of Some 1d problems
Ch 10 Harmonic Oscillator
Ch 11 Foundations of Wave Mechanics
Ch 12 Angular Momentum
Ch 13 H Atom
Ch 14 Perturbation Theory
Ch 15 Time Dependent Perturbation Theory
Ch 16 Systems of Identical Particles

I like it because it presents QM as a generalization of hamiltonian mechanics. I am not saying that it is a great quantum mechanics text.

The cheapest copy I can find online is over $200 :(

My goto quantum book is Messiah. For UG I used Liboff and kinko’s course notes. For grad Merzbacher. I used Messiah as a supplement, and it spoke the most to me. No complaints about the others.

BTW, I was poking around and Whittaker‘s Treatise on Analytical Dynamics has an entire chapter on nonholonomic systems.
 
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  • #7
vanhees71 said:
Pais
I really liked his book about Niels Bohr, too. Maybe I should pull that one down for a reread.
 
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  • #8
vanhees71 said:
Pais's "Subtle is the Lord"

Never read, but I should be looking for it. Sounds intriguing.

Not an old book, but one that has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years, Polarized Light and Optical Systems by Chipman, Lam and Young. Russ Chipman was a professor where i went to grad school and I never took his polarization classes. Now I need it and need to get that info back into my head for work.
 
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  • #9
caz said:
We used Fetter and Walecka and I never got around to Goldstein. I remember being a snob and saying that Goldstein was only good if you wanted to do QM, not classical mechanics. Amusingly, I discovered Borowitz’s Fundamentals of QM about a decade ago and loved it because the first third of it was classical mechanics in order to do QM, but I digress.

There are a couple of turn of the century (1900) books by Routh on ”dynamics of a system of rigid bodies” that I would occasionally turn to in grad school when I had unusual CM questions. I never read them completely, so I have no idea if they would be of use to you, but you might try thumbing through them. They are not written in moden style and if they have what you need it will probably be called something else.
But Fetter Walecka is a (by the way brillant) book non non-relativistic QFT (many-body theory). What has this to do with canonical mechanics?
 
  • #10
gmax137 said:
I really liked his book about Niels Bohr, too. Maybe I should pull that one down for a reread.
Good suggestion. Perhaps I should another biography on Bohr. I think Bohr (as well as Heisenberg) is much overrated in comparison to Born, Dirac, and Schrödinger concerning the development of quantum theory.
 
  • #11
vanhees71 said:
But Fetter Walecka is a (by the way brillant) book non non-relativistic QFT (many-body theory). What has this to do with canonical mechanics?

They also wrote Theoretical Mechanics of Particles and Continua
 
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  • #12
vanhees71 said:
Good suggestion. Perhaps I should another biography on Bohr. I think Bohr (as well as Heisenberg) is much overrated in comparison to Born, Dirac, and Schrödinger concerning the development of quantum theory.

Do you think that the old quantum mechanics did not significantly aid the development of the new quantum mechanics?
Are you attributing the the heavy lifting of matrix mechanics to Born or is there another reason about Heisenberg?
 
  • #13
Of course, Bohr's model of the atom as well as Einstein's insight from statistical-physics considerations concerning Planck's light quanta were important steps towards the modern quantum theory.

I think Born and Jordan clarified the ideas by Heisenberg and amalgated into "matrix mechanics". Then Schrödinger discovered "wave mechanics" and showed the equivalence of both formulations. The final step was of course Dirac's "representation free" formulation (then called "transformation theory").

I don't like Heisenberg's tendency to obscure the theory by philosophical considerations (it's telling that his first interpretation of the uncertainty relation had to be corrected by Bohr).
 
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  • #14
vanhees71 said:
Nevertheless, I also went through my book shelves during these pandemic times and as a result am now rereading Pais's "Subtle is the Lord", which once more looks like the best biography of Einstein ever written.
I have this book but I have yet to read it. Like the biographies of Schwinger and Feynman by Jagdish Mehra, and "QED And The Men Who Made It" by Schweber, I feel like I will enjoy them much more if I can understand the mathematics and physics that is going on in them. I am still a few years away from learning GR and QED.

I am always reading new material, almost entirely science and military or political history. My reading list is pages long. Currently, I am working on The Infinity Puzzle by Frank Close, and Demyansk by Russ Schneider, a WW2 novel from the German point-of-view.

If I had to pull down any book to reread, it would undoubtedly be one of these three:
i) The Storm of Steel, Ernst Junger.
ii) For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway.
iii) Genius, James Gleick.
 
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  • #15
Sure, but that's precisely the great advantage of all the mentioned books on the history of science or the biographies of physicists: It's written by physicists with an appropriate description of the physics.
 
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  • #16
Mondayman said:
I have this book but I have yet to read it. Like the biographies of Schwinger and Feynman by Jagdish Mehra, and "QED And The Men Who Made It" by Schweber, I feel like I will enjoy them much more if I can understand the mathematics and physics that is going on in them. I am still a few years away from learning GR and QED.

I am always reading new material, almost entirely science and military or political history. My reading list is pages long. Currently, I am working on The Infinity Puzzle by Frank Close, and Demyansk by Russ Schneider, a WW2 novel from the German point-of-view.

If I had to pull down any book to reread, it would undoubtedly be one of these three:
i) The Storm of Steel, Ernst Junger.
ii) For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway.
iii) Genius, James Gleick.

Junger? You sound like a Carlin listener.

For some different WW2 accounts:
You might enjoy Death Traps by Cooper.
For the occupation of Italy, there is Naples ‘44 by Lewis.
A fun little WW2 science book is Bat Bomb by Couffer.
 
  • #17
Interesting anecdote about Fetter and Walecka. A friend of mine was researching many body theory and recommended Fetter and Walecka. I went to the University bookstore and saw Fetter and Walecka and without looking at the title, I bought it. I got the book home, and I realized this was not the right book. I went to the bookstore the next day and they gave me a full refund. This was 1986 or 1987. Anyway I bought Fetter and Walecka, Many Particle Theory, and I remember this well. It was the first book I ever paid more than 100.00 dollars for. I think it was 110.00. Many years later I went to the library, and started read Fetter and Walecka's book on mechanics. It turns out I now regretted returning the book to the bookstore. I think this book was around 70-80 dollars. I know some grad schools that use Fetter and Walecka instead of Goldstein. I do like Goldstein, though.
 
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  • #18
mpresic3 said:
Interesting anecdote about Fetter and Walecka. A friend of mine was researching many body theory and recommended Fetter and Walecka. I went to the University bookstore and saw Fetter and Walecka and without looking at the title, I bought it. I got the book home, and I realized this was not the right book. I went to the bookstore the next day and they gave me a full refund. This was 1986 or 1987. Anyway I bought Fetter and Walecka, Many Particle Theory, and I remember this well. It was the first book I ever paid more than 100.00 dollars for. I think it was 110.00. Many years later I went to the library, and started read Fetter and Walecka's book on mechanics. It turns out I now regretted returning the book to the bookstore. I think this book was around 70-80 dollars. I know some grad schools that use Fetter and Walecka instead of Goldstein. I do like Goldstein, though.

While we never got to them in class, I enjoyed the later chapters on strings, membranes, sound waves in fluids, surface waves in fluids, heat conduction, viscous fluids and elastic continua. I like waves and it was nice seeing the physics approach.

I remember the first test. Out of 30, the mean was around an 8 with a standard deviation of around a 6. The prof actually apologized to the class. He said that he has taught us nothing and those that did well had obviously known the stuff coming into the class.
 
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  • #19
mpresic3 said:
A friend of mine was researching many body theory and recommended Fetter and Walecka.
For some reason, I read this as mind body. :oldbiggrin:
 
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  • #20
I must make a correction. It was not Walecka's book Many body physics that I paid over 100.00 for. I looked at the book last night after posting. It was Mahan's book Many particle physics.

The book I have pulled off the shelf during Covid that I am currently reading is Carroll, Gravitation and Spacetime, although I am supplementing this with Wald, General relativity. I am also perusing Weinberg's text that treats GR in a (mostly) non-geometric way. (I also have Ohanian and many other GR texts). Anyone who knows me would suggest I would most likely resonate with a non-geometric older treatment. However, I started with Carroll, and now the geometric treatment seems more natural to me.
 
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Related to Old books pulled off your shelves during pandemic

1. What should I do with old books that I have pulled off my shelves during the pandemic?

It is recommended to properly clean and disinfect the books before returning them to your shelves. This can be done by wiping down the covers and pages with a disinfectant spray or wipes. You can also leave the books in a well-ventilated area for a few days to allow any potential virus to die off.

2. Can I donate old books that I have pulled off my shelves during the pandemic?

It is best to check with your local donation center or library before donating any books. Some places may not be accepting book donations during the pandemic, while others may have specific guidelines in place for accepting donated items.

3. Should I be concerned about the safety of handling old books during the pandemic?

While there is a possibility of the virus surviving on surfaces such as books, the risk of transmission through this method is low. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands after handling any objects that have been touched by others.

4. Can I still read old books that I have pulled off my shelves during the pandemic?

Yes, as long as you have properly cleaned and disinfected the books, it is safe to read them. If you are concerned about the safety of the book, you can also opt to read an electronic version instead.

5. Is it necessary to pull old books off my shelves during the pandemic?

It is not necessary to pull old books off your shelves during the pandemic unless they have been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. However, it is always a good idea to regularly clean and disinfect your shelves and the books on them to maintain good hygiene practices.

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