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Replacing introductory physics book with a set of more advanced books?

  1. Feb 3, 2013 #1

    I have been reading the textbook recommendations and they help me greatly already, but I need to ask for little guidance. My question is this: If you were to replace the introductory physics book ("Fundamentals of Physics", "University Physics", "Physics for Scientists and Engineers", or any such book) with a set of books covering the same topics, what books would you recommend - or would you?

    Why would I like to do this? I have studied some of the freshman physics courses some years ago (courses on Mechanics and Electricity and Magnetism). I am not studying physics as major subject, I am planning to have it as minor and also study it for my own enjoyment. I am currently learning more mathematics (from "Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering" by Riley, Hobson & Bence). I would like to freshen up my memory on the subjects I have studied, and go deeper into them (especially into mechanics, and I might find thermodynamics useful), and learn the subjects I have not yet studied, and also get more practice for my mathematics studies. In those freshman introductory physics books, most of the space is taken up by mechanics and e&m which I have already studied on that level, and the sections on for example thermodynamics seem very short. So they do not seem worthwhile. I do not currently have introductory physics book.

    Some titles I have seen recommended which would probably suit the purpose are: Symon/Taylor Classical Mechanics book, Purcell/Griffiths E&M book (also relativity?), Born+Wolf/Hetch Optics book, Reif Thermal physics book, Krane Modern Physics book, and Shankar QM book. Do you think these books would cover everything that introductory books have?

    In addition to my request for help in picking the books that cover everything that introductory physics books do, I have another question. If I replace the introductory physics textbook with more advanced (but still undergraduate, I would think) textbooks, will I miss something on the subjects that I am studying for the first time? Do the more advanced textbooks (for example, books on optics/waves, thermodynamics, modern physics, qm in my case) generally expect that the reader has gone through the introductory book first? Or is my idea for skipping the introductory book silly for some other reason?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2013 #2
    I'd replace Taylor with Kleppner, and Reif with Schroeder if your goal is to learn introductory material at a more advanced level, as opposed to just learning more advanced topics.
  4. Feb 3, 2013 #3
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  5. Feb 5, 2013 #4
    Thank you for your suggestions, Jorriss and alissca123.

    The next physics course I will attend is called "Radiation fields and photons". The subjects of the course are: "Changing magnetic fields and induction. Electromagnetic radiation and it's attributes. Maxwell's laws and the wave equation. Superposition and diffraction of waves. Refraction and scattering. Sound, vibrating string and standing waves. Basics of Fourier analysis."

    I believe that I need three different books to cover that course if I use this approach I have planned. E&M book, Optics book, and Classical mechanics book (I think they cover mechanical waves).
  6. Feb 5, 2013 #5
    I would recommend looking into Griffiths for E&M, Taylor for Classical Mechanics and Hecht (I believe) for optics. For more comments go to the physics textbook subsection. I believe they are all in there.
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