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What to purchase with this textbook

  1. Jul 3, 2015 #1
    I am interested in purchasing An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics (2nd edition) off of Amazon. Many reviews have praised the depth and detailed and the fact that it replaced a ten-year old edition, but I was caught offguard by one reviewer that recommended the reader have knowledge of introductory physics and mathematics equations as well as diffe q (differential equations).

    I am pondering if I should purchase this massive book alone and avoid using over $200 on college textbooks when I haven't even started senior year yet OR if I should be safe and purchase some introductory calculus and physics textbooks with it to make the trip a bit easier for me.

    If you would recommend that I purchase introductory calculus textbooks are there any that YOU could personally recommend? Please keep in mind that I am good at math but I usually require teacher aid in learning it before I master it easily.

    As well what sort of introductory physics textbooks would you recommend to prepare me for the BOB (Big Orange Book)

    Thank you very very much :) :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 4, 2015 #2


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    It's not clear why you want to purchase this text or what your present level of mathematical knowledge is, but if you are talking about purchasing introductory calculus books, it would suggest that your purchase of an Astrophysics text is a bit premature. Same goes for the physics. If you have not studied any physics, you're going to be lost trying to make sense of the more technical sections of this book.

    This is a $200 college textbook, so IDK how you are saving any money.

    IMO, learn calculus and differential equations before paying out $200 for a book which will likely be a puzzle to you. Same with physics.

    If you want a book on astronomy (which doesn't have as much math to tackle), there are other books written for a non-specialized audience.
  4. Jul 4, 2015 #3


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    This is the book by Carroll and Ostlie, right? Professors and students normally think of textbooks using their authors' names rather than their titles.

    If so, and you are a high-school student who has not yet studied any calculus or physics, I think much of this book will be over your head, even though I've never used it myself. The usual prerequisites for an upper-level undergraduate physics course such as one this book is apparently intended for are:

    1. two semesters of calculus-based introductory physics using a textbook such as Halliday/Resnick/Walker "Fundamentals of Physics" or similar textbooks by Young/Freedman, Tipler/Mosca, Serway, etc.

    2. three semesters of calculus, through multivariable (vector) calculus.

    3. possibly also an introductory course in differential equations. I don't know whether it would be easy to skip over the heavy differential equations in this book.

    You can find a lot of discussion of textbooks for these prerequisite courses next door in our Science and Math Textbooks forum.
  5. Jul 5, 2015 #4


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    Imo spending $200 on a textbook that isn't required is lunacy :)
    There are plenty of resources online for learning physics + astrophysics
    If you really want to buy a text try to find a less expensive one... You would definitely regret buying a $200 book that doesn't work out
  6. Jul 6, 2015 #5

    George Jones

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    Do you mean senior year in high school, or senior year in university? jtbell and I suspect that you mean senior year in high school. In any case, why does your Physics Forums information page say that you have a Ph.D. in astrophysics?
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