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Other What do you think of 'Methods of Theoretical Physics' ?

  1. Nov 1, 2015 #1
    Would you recommend this book as a first exposure to mathematical methods? How high a lever is this book of? Is it out-of-date or still quiet useful?
     
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  3. Nov 1, 2015 #2

    micromass

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    Most people refer to science book by their author. If you don't mention the author, we have no idea which book you're talking about.
     
  4. Nov 1, 2015 #3

    Geofleur

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    You are referring to Morse and Feshbach, no?
     
  5. Nov 1, 2015 #4
    Sorry, I will add the authors
    Yes, Morse and Feshbach.
    Is the book too advanced?
     
  6. Nov 1, 2015 #5

    dextercioby

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    The mathematics within is not out of date, but the book is too big and too dense for a first exposure to mathematical methods of theoretical physics.
    It's the sort of book you keep dear on a shelf like the MTW of General Relativity or the QM by Albert Messiah.
     
  7. Nov 1, 2015 #6

    jtbell

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    Boas, "Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences." is very commonly suggested here. If you use the SEARCH link at the top of this page to search for "Boas", and tick the box to restrict searches to this forum only, you'll turn up many discussions which include other books, e.g. Arfken.
     
  8. Nov 6, 2015 #7

    vanhees71

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    It's one of the best books on the subject ever written. Maybe, it's too advanced for a first encounter with "Mathematical Methods", but it's pretty useful also as a reference work for practitioners. A very good and comprehensive book, including a lot of "culture" besides the pure technical aspects is

    S. Hassani, Mathematical Physics, Springer

    but it's also pretty advanced. I don't know the book by Boas very well, but it seems to be well received as an introductory textbook. Arfken&Weber seems to be more a reference than a usual textbook, because it's too brief on the proofs.

    It's also useful to know, which particular subject(s) you want to learn at which level to give a more informed recommendation on textbooks.
     
  9. Nov 6, 2015 #8
    Thanks for your detailed reply!

    I think I want to learn mathematical methods to a level which will enable me to understand graduate level physics. My current backgrounds are multivariable calculus, linear algebra and a bit of differential equation. I do not have understanding with regard to rigorous mathematics.
     
  10. Nov 6, 2015 #9

    vanhees71

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    In my experience the most difficult subject for undergrads is vector calculus (div, grad, curl, and the integral laws by Gauss and Stokes). For this you usually find good summaries in textbooks on theoretical electromagnetism or fluid dynamics. A very good one is found in

    A. Sommerfeld, Lectures on Theoretical Physics, vol. II (Fluid Dynamics)

    You don't need to learn fluid dynamics to just read and understand this chapter on vector calculus. It's also not mathematically rigoros, but great to learn it for use in theoretical physics.
     
  11. Nov 7, 2015 #10

    George Jones

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    There are two books by Hassani, the more introductory "Mathematical Methods for Students of Physics and Related Fields", and the more advanced "Mathematical Physics: A Modern Introduction to Its Foundations".
     
  12. Nov 7, 2015 #11

    vanhees71

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    I don't know the former book, but if it is as good as the latter on the undergrad level, I'd think its one of the best sources to recommend!
     
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