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Thread on book recommendations

  1. Mar 8, 2005 #1
    Since it comes up so often, would it be a good idea to sticky a thread on book recommendations? It seems to especially come up a lot in this forum...
    Just a thought.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 12, 2005 #2
    Best QM introduction is Bransden and Joachain.

  4. Mar 12, 2005 #3


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    The best introductory book on QM is D.J.Griffths:"Introduction to Quantum Mechanics"...


    P.S.I hope u all people knew that...:wink:
  5. Mar 12, 2005 #4
    Best QFT introduction is QFT in a Nutshell by Anthony Zee

  6. Mar 12, 2005 #5


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    It's very difficult to prescribe a book on introductory QFT,because it alle depends on how much QM and mathematics one knows.From what i've seen,there are really elementary approaches by Greiner in "Field Quantization".

    One muust understand that classical field theory is a must.However,there are not too many books on this topic (especially Hamiltonian formalism for classical fields).

  7. Mar 12, 2005 #6

    Dr Transport

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    Undergraduate books:

    Freshman: Halliday and Resnick

    Intro to QM: you take a guess, there are so many out there

    E&M: Wangsness

    Thermodynamics: Sears and Zemansky
    Statistical Physics: Reif in the Berkeley series
    More advanced UG, Statistical/Thermo: Reif

    Mechanics: Marion and Thornton

    ALL of the Landau series are very good, but difficult to master initially
    E&M: Jackson followed by Schwinger
    QM: Messiah, Sakaurai, Schiff
    Statistical Mechanics: Huang
    Solid State: Ashcroft and Mermin, Yu and Cardona for semiconductors
    Many-body theory: Mahan, Kittel for solid state
    Mechanics: Goldstein
    QFT: Mandel and Shaw
    Classical Field Theory: Landau
    Optics: Born and Wolf (if you have a mathemeatical background), Klein and Furtak
  8. Mar 18, 2005 #7

    Tom Mattson

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    Note: All off topic posts have been deleted.

    As for book recommendations, here are my favorites.

    Introduction to Electrodynamics by Griffiths
    Modern Quantum Mechanics by Sakurai
    Quarks and Leptons by Halzen and Martin

    In the near future, I'll get my recommendations for my favorite free e-books posted. One of my hobbies is searching for the "Best of the Web". You might be amazed to find out that there are sufficient materials out there for a motivated person to educate himself up to the level of an MS degree in physics.
  9. Mar 18, 2005 #8
    Thanks Tom!

    Freshman: Serway "Physics for Scientists and Engineers"
    E&M: Griffiths "Introduction to Electrodynamics"
    QM: Shankar "Principles of Quantum Mechanics"
    Thermodynamics: Zemansky and Dittman "Heat and Thermodynamics"
    Particle Physics: Griffiths "Introduction to Elementary Particles"

    Electrodynamics: Jackson "Classical Electrodynamics" (I know a lot of students don't like this book and I wasn't too pleased with it when I first took it, but looking back this is a good text book, but a great reference!)
    Stat. Mech.: Pathria "Statistical Mechanics"
    QM: Sakurai "Modern Quantum Mechanics" and "Advanced Quantum Mechanics"
    Mathmatical Physics: Arfken and Weber "Mathmatical Methods for Physicists"
    QFT: Peskin and Schroeder "An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory," Weinberg "Quantum Theory of Fields," Aitchison and Hey "Gauge Theories in Particle Physics," Zee "Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell" (unlike some people, I would not advise reading Zee's book as a first go at QFT, there are a lot of subtleties to his book that I think are lost on you the first time round)
  10. Mar 21, 2005 #9


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    JJ Sakurai's "Advanced Quantum Mechanics" is a QFT book.It's worth taking a look in all Griffith's books.(I know of only 3).

  11. Mar 22, 2005 #10
    Books that I used as an undergraduate and found to be pretty good

    EM: 1) Reitz, Milford and Christy Foundations of Electromagnetism 2) Jackson Classical Electrodynamics 3)Vanderlinde Classical electromagnetic theory

    QM: 1) Schwabl Quantum Mechanics and Advanced Quantum Mechanics 2) Sakurai Modern Quantum Mechanics

    Thermal/SM: 1) Reif Thermal and Statistical Physics 2) Kerson Huang Statistical Mechanics

    Solid State: 1) Kittle Introduction to Solid State Physics 2) Singleton Band theory and electronic properties of solids

    I do suppose that some of these books may not be familiar to you Americans as they are published by Oxford University Press or Springer-Verlag.

    I don't like any of Griffith's books on EM or QM. The gulf between their content and graduate texts like Jackson is really too much.
  12. Sep 11, 2009 #11
    Re: Books

    Classical Mechanics By Desloge (Elementary)
    Classical Mechanics By Goldstein (Advanced)
    Mathematical Methods Of Classical Mechanics By Arnold (More Advanced)

    Introduction To Electrodynamics By Griffith (Elementary)
    Classical Electromagnetism By Ohanian (Elementary)
    Principles Of Electrodynamics By Schwartz (Almost Advenced)
    Classical Electromagnetism By Frankein (Advenced)
    Classical Electrodynamics By Jackson (Advanced)
    Classical Electromagnetism By Schwinger (Advenced)

    Quantum Mechanics:
    Introduction To Quantum mechanics By Griffiths (Elementary)
    Quantum Mechanics By Zettili (Elementary)
    Lectures On Quantum Mechanics - Mathematical & Structural Foundations By Isham (Elementary)
    Quantum Mechanics By Cohen (Advanced)
    Quantum Mechanics By Kramers (Advanced)
    Quantum Mechanics By Ballentin (Advanced)
    Quantum Mechanics By Schwinger (More Advanced)
    Quantum Kinematics & Dynamics By Schwinger (More More Advanced)
    Geometry Of Quantum Theory By Varadarajan (More More Advanced)

    Quantum Field Theory:
    Quantum Field Theory In A Nutshell By Zee (Elementary)
    Quantum Field Theory By Ryder (Elementary)
    Quantum Field Theory By Srednicki (Elementary)
    Field Theory - A Modern Primer By Ramond (Almost Advanced)
    Relativistic Quantum Mechanics & Field Theory By Franz Gross (Advanced)
    Quantum Field Theory By Zeidler (Sofar As I Know, 2 Volume From This 6 Volume Epic Published, Vol I - Basic In Mathematics & Physics, Vol II - Quantum Electrodynamics) (Advanced)
    The Global Approach To Quantum Field Theory By Bryce Dwitt (More More Advanced - This Is An Epic Book By A Great Physicist)
  13. Sep 11, 2009 #12
    Re: Books

    Add Newtonian Mechanics and Vibrations and Waves by A.P. French
  14. Sep 12, 2009 #13
    Re: Books

    I think "Books" may be a bit broad for a sticky.

    I think Zee's book is too clever for a first book on QFT. I'd recommend Greiner, Field Quantization. Ryder is also still very good, but doesn't have exercises.

    Nayfeh & Brussel, Electricity & Magnetism
    Schwartz, Principles of Electrodynamics

    Taylor & Wheeler, Spacetime Physics, 1st paperback ed.
    Hartle, Gravity
    Carroll, Spacetime and Geometry
  15. Sep 12, 2009 #14
    Re: Books

    General Physics (freshman): Alonso & Finn
    Undergrad QM: Bransden & Joachin or Zettili
    Undergrad Mathematical Methods: Boas, Wylie, Bender & Orszag
    Undergrad GR: Schutz
    Undergrad DE: Shepley L. Ross, Coddington, Tenenbaum & Pollard, Strogatz (nonlinear DEs)
    Undergrad PDE: Habermann
    Undergrad Numerical Analysis: Dahlquist, Epperson
    Intro to MATLAB: Hahn

    Can't think of any good undergrad EM or Classical Mechanics (Lagrangian + Hamiltonian) books. For the former we used Griffiths, and personally I don't like that book or his QM one, and for the latter we used Marion and Thornton, which is OK, but not good or great. Compared to the quality of the books above, I don't think Griffiths or Marion & Thornton (M&T) are in the same league. M&T is the only book, I believe, covering classical mechanics at an undergrad level, so you're pretty much stuck with it. While I'm telling you the books I don't like, I should add the Chabay & Sherwood book for general physics.

    Can we recommend pure maths books as wel?
  16. Sep 12, 2009 #15

    George Jones

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    Re: Books

    Note that this thread is over four years old.
    I have never looked at it, but what about Classical Mechanics by John R. Taylor,


    For me, Hartle for GR.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  17. Sep 13, 2009 #16
    Re: Books

    Could someone edit the first post and put all the recommendations into one post? Pure math books could also be added. That would certainly be more helpful than having to search through Mathwonk's "Who wants to be a mathematician?" thread every time. Possibly one post for physics books and one for math. As more recommendations come in for certain books, we could rank the books also according to subject. What say?
  18. Sep 16, 2009 #17
    Re: Books

    I am looking for a book on basic statistical physics and kinetic theory. Is there any books that sort of helps you transition from thermal physics to statistical mechanics? I used Thermal Physics by Ralph Baierlein

    But I am looking for something a little bit more fundamental and beginnerish. I noticed quite a few ppl put Statistical Physics by Huang. Is that a good book for beginner? ty in advance
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  19. Sep 16, 2009 #18
    Re: Books

    Statistical Physics by Huang is terrible. I had to use it for a Stat Mech class in grad school. Just read the Amazon reviews of it (I wrote one of them- that is how bad I thought that book was).

    His Statistical Mechanics book is good for a graduate level text.

    What level are you at? What have you studied previously?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  20. Sep 16, 2009 #19
    Re: Books

    Thanks for the reply. Too bad the Huang book is not for UG's since its pretty cheap.
    I am a 4th yr physics major. For math, I have taken cal i to iv, intro to pdes, an intro course in probability (1 variable continuous probability) 1 basic linear algebra and one complex analysis course. For statistical physics I have taken a intro statmech/thermal physics course, course got up to partition functions and canonical distribution. I can't really remember now. I just want to brush up on my basic statistical physics so I won't suffer as bad when I take a 4th lvl stat mech course next term. thanks
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