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Which one? (DE textbooks)

  1. Mar 20, 2012 #1
    I'm considering self-studying differential equations, ordinary and partials, and for this I need a good book that teaches. I checked some universities syllabus and found that the most recommended texts are these:




    However I found this one with an excellent review:


    Considering the high price of these texts, I need to pick one that's really excellent, no missing theories, or proofs, and touches as well the qualitative methods, with nice illustrations and figures of course.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 21, 2012 #2
    Re: Which one?

    I'd say you go to a library (of any nearby university) and check them out for yourself. Those are, as you say, pretty standard texts and won't be difficult to find. Have a look at them first, decide which one you like best, and then buy if you have to.

    In my opinion, the best of those you mentioned is Boyce - diPrima. I also like Coddington - Carlson
  4. Mar 21, 2012 #3
    Re: Which one?

    Yes I did already, and based on my very little knowledge of DEs, I found the Zill and Cullen is quite interesting with all these graphs and illustrations. However I'm not sure how it compares to others in terms of mathematical rigor.
  5. Mar 21, 2012 #4
    Re: Which one?

    Zill is the least rigorous ODE book I've experienced but you don't need a lot of rigor for a LD ODE course, particularly if you want to be applied (though you should learn about existence and uniqueness of solutions). I've said it many times but I like Ross, Differential Equations.


    If your library has this one, I'd recommend giving it a shot.
  6. Mar 21, 2012 #5
    Yeah this is very concerning to me, rigorous! I don't want to pay a lot for a text that it's not complete. I prefer a pure mathematical text, but I don't know how to measure rigorous when it comes to DEs. What about the Dover's ODE?
  7. Mar 21, 2012 #6
    Define rigor in DE world? :)
  8. Mar 21, 2012 #7
    The books you posted are mostly for applied/computational differential equations courses.

    Ordinary Differential Equations by Garrett Birkhoff and Gian-Carlo Rota is a rigorous textbook. I recommend a background in calculus at the level of Apostol's Calculus or Spivak's Calculus. Linear Algebra would also be beneficial, but it's not required.
  9. Mar 21, 2012 #8
    Thanks. But ~400 pages for ~$233??? And old text???
  10. Mar 21, 2012 #9
    And 2.5 out of 5 stars?

    Sorry this is overpriced I guess.
  11. Mar 21, 2012 #10
  12. Mar 21, 2012 #11
    Yup I will go with this one first. Thanks.
  13. Mar 21, 2012 #12
    Sellers on sites like Amazon and AbeBooks usually list it for much less. I picked up a used copy for $10.
    Yes, it seems as though some readers were not happy with some typos and mistakes toward the end of the book. They shouldn't be a problem to an active reader though. One of the reviews on Amazon sums it up perfectly.

    I hope that Tenenbaum and Pollard's book works for you. It's not rigorous, but it's pretty complete. :)
  14. Mar 21, 2012 #13
    I've not ordered it yet, but how it differs from the Diprima or Nagle's in terms of math rigor?
    What I would benefit from buying the more expensive texts in learning DEs?

  15. Mar 21, 2012 #14
    I have never used Nagle, but I have used Birkhoff & Rota, Zill, Boyce & DiPrima, Edwards & Penney, and Tenanbaum & Pollard (yes, I have a lot of differential equations textbooks :biggrin:).

    What parts of differential equations interests you? Are you interested in the theory? applications? modeling? And what is your current mathematical background?
  16. Mar 22, 2012 #15
    Interested in both theory, and applications in general, with no specific engineering or science area.

    I took Calculus courses up to multidimensional and vector calculus. I took a linear algebra and numerical analysis courses.
  17. Apr 9, 2012 #16
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  18. Apr 9, 2012 #17
    Still trying to find a textbook?

    That textbook looks similar to the other standard introductory differential equation textbooks: Elementary Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems by Boyce & DiPrima or Elementary Differential Equations with Boundary Value Problems by Edwards & Penney. Looking back at your course experience, I think that one of those two textbooks would be suitable. You can find copies of previous editions on sites like Amazon or AbeBooks for about $10. The only real difference between the current edition and the most previous edition is a few more exercises and one or two applications.
  19. Apr 10, 2012 #18
    PDE's - Farlow - $10 (USD)
    This book is pretty useful at getting you started in PDE's, introducing the different classifications, and how to approach them. It is written for beginners to PDE's, and so is very easy to read compared to most math books, and is short so it doesn't take much time to read. After that, you can pick up a more advanced text. It's also extremely cheap and makes a decent reference. In a pinch, you could probably read most of this painlessly without studying ODE's first (probably not the best idea, though).

    ODE's - Arnold - $48
    This book is extremely rigorous, and not your average DE book - it emphasizes geometric concepts in DE theory. If you are very strong with calc and linear algebra, this is a great book. Topology/Abstract Algebra would help, but you can get by with looking up things as you go. If you've just taken the first 1 or 2 calc courses in ugrad, you will probably want to hold off on this for a bit.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  20. Apr 12, 2012 #19
    I still cannot decide...some reviews of the books make me hesitate. :(

    I don't mind paying a lot for a book which is solid and rigorous, with a lot of theories, figures, and proofs.

    Differential Equations with Boundary-Value Problems by Dennis G. Zill looks promising...

    I had the chance to review it and it's full of figures and very rigorous and colorful.

    Thanks for advice anyway.
  21. Apr 12, 2012 #20
    I used Zill for my intro to DE's course - it was an older version of this one. If the two are anything alike, I don't think it is what you are looking for.
  22. Apr 12, 2012 #21
    Now I changed my mind again...so what am I looking for? I dunno really.

    Lets say I bought them all, which parts of which books to use for which subjects so that I have rigorous explanation and proofs on each topic?
  23. Apr 12, 2012 #22
    How much experience do you have with theorems and proofs?

    Have you worked through Spivak's Calculus or Apostol's Calculus?
  24. Apr 12, 2012 #23
    IMHO, good enough to understand any decent text :)

    Spivak's yes...but not Apostol's.

    But at the same time I want something modern, not outdated text in style and content.
  25. Apr 12, 2012 #24
    I don't think you need to go through Apostol's calculus if you've already been through spivak's book. Stop wasting time and move on to the more interesting realms of math!!
  26. Apr 12, 2012 #25
    Yeah my course I assigned to myself is DE :D, which is the one I missed.
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