1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Planning my books for my first year in physics

  1. May 7, 2017 #1
    Hello. Based on very good reviews on this site I have chosen the books Kleppner Kolenkow Mechanics and Purcell Electricity and Magnetism to study the physics coursework for my first year in university.

    So heres my question: Does Kleppner Kolenkow cover all the prerequisites I am going to need for Purcell? The reason I ask is that I noticed that my course in Electricity and Magnetism begins with an introduction to waves, which doesn't seem to be present in K/K or Purcell.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 8, 2017 #2
    Shankar's Fundamentals of Physics I covers way you should need to know about waves. The lectures for those chapters(and the rest of the two books) are free to watch:

    http://oyc.yale.edu/physics/phys-200#sessions
     
  4. May 8, 2017 #3
    Do yourself a favor and get a copy of A. P. French's "Vibrations and Waves".
    Purcell does not cover waves because in the Berkeley Physics Course they were covered in the third volume: "Waves" by Crawford. (Another interesting and enlightening textbook, but I would not suggest it to be used as a first introduction to waves).
     
  5. May 10, 2017 #4

    vanhees71

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    2016 Award

    Abstain from Purcell. We have so many discussions on the confusions caused by this book that I have the impression it's doing more harm than good. There's another book with a similar approach to E&M which is much better, namely the one by Schwartz (he's also a Nobel Laureate, if this is the incomprehensible reason for the many fans of this book to like it).
     
  6. May 10, 2017 #5
    Maybe it's the 2nd edition you're talking about? Morin co-authored Purcell's book in the 3rd edition and it's hard to imagine that it would cause some confusion since his mechanics text is superb and clear, however I wouldn't know since I've never used Purcell.
     
  7. May 10, 2017 #6
    Thanks for the answers. Yeah the book I am refering to is the third edition.
     
  8. May 10, 2017 #7
    Based on some quick research schwartzes book seems like it is even more advanced than purcell, which a lot of people seem to think is already quite rigorous for a first E&M course.
     
  9. May 10, 2017 #8
    You can also supplement KK and Purcell with Alonso: Fundamental University Physics.
     
  10. May 11, 2017 #9

    vanhees71

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    2016 Award

    What I'm referring to is the observation that in this forum, whenever somebody is refering to Purcell, there is great confusion concerning the way he treats relativity. I'm very sure that it's not scientifically wrong, but in his attempt to make things pedagogical, which seems to mean for him to use a minimum of mathematics, he makes things less clear than he could by first providing the mathematical background (i.e., in this case 4D vector/tensor calculus in Minkowski space) and then applying it in a straight-forward way to the physics. This is, how it's done in, e.g. Landau&Lifshitz vol. 2, which has a great treatment of classical Electromagnetics using the relativistic approach right away. The book by Schwartz, in my opinion, is of the same level of sophistication as Purcell's, but it's less "pedagogically deformed" ;-).
     
  11. May 11, 2017 #10
    Classical Electromagnetism by Ohanian also emphasizes the relativistic approach, which seems to be better than Purcell in terms of the issue you're talking about. He also teaches tensors right away in the first chapter which makes everything much easier and less "pedagogically deformed".
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted