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Suggest a physics textbook for me

  1. Apr 10, 2006 #1

    I've just completed my 10th Grade exam in India and the results are not yet out. I'm starting preparation for +2 with the combination Physics, Chemistry, Math and Statistics. I'm looking for the best Physics textbooks at this level.

    Currently I've bought Concepts of Physics by H.C. Verma and Physics by Halliday and Resnick (1967 edition, reprinted in 1990) along with Problems in General Physics by I.E. Irodov as suggested by my teacher. He specifically said that the 1967 edition was far better than the current Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resick and Walker. He has also mentioned University Physics by Sears and Zemansky to be a good book.

    Our syllabus includes Classical Mechanics, Universal Gravitation, Hydrostatics, Friction, Classical Wave Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Electromagnetism, Geometric and Wave Optics, Elementary Quantum Mechanics (including Atomic structure, Radioactivity, Nuclear energy, Fission and Fusion and Wave-Particle Duality). Some basic Relativity theory wouldn't hurt either. I'm looking to take one of the toughest engineering entrance tests so I need a firly advanced level treatment of these topics short of full-blooded undergraduate matter.

    My question is are my choice of books appropriate and if not what else should I go for? On a related note, are Feynman Lectures on Physics likely to help me with my coursework? Thank you.

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 10, 2006 #2


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    Halliday and Resnick is an excellent choice for first-year college physics. You really cannot go wrong with it.

    The Feynman lectures are beautiful and interesting, but won't help at all in developing your problem-solving ability. Consider them leisure-reading material.

    - Warren
  4. Apr 11, 2006 #3
    What do you mean by college physics here? In here a college teaches the graduation course (aka the Bachelors), but I'm preparing for the post+2 engineering entrance exams for the graduation course in Computer Science (BTech). This is age-wise more or less equivalent to the US 12th grade (average age of examinee around 18).
  5. Apr 11, 2006 #4
    Even then you can't go wrong with Resnick et al.
  6. Apr 11, 2006 #5


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    Halliday and Resnick and Concepts of Physics by H.C. Verma are excellent books for your class 11 physics.

    Problems in General Physics by I.E Irodov has a collection of challenging problems, which should help for your entrance test. Your teacher has suggested very good books.

    If you can, take a look at the problem books from Arihant.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2006
  7. Apr 11, 2006 #6
    Sears and Zemansky is just as good, I used it. Very well written.
  8. Apr 11, 2006 #7
    Hi Siddharth,

    You are probably directly familiar with the situation here.

    1)Will completely going through Verma and Halliday Resnick and solving the problems prepare me completely for IIT-JEE? i

    2)I am told that some of the Irodov problems are so difficult that they take days to solve alone, do I really need to do those?

    3)A website on the IIT-JEE suggests Circuits engineering by R J Smith. Is this really necessary or will the electromagnetism part in Verma and Halliday suffice for IIT-JEE?

    Thank you very much.
  9. Apr 11, 2006 #8
    Also, is it true that the 1967 edition of Physics by Halliday and Resnick better than the current Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resnick and Walker? I've a suspicion that my teacher was biased by the use of cartoon strips in the new edition :)
  10. Apr 11, 2006 #9
    I actually learnt the basics from one of those older editions (from the 60's or 70's) - a Wiley Eastern Edition. It didn't help much in the use of calculus and vectors. For that I went throught Kleppner which is a great book, too. Apart from seeing it at bookstores, I haven't gone through the more recent editions of Resnick.
  11. Apr 12, 2006 #10
    That's the one I have, '67 Wiley Eastern edition.
  12. Apr 12, 2006 #11


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    I'm hesitant to answer such questions, because I don't have enough experience. You should ask this to your professors, who have been training students for these competitive exams for a long time.
    The first two books definitely help improve your physics knowledge IMO.
    I've never come across the book by R J Smith.
  13. Apr 12, 2006 #12
    I can understand how do you feel..everyone feels like thain the beginning..
    but most important is maintain your enthusiasm till the end,,what JEE requires is sincerity and regularity..now coming back to question,,

    If you do H.C.Verma ,,and see previous years papers,,it will take you right through..But i will advice trying Irodov problems because that will generate interest and clear your concepts finely..And coming back to Arihant as Siddhartha said,,i would say it wont give you conceptual undestanding logically but its writer has done probelms nicely in his own way..
    By the way,i have taken a course under H.C.V and Arihant's writer D.C.Pandey was my Teacher when i used to study in the coaching..

    Finally above all considering the time domain and your focus on +2 ,stick to HCV,,its the best..
  14. May 3, 2006 #13

    i guess you are right

    i use resnick/halliday 6th edition its brilliant
    but in the 12 th std when you learn optics its not that good
    for that you will have to use Arihanth Optics
    Its (Halliday) brilliant for electrostatics and the electricity chapters though and also for themodynamics.
    for NLM use hcv and the for rotational mech use Arihanth.

    See according to me Irodov is not of much use now.
    Do all the sums in exercises of Fundamental Physics.

    For Chem stick to OP Agarwal and JD lee for inorganic
    For organic it has to be Morrison and Boyde run to Arihanth Organic for the problems and exercises.
    Physical chem use RC Mukhrjee -Chemical calculations.

    For math use AD gupta and ML Khanna (My fav).
  15. Jun 9, 2006 #14
    hello friends

    i want to appear for AIEEE and BITSAT 2007.But Iam going to start my preparation this year.Well can anybody suggest me some good books on objective questions for PCM.
  16. Jun 10, 2006 #15
    For everything you can use Resnick+Halliday+Krane...

    Please don't...this book (at least when I read it in 04-06) is plagued with errors, misprints and conceptually wrong ideas.

    Irodov is still a logical necessity for those prepping for JEE...if you are exclusively preparing for BITSAT/AIEEE then you can leave this book.

    Organic = Morrison & Boyd + Students Solutions Manual ; Peter Sykes
    Inorganic = JD Lee, NCERT
    Physical = Schaum

    [/QUOTE]For math use AD gupta and ML Khanna (My fav).[/QUOTE]

    If you want to get your concepts right and you are preparing for JEE, then "Educative JEE Mathematics" by Dr. Kapil Joshi of IIT Bombay is a must.

    For problems, I recommend Khattar & Khattar, TMH, Asit Dasgupta.
  17. Jun 21, 2006 #16
    Hello frnds.
    As ive mentioned before iam preparing for AIEEE/BITSAT 2007.I want to knw which could serve a s a good book for Physics (Objectives): Book by TMH like AIEEE Physics.How about objective physics - D C Pandey (Arihant).Or any other book tht u ppl knw?I want toknw in particualr of the TMH and D C Pandey book? which Will it be a good keeping in mind the level of exams iam focussing on and the time left with me(around 7-8 months)
    Id prefer a book with quens of varied levels ...brief theory(useful points) with concise solns .

    I sahll be grateful u cud satisfy my queries
    Thanx a lot
  18. Jun 21, 2006 #17
    Hello Pallavi

    I never took BITSAT but from my experience at JEE and AIEEE, I can tell you that the best way to excel at exams like AIEEE is to be able to do a particular class of problems in finite time rather than difficult/genuine problems. You will rarely come across problems of the second class and this is why many people who prepare for JEE by solving all kinds of crazy questions face problems solving these "simple" problems at AIEEE.

    There used to be a saying that anyone preparing for IIT well will obviously excel at other exams. It gave a feeling that other exams are easier which might be true, but they are tricky in another way. There you have no chance to show your ingenuity but you have to solve say 100 multiple choice questions in 50 minutes like a zombie without worrying much. So I think every exam has its own sphere of complexities and poses different issues for required preparedness.

    I do not recommend Arihant books primarily because they have been written by people who can only give you haindwaiving arguments and solutions. As I have probably pointed out in this thread earlier, sometimes the solutions are downright wrong! And you might not even find out what step is wrong in the utterly messy mathematics that follows just to impress readers!

    If you are in school preparing for any competitive exam, Resnick+Halliday (old) is a must for understanding. I personally did not like Resnick+Halliday+Walker much, but people use it mainly because its just one book. If you can get Resnick+Halliday+Krane, it would be as good as getting the old additon (not Walker).

    As for mathematics, "Educative JEE Mathematics" by Dr. Kapil Joshi of IIT Bombay is an excellent book. But there are no workarounds in understanding so you will have to devote your full time and effort to doing this over and above your coaching pursuits.

    Hope that helps....


    EDIT: Actually if you are just preparing for AIEEE/BITSAT then older solved papers and sample papers books should be useful....sometimes questions are repeated, esp in Mathematics as they don't seem to come up with genuine questions all the time!
  19. Jun 22, 2006 #18
    well ... thanx a lott for tht guidance vivek
    hmmmn could you satisfy some more queries>?
    Ive got this book IIT Maths by M L Khna.Well this one gives subjective quens.
    Now there is another book available "OBjective maths" by MLKhna.I do not know much about this one .But considering the time constraint do you think its better to opt for a book that emphasises on objectives and ofcourse gives their solns and also some theory formulae and their applcns in the beginning.Is OBJ maths by MLKhanna one such book (any idea ???)

    Which one should i choose...IIT maths MLK is really intimidating...afterall its better to complete one good book rather than opting for 2 or 3.which one should be a good option.Or do you have any other book to recommend?
    Also let me knw more on the maths bk mentioned by you (Eductv JEE mts)
    thanku very much
  20. Jun 22, 2006 #19
    Yes this used to be a popular book at one stage....

    I have no idea about this book by Khanna as I never used it. I saw some of my friends using it but I can't give you a first hand account. There is no way you can learn mathematics by using a book's solved problems and formulae to work your way through. You have to do a lot of problems that force you to think differently. You can actually do a LOT with the time you have...when I was preparing for the JEE, I always thought I had less time to read and so I felt I should stop reading and solve problems instead, but it was a bad idea and I soon felt like going back to the theory to revise and reinforce my concepts. When I could do that, I felt more confident solving the problems.

    Also, do not go for objective (multiple choice) questions before word (subjective) problems...word problems build your basics and give you the confidence you need to answer MCQs. Otherwise you will just be ticking your way through the MCQs often unaware of the theory behind them. Thats where this new JEE pattern is bad for students like you. This new emphasis on MCQs makes people belittle the word problems which reprogram your brain to think "properly".

    Take Objective Mathematics by Khattar and Khattar, its very thick and good for JEE but if your interests are in AIEEE then I can say that RS Agarwal (CBSE) + some old AIEEE and drill papers should do the job. In that case you can opt for the Objective version of MLK if you find it easy.

    http://www.universitiespress.com/shopping.asp?categoryID=-1&isbn=81-7371-474-6 [Broken]

    I won't discourage you from reading this book but considering the time you have, you would be better off reading some critical topics from this book first if you buy it. Please do not read it like a story book...it is a textbook you must read every line very carefully and work everything out yourself. The errata exists on the author's website where there are a whole lot of corrections, additional solutions, etc.

    Personally this is the best book I ever read from while studying for JEE. And my interactions with the author made my interest in mathematics grow n-fold from a subject for an exam to a beautiful pursuit in itself.

    Feel free to write back...

    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  21. Jun 22, 2006 #20
    Well I knw that one cannot opt for the objectives without the subjectives.
    But If i have to study IIT Mts MLK first and then try out the objectives then iI think I will have to sit back with maths the entire day
    (Well I come frm such a stagnating place for educn that for buying books for entrnce prepn one needs to travel for a day...so here I rely only on opinions and info on net)
    Anyway I read the descrpn of the bk mentioned by you and for a while i was tempted to buy it.But practically what should be a good option.As far as OBj maths by MLK is concerned I myself do not knw much abt this book.

    Also I want to knw abt thsi bk IIT Chemistry by OP AG.Does it give theory subj or obj?
    Also I found this bk OBJ Chem by OPAg a good one ..but the publcn (JPNP) includes it under their medical entrances category.
    what are your suggestions for chem

    Also for Phys...what do you think about TMH bks.Do you have any idea abt bks by DEB Mukherjee...or Kumar and Mittal

    thanx a lott
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