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The right amount of Resources for a self-study attempt

  1. Sep 4, 2014 #1
    I am self-studying Physics in the second year of my undergrad(too late i know) as I never really understood many basic concepts in my high school as clearly as i now do.

    In my enthusiasm to teach myself Physics I bought a number of books but none seem on par with stuff described on many forums by advanced learners.. I am terribly confused which text to use as an accompaniment to MIT-OCW Lectures.

    I am taking Classical Mechanics and plan to take Electricity and Magnetism followed by Vibrations and waves. (i cant get the ohanian anywhere..please suggest a substitute)

    So I need you guys to advise me about the texts i use to accompany the above courses..... I have the following texts and I have access to a huge library so please tell me which books i should retain and which i shouldn't,
    I have:

    1. Fundamentals of Physics- Halliday, Resnick, Walker 8th edition extended
    2. H.C.Verma concepts in Physics

    I have borrowed the following:
    3. Problems in general physics- Irodov
    4. Laws of Mechanics- Irodov
    5. Electromagnetics- irodov
    6. Newtonian mechanics- A.P.French
    7. Mechanics volume 1 berkeley course

    Should i get the Feynman Lectures; Landau and Lifshitz? Are they too advanced.. When can i use them if they are?

    Also Please suggest courses like Walter Lewin's series on OCW for UNDERGRAD level..these topics
    Special and general relativity
    Quantum mechanics
    Thermodynamics and statistical physics
    Solid state physics
    Nuclear and Particle physics
    Atomic and Optical physics

    All my preparation is aimed towards enabling myself to handle concepts with ease and appreciate the subject but at the same time prepare me for the screening test for a masters in my national university :P
    Thank you so much people!
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2014 #2
    Some good early books are:
    Kleppner&Kolenkow and Morin for intro mechanics
    Morin&Purcell and Griffiths for intro E&M
    French for intro waves+vibrations
    Feyman Lectures can be quite interesting
    The old three volume Alonso and Finn appears as if it might be a nicer intro than the modern intros.
  4. Sep 4, 2014 #3
    I wouldn't quite jump into GR yet, but once you get all the intro stuff done:
    are some nice GR books

    (stuff like MTW and Wald are trickier to start with I think)
  5. Sep 4, 2014 #4
    For QM you look at stuff like: Griffiths and Gasiorowicz and then Shankar and Ballantine and Sakurai
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014
  6. Sep 5, 2014 #5

    George Jones

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    Do you mean "Schutz"?
  7. Sep 5, 2014 #6
    Oops yeah that is who I meant. I guess I somehow combined Schutz with Schwarzschild hah. Or maybe I was thinking of Schwarz of GSW strings book by accident.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  8. Sep 5, 2014 #7
    thank you guys, but is Fundamentals of Physics not useful at all? :'(
  9. Sep 5, 2014 #8
    Walter Lewin uses a little bit of Calculus in his courses, especially in 8.03 from what I have seen of it. If you are not comfortable with notation like [itex]\nabla \cdot B[/itex] and [itex]\nabla \times E[/itex] you may want to add a book on Multivariable Calculus into the cart.
  10. Sep 5, 2014 #9
    i was thinking i'd do the linear and multivariable math courses on OCW while i tackle classical mechanics and Electricity and magnetism!
  11. Sep 5, 2014 #10
    I went through lectures of MIT 18.02 multivariable calculus by Denis Auroux a month ago, I think it is a very accessible course. They have all the lectures uploaded to youtube, it makes it pretty easy to follow. It assumes background in single variable calculus though.
  12. Sep 5, 2014 #11
    Many good books have been mentioned here, some of which you already have. I'd go with

    Mechanics: French's "Newtonian Mechanics" first, then Kleppner & Kolenkov.
    Waves: French's "Vibrations and Waves" (a masterpiece!), then if you have the time Georgi's "The Physics of Waves" (it's free to download from the author's page, God bless him).

    EM: First I'd go with a used copy of Kip's "Fundamentals of Electricity and Magnetism", and after that Purcell and Morin's second volume of the Berkeley Physics Course.

    Thermo, not sure. Perhaps Zemanski first, and Reif after that. Callen if you prefer the axiomatic treatment.

    Quantum: I like a lot Eisberg and Resnick's "Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei, and Particles", 2e

    And for general texts:
    The Feynman lectures online (I can't believe how beautifully they have been rendered, with SVG graphics, too!)
    And a one in all tome by Ohanian, perhaps by searching through the various amazons in the rest of the world you can find an older version (they are better than the newer ones) at a reasonable price. I found the 2-volumes in one tome for 3 bucks! 2nd edition. Keep looking, it's a nice 'all-in-one' textbook.
  13. Sep 7, 2014 #12
    Thanks SredniVashtar, but what about D.J.Griffiths for EM? And Fundamentals of Physics?? I'm already through the first 6 chapters! D: I think I'll do it simultaneously with French's Newtonian Mechanics. But thanks anyway! I'll follow the rest of the sugested lists religiously i guess! :P Thanks everyone!
  14. Sep 7, 2014 #13
    Griffiths is a very nice text. If you already have that, there is no need to change.

    I am not a fan of Halliday and Resnick's big volumes, though.
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