1. PF Contest - Win "Conquering the Physics GRE" book! Click Here to Enter
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Classical Studying Analytical Mechanics this July

  1. Jul 6, 2015 #1
    So I'm taking analytical mechanics next semester. The textbook they use is Thornton and Marion's "Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems".

    I want to learn it all this month. It is feasible, but extenuating. But there is another option.

    I could read Robert Fitzpatrick's Newtonian Dynamics http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/336k/Newton/index.html which is shorter, and probably contains the same topics. This book is recommended by Gerard t'Hooft's page on "How to become a good theoretical physicist".

    Which one should I choose considering my hasty plans?

    One drawback I consider from Fitzpatrick's book is that it contains only a small section on Hamiltonian and Lagrangian mechanics and it appears only till the end, while on Thornton and Marion, you are presented with it in the first 1/5 of the book, and I guess uses it till the end.


    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2015 #2
    Some things cannot be rushed. I believe the more time you spend with Hamiltonian mechanics, the better physicist you will be.

    Lagrangian too.

    I ended up re-taking undergrad classical mechanics my first year of grad school (MIT), and I was better off because of it.

    Take your time. As they say, if you don't have time to do it right, you must have time to do it again.
  4. Jul 6, 2015 #3
    I'll probably do it twice since I'll do it this month and during the next semester. But I do want to see all the topics involved in that class. I don't want to just see 20% of it. I have until about the 23rd of August to study.

    Do you know anything about Fitzpatrick?
  5. Jul 6, 2015 #4
    Looks solid, but as you mentioned Hamiltonian and Lagrangian dynamics get short shrift.

    I prefer mechanics courses to include the Hamiltonian and Lagrangian approaches to a lot of problems all through the semester.
  6. Jul 8, 2015 #5
    I think i'll go for Fitzpatrick book, since it'll be a quicker ride. I had a question though: do you think the title "Newtonian Dynamics" conflicts with a book on Analytical Mechanics? My guess is that no, and by Newtonian Dynamics one simply refers to dynamics that relies on newtons 3 laws, even if some of the mathematical formalisms weren't known to newton (This is my guess).

    Do you know why Analytical Mechanics is called Analytical? Is it meant to distinguish it from something having to do with "Computational" or "Numerical" physics?
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted