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

Recommendations for math textbooks for a physics undergrad

  1. Jan 13, 2005 #1
    I'm in the second year and was wondering about which to buy for some mathematical analysis: Apostol or Rudin?

    And my second subject is linear algebra. We did have a course in the first semester, but it was just too fast to grasp. I would like a few recommendations on what to buy.

    Both these books will be used for self study.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 13, 2005 #2
    Strang for Linear Algebra
    Use Rudin for Analysis
    Courant for Calculus (good physics applications)
    Apostol Calculus is good as a 'traditional textbook'
  4. Jan 13, 2005 #3
    Linear Algebra - Strongly agree with the Strang recommendation; his book is a standard. Be sure to head over to ocw.mit.edu and check out the free videotaped lectures from his linear alg. classes (course 18.06). He is a terrific lecturer. There are also plenty of homework problem sets (w/solutions) and old exams (w/solutions). Stay away from "Matrix Theory" by Leon.

    Analysis - Rudin is the classic, no doubt about it. You'll want to have it for reference no matter what. For a first introduction, though, many folks have better luck with Steven Lay's book or even Zakon. Zakon offers his book for download from his page at the University of Windsor. Lay and Zakon are different from Rudin in that they "bridge the gap" between the calculation-based based courses (Calc., DiffEq. LinAlg) to classes requiring proofs. I recommend downloading Zakon's book, taking a look, and if it feels too easy, go straight into Rudin or similar.

    Finally, don't underestimate Schaums guides. They will never replace a good textbook, but having a stack of solved problems (albeit with occasional mistakes) to work through can be invaluable. They are cheap and I know that they have them for Linear Algebra and Advanced Calculus (as well as about every other subject under the sun!) They are also VERY useful when the GRE subject tests roll around and you need to review.
  5. Jan 14, 2005 #4
    Thank you. :smile:
  6. Jan 17, 2005 #5
    Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences - Mary L Boas

    This is the most diverse and CLEAR book I have ever seen. I highly recommend it.
  7. Jan 8, 2010 #6
    please anybody with textbook on how to build transfomerless power inverter
  8. Jan 8, 2010 #7
  9. May 14, 2011 #8
    Why would a physicist need a full course in real analysis based on a book like Rudin? It seems like a lot of hard work for little return. Err... whoops timestamps. :(
  10. May 14, 2011 #9
    Yeah, old thread, but I do agree with you. The kind of analysis that physicists need is something more like the ancient Whittaker & Watson, A Course of Modern Analysis.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook