Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Prerequistes for landau/lifshitz mechanics

  1. May 19, 2012 #1
    hi everyone. for the summer, i'm planning to go through the first book in the landau/lifgarbagez series, which is mechanics i believe.

    I am wondering about the prerequisites for being able to successfully understand the material (physics, math, etc.)

    my background: I took ap physics c: mechanics (calc-based introductory mechanics) a couple of years ago. I did pretty well in the class, got As and 5 on the test. but I havent taken a physics class since, and i mightve gotten pretty rusty. shouldn't be too hard to get me back up to speed though.

    i have taken calc 1-3 and linear algebra. i am taking differential equations (basic ODE) right now.

    do I have sufficient background to plow through landau? or should I read a relatively easier textbook (suggestions?) first?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 20, 2012 #2
  4. May 20, 2012 #3
    How does fowles compare to, say marion and thornton, or taylor?
  5. May 21, 2012 #4
    On the first page Landau introduces generalized coordinates and on the 2nd page he discusses the least action principle. In principle you have the pre-requisites but you might want to have several other sources at hand while you're studying in case you get stuck and need other perspectives.
  6. May 21, 2012 #5
    http://www.pa.msu.edu/courses/phy233b/VideoLectures.html [Broken]
    would get you more than up to speed while these:
    http://nptel.iitm.ac.in/courses/115106068/ [Broken]
    introduce Lagrangian & Hamiltonian mechanics based on exactly your background so that you could then watch these:
    which are closely based off of Landau & Goldstein.
    Other lectures like these:
    are also good to have.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. May 21, 2012 #6
    Have you taken a vector calculus course? If you have, then I would still advise a slightly less advanced book. Fowles is my personal favorite and would be good for your background. If you have not taken vector calculus, you should study that alongside mechanics, or even do a week of quick overview of Lagrange multipliers, multiple integrals, etc.

    If you make it though Fowles, or feel that it is too slow, then there is no problem with picking up Landau and reading it instead or on the side.
  8. May 21, 2012 #7
    i noted in my op that I have taken calculus 3 already, which includes lagrange multipliers, partial derivatives, and vector analysis (line/surface integral, green's and stokes's theorem).

    I checked my school library and they have the following books: fowles, taylor, morin, and symon. the analytic mechanics class in my school uses marion and thornton. Do you know if these books are of the same level more or less? or is fowles easier or harder than the other four?
  9. May 22, 2012 #8
    The thing about the Landau and Lifgarbagez classical mechanics book is that it is really terse and elegant. It is much better for summing up things that you already know than explaining them in an expository manner in the first place.

    I recommend watching Leonard Susskind's stellar video series on classical mechanics* first. I generally learn better from books than videos but these talks are outstanding. Once you do that, Landau & Lifgarbagez will shed additional light on the subject as well as addressing more sophisticated problems.

    * Unfortunately I am not allowed to include a link because I have not reached ten posts. Maybe someone else can follow up with the link. There are two versions; you probably want the second ("Modern Physics: Classical Mechanics (Fall 2011)") because the video is higher quality.
  10. May 22, 2012 #9
    Oops, I must have missed that. I used Marion/Thornton before, and it's probably around the same level as fowles. Taylor is a bit too easy/lacks rigor in my opinion, and I have not used Symon before. You might want to check out Goldstein as well - its a bit more advanced and on the level of Landau, but goes into more detail with the explanations. As the previous poster noted, Landau is good if you already have some background in the subject.

    Oh, and here is a link to the Susskins lectures:

    I personally think that they might be too shallow - best to just watch them for fun while studying the material in more depth with a book (or with some of the lectures sponsoredwalk linked you to). The IIT lectures (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5E4E56893588CBA8) are much better in my opinion.
  11. May 22, 2012 #10
    Symon is a classic text and is a bit more sophisticated than Fowles. I'm not familiar with the others, but obviously if you intend to take the course that uses M&T, it would be helpful to be familiar with that book.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook