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Thermodynamics by Callen

  1. Apr 22, 2010 #1
    I wanted to do some reading on thermodynamics and some people suggested the book "Thermodynamics and an Introduction to Thermostatics by H. Callen".

    Has anyone here read the book? What do you make of it? Do you have any suggestions?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2010 #2
    Hi! I've read the first seven chapters of Callen's great book and I definitely recommend it. It focus the mathematical formalism and helps you relate the physical reality with the mathematical arsenal in a way that I never saw. However, I suggest you read other books to complement Callen's. These are my suggestions:
    'Concepts in Thermal Physics' - Stephen and Katherine Blundell -- a great book, full of original exercises and great explanations.
    'Thermodynamics' - Enrico Fermi -- a classic; a small but worthwhile book.
    'Understanding Thermodynamics' - H.C.Van Ness -- a book that you must read before anything else; according to the author, it is a book that explains thermodynamics in a conceptual way without using advanced mathematics; a small book too.
    'Classical Thermodynamics' - A.B.Pippard -- a good book to read when you already know about the matter; it has good examples.

    Hope you find this useful.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2010
  4. Apr 30, 2010 #3
    Thank you very much miguelcf! Much appreciated!
  5. May 2, 2010 #4
    Other than a great reply by miguelcf, I would add that Callen is quite a historic book. I own it, haven't started to work through it, but for now I trust E.T. Jaynes' word in his 1996 paper on Gibbs paradox: "[The textbook] of Callen (1960) is almost the only one that recognizes the more complete and fundamental nature of Gibbs' work."
  6. May 10, 2010 #5
    I think Callen is the worst place to start with thermodynamics, because of 'Its focus on the mathematical formalism'. It suffers from mathematism. For example it introduces the (false) idea that enthalpy is a Legendre Transform of the internal energy: see elsewhere in this forum. If you want anything quantitative (=calculated) use Cengel. If you like science fiction try Callen.
  7. May 13, 2010 #6
    Thanks all. There has been a change of plans and I shan't be doing Thermodynamics or Stat mech. any time soon. Again, thanks anyway.
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