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Simple books teaching mathematics for undergraduate physics students, with examples

  1. Oct 29, 2008 #1

    I'm an undergraduate physics student at the University of Bremen,
    Germany. Our lecturers in theoretical physics always expect a great
    deal of mathematical knowledge from us in order to understand the
    lesson. However, much of this knowledge is provided in other lessons
    with a delay, or not provided at all. I in my first year of studying I
    have spent a great amount of time on searching for books to find the
    corresponding mathematical basics.

    I believe that I know the German books on mathematics or mathematical
    methods for physicists/engineers well, and I wanted to extend my scope
    to English books. I was hoping to find books which teach mathematical
    basics for theoretical physics and leave lots of space for practice,
    like examples, exercises, and (if available) solutions. I have found
    many English books similar to Arfken/Weber or Riley/Hobson/Bence, but
    these compendium-like books are not very helpful to me because they
    are too compressed.

    So I would like to know which books for the purpose of teaching
    mathematical skills are used for undergraduate students or beginner
    students in physics at your Universities? I would be very grateful if
    you could recommend me several books which choose a simple approach
    and leave much room for examples/practice.


  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 29, 2008 #2
    Re: Simple books teaching mathematics for undergraduate physics students, with exampl

    I recommend the book "Mathematical Methods for the Physical Sciences" by Mary Boas, it is like a much easier version of Arfken that still covers all the fundamentals.

    My other recommendation is to study mathematics for its own sake, in the mathematics department.
  4. Nov 12, 2008 #3
    Re: Simple books teaching mathematics for undergraduate physics students, with exampl

    Hi Crosson,

    thank you very much! I borrowed Boas' book and I like it very much. You were right, it was sort of what I was searching
    for, I already profited from some of its chapters (Fourier Series and Transforms, Dirac Delta Function - very well explained!).

    I would like to buy the book, and I also found an extensive solutions manual that I am interested in (Solutions of Selected Problems for Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences, Wiley, 2nd edition 1984, available here: https://www.amazon.com/Solutions-Selected-Problems-Mathematical-Physical/dp/0471099201/ref=sr_1_1). But as I read in the preface of the 3rd edition (Wiley International Edition) of the textbook, Boas restructured the book a lot, so I was wondering whether there is an update to the solutions manual (which is from 1984 and probably fits the second edition) to fit the 3rd edition? If not, would you recommend me to buy the second edition alongside with the solutions manual?

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