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Physics Journals/Articles About Classical Mechanics

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Main Question or Discussion Point

I’m a high school student reading through Young and Freedmans University Physics. The book has gotten my very interested in classical mechanics, and I wish to read more about it outside the textbooks.

However, I don’t know where I can read more about it. Sure, there are books that I can read about how Newton & co developed it, but I also want to see how classical mechanics is currrnetly developing as a field.

But I can’t really find any articles about this. There are research papers about the field, but they are way above my level (remember, I’m just reading Young and Freedman). And all the pop science articles I’ve found are usually about the more “modern” areas of physics, such as cosmology etc.

So are there any suggestions for journals, websites, articles etc where I can read more about classical mechanics and see how it is developing as a field? Are there any sites which do this at the level of someone adding through Young and Freedmans Uni Physics?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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My suggestion is to read Goldstein’s book for more advanced Classical Mechanics. I think the issue you are running into is that physics is now focused more on General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics problems and thus classical mechanics only comes in as a limiting case for these kinds of problems.

You could look into orbital mechanics as that would be the most advanced form of classical mechanics or look into articles in mechanical engineering journals as they use classical mechanics in a big way. As an eexample, acoustics or structural engineering...
 
  • #3
vanhees71
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If you read Goldstein, leave out the chapter on non-holonomic constraints, which is wrong.

Maybe a better book in the sense that it's also between an introductory experimental-physics book and graduate-level theory books like Goldstein may be the Feynman Lectures, which are in my opinion the 2nd-best textbook ever written on theoretical physics (the best are Sommerfeld's lectures on theoretical physics, which are also at the graduate level).

Concerning good journals, I'd recommend

American Journal of Physics
https://aapt.scitation.org/toc/ajp/current

The Physics Teacher
https://aapt.scitation.org/toc/ajp/current

European Journal of Physics
http://iopscience.iop.org/journal/0143-0807

These are all journals dealing with physics topics for teaching (up to university level), and you find marvelous articles about all kinds of physics topics, clarifying difficult issues or giving derivations or explanations of physics topics simplifying the issue and so on.
 
  • #4
ZapperZ
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I’m a high school student reading through Young and Freedmans University Physics. The book has gotten my very interested in classical mechanics, and I wish to read more about it outside the textbooks.

However, I don’t know where I can read more about it. Sure, there are books that I can read about how Newton & co developed it, but I also want to see how classical mechanics is currrnetly developing as a field.

But I can’t really find any articles about this. There are research papers about the field, but they are way above my level (remember, I’m just reading Young and Freedman). And all the pop science articles I’ve found are usually about the more “modern” areas of physics, such as cosmology etc.

So are there any suggestions for journals, websites, articles etc where I can read more about classical mechanics and see how it is developing as a field? Are there any sites which do this at the level of someone adding through Young and Freedmans Uni Physics?
You have not exhausted all there is to know about classical mechanics to jump into reading journal articles. For example, you have not learned about the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics yet, have you?

So maybe, start by picking up more books that fall under the category of advanced undergraduate text in classical mechanics. There are plenty. Texts such as Marion and Thornton, and Symon, are commonly used at the undergraduate level, and might provide you more stuff than you can handle at your level.

But an associated issue with this is that you just can't simply dive into any level of physics without having the necessary background in mathematics. If you have not mastered linear algebra, 2nd order differential equation, etc.. etc... then it doesn't matter what level of text that you pick up, you'll never be able to follow any of them. If you think Young and Freedmans is too easy and insufficient for you, then maybe your next step is to delve into more advanced mathematics first, rather than dive head on into more advanced classical mechanics texts. Without the necessary math, you lack the tools to tackled the physics.

Zz.
 
  • #5
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If you read Goldstein, leave out the chapter on non-holonomic constraints, which is wrong.
You often say that, but I don't remember that you ever explained what exactly is wrong. Can you give a short explanation here? (Or give a link if you already explained it somewhere before.) Thanks! :smile:
 
  • #6
vanhees71
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  • #7
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There is a lot of physics curriculum oriented ideas and information which has been posted in answer to your inquiry.
Especially because you are just starting as an undergraduate and do not have a lot of time invested, and because you like mechanics, I suggest you broaden your examination and look to fields outside physics as well.

For example, the journal of guidance, navigation, and control, concerns engineering rather than physics. However, many of the articles treat the angular and translational motion of aerospace bodies in space under the influence of thrusters, Stability is a major issue. I could give other examples, This is real cool stuff.
Another example is the optimum path for orbital rendezvous for different performance measures, (minimum time paths, minimum fuel paths, etc). It is quite likely if I had broadened my outlook, my graduate work would not have been in Physics. I have no regrets, because I like my current work is along these lines rather than my doctoral training.

However, you will still run into the problem that you are unlikely to be able to understand all aspects of the journal articles in the journal of guidance navigation and control, with only a year of college behind you. Eventually, after a few years of undergraduate, and maybe a little grad work, it will be more clear. The journal may point you towards current trends in this area.
 
  • #8
vanhees71
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Indeed, it's very good advice to every physics enthusiast not to specialize too early to one subject. Looking at physics from the perspective of future job perspectives, it has the advantage of opening very broad varieties, i.e., you may end up in a lot fields after obtaining a degree in physics. E.g., if I look at the former students from my institute (we work on relativistic heavy-ion collision theory), everybody got good jobs after getting their MSc or PhD degrees, ending up in finance, computer development, R&D in the automobile industry (autonomous driving), which shows that even after some specialization, in this case to theoretical physics, dealing with (quantum) many-body systems using quantum field theory, kinetic theory, hydrodynamics to describe the matter produced in heavy-ion collisions, you still find interesting jobs in a wide variety of fields. Of course, here for the employer it's not so much the physics expertise you gained with doing your research project but all the skills you got from doing this research, including computer programming, the ability to simulate real-world problems mathematically using computers (modeling + solution strategies) as well as soft skills like team work, etc.

If you look at physics as a whole you have many choices already when deciding for what you want to specialize in for graduation. In physics you can get from very theoretical (up to the edge of becoming more a mathematician than a physicist) to very practical in experimental physics (up to the edge of becoming more an engineer than physicist). So that's the opportunities open when choosing physics as your study, but it's also important to know of all these opportunities, and that's why it's indeed very good advice to encourage a broad view on physics as a whole to figure out what one likes to do most in specializing to a subject for graduate work.
 

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