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Recommend me a book

  1. Feb 17, 2013 #1
    Recommend me a book?

    I'm in the early stages of a mechanical engineering degree. In my second semester of Calculus, currently taking Physics I. I'm considering buying another book to work through. The Calculus book used in this program (Larson 9th ed.) is ok, I don't have many strong dislikes as I'm not too concerned with extreme rigor. I do want to understand the math I'm learning however and find myself reading from multiple sources when possible (pauls online math notes, another calculus book I found, etc) to get a bigger perspective on the material.

    The physics book in this program (Serway and Jewett) I can't get into at all. So far it seems the most calculus they dare to throw at the reader is integrating a simple velocity graph (which is linear so you can break it up into areas of a triangle and rectangle...). I feel like in physics especially I may not be getting the best exposure to the material, and I have purchased a used copy of Halliday & Resnick's physics (pictured below), an older edition. I like it quite a lot, it is much easier for me to read than the newer books with fancy color pictures and dumbed down graphs.

    I'm seeking advice if I were to buy another book, would anyone recommend me something that will benefit me in a mechanical engineering program? I'm thinking a math book like Spivak or Apostol, etc, would be too proof oriented and over my head, but am open to suggestions. I do enjoy the copy of Halliday & Resnick but would I get more out of something a little more in depth such as Kleppner & Kolenkow? Or would a topic further along in my program be a good choice, thermodynamics or statics/dynamics, strength of materials, for example?

    Any opinions are welcome, as I said, I am considering maybe buying one other book in the near future and am curious what some other people think might be a good read.

    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/15809883/physics.jpg [Broken]​
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 17, 2013 #2


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    If you are interested seeing a physics approach to some of the mechanics you will be learning in your Mech. E. courses, a couple of nice-looking online texts are:



    In fact, several of the upper division undergrad books listed in


    may be of interest. They present a physicists take on mechanics, fluids, and thermal/statistical physics, as well as topics you may be less interested in (quantum mechanics and electrodynamics).

    Since you are at a university you will also have the benefit of significant library resources. Before you buy any book you should be able to spend some time with it - or perhaps just check it out and never buy it!

    EDIT: I just realized that you are in second semester calculus. These books may be a little too high level, although the first mechanics book I listed may be fine. You may need multi-variable calculus at least for many of these ... sorry for not paying better attention!


  4. Feb 17, 2013 #3
    No worries! These look like some interesting books, I'll definitely give them a shot! The other ones may still prove useful further along in my studies, I've saved their pdfs to my collection for future reference, thanks!
  5. Feb 19, 2013 #4
    Supposing my book purchase was leaning towards a mathematical book, and taking in to account my degree is in engineering, and I'm currently about half way through the Calculus sequence.., does anyone know of any literature that either covers the Calculus or goes beyond to topics relevant to my degree, that aren't geared toward more of a pure mathematics audience?

    I've seen a few books recommended quite often that are thought of highly, (Apostol, Spivak, etc.) and from what I have gathered, these books are excellent, they provide a rigorous offering of Calculus. I respect these books and what they offer, but at the same time, they reach a level deeper than I intend to go on the subject at the present moment.

    Put simply: what is a book suitable for engineering students covering Calculus and/or beyond?

    I've read A Tour of the Calculus by David Berlinski, and it was pretty great. It gave a historical and conceptual view into what the Calculus offers. Thinking on it, maybe thats it, whats a book that treats the Calculus from a conceptual viewpoint? I would much love more of the topic in this light.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
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