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Russian math and science (chemistry and physics) textbooks

  1. Oct 9, 2014 #1
    I want to learn math and science from the ground up as my foundations are very weak. Most people I asked recommended that I try to get my hands on Russian textbooks as they are the 'best of the best'. Hearing this got me interested! I have six questions:

    1. Are the Russian math and science textbooks really the 'best of the best'?
    2. Why are these Russian textbooks so good?
    3. I want to learn K - 12 math/science and first year college math/science from the ground up, are there translations of Russian textbooks based on what I'm looking for?
    4. I will require textbooks that are comprehensive, precise, proof-based and to the point. Do most Russian textbooks do this?
    5. If I go to college having done math and science only from Russian textbooks, will I be disadvantaged in any way? It seems that most Russian textbooks aren't very detailed!
    6. Finally, could I please get some K - 12 math/science and first year college math/science textbook recommendations to help me learn math and science from the ground up?

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 10, 2014 #2


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    I know some Russian textbooks that are all excellent, of course only in English or German translation. The following ones are classics in their field and all excellent (theoretical) physics books:

    Landau, Lifshitz, Course on Theoretical Physics, 10 vols.
    Among those, in my opinion, outstanding are Vol. 2 (classical field theory), Vol. V (thermodynamics and stat. phys.), vol. IX+X (quantum statistics in the Green's function representation of (nonrelativistic) QFT, kinetic theory)

    Abrikosov, A. A., Gorkov, L. P., Dzialoshinski, I. E.: Quantum Field Theory Methods in Statistical Physics, Dover Publications, 1976

    Bogoliubov, Shirkov, Introduction To the Theory of Quantized Fields

    Faddeev, Slavnov, Gauge Fields
  4. Oct 10, 2014 #3
    Russian textbooks are the best of the best, just do research into every book mentioned on this site
    whether mentioned in the comments (e.g. Kiselev Geometry) or in a post, (e.g. Piskunov Calculus). There are a lot of 50-100 page books on there that are for beginners, e.g. little mathematics library series, but just try reading every book mentioned on there for the next 2 years ;)

    (Edit, I literally didn't even read your comment saying "best of the best"! No joke, I swear I said that on my own!)
  5. Oct 10, 2014 #4


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    Hats off to every maths/physics/chemistry book published in the former USSR (including a few in Ukraine, the rest in Russia). Indeed, there's a particularity that makes Russians excellent writers+teachers.
  6. Oct 10, 2014 #5
    1.Yes, this is true for math
    2. I can just speculate
  7. Oct 11, 2014 #6
    I have noticed things in Russian books ripped off from old British and French books a number of times. I view them as non-dumbed-down updated rewrites of those books with theoretical physicists in mind.
  8. Oct 11, 2014 #7
    Well, it depends. Generally speaking, Russian (or, to be more precise, the Soviet period) textbooks are written in a rather "academic" style. That has two consequences. On the one hand, they may be more difficult to read for an undergraduate student trying to familiarize him(her)self with the subject. On the other hand, the authors usually try to stick to the mathematical and academic rigor of the topic, which makes the books a very good add-on to the general English-language scientific library.
    In some areas, the Russians fell behind the West; in others, they achieved excellent scientific results that may be useful for Western readers.
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