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Which science textbooks/books are you reading?

  1. Jun 22, 2012 #1
    Which textbooks/books are you guys working through this summer?!

    I am working through:
    Analysis - Spivak
    Classical Mechanics - Morin
    Game Theory - Binmore
    Linear Algebra - Poole
    Molecular Biology of the Cell - Alberts.

    As of now,
    For Analysis, I am exploring definitions of functions.
    For Classical Mechanics, I am working on the F = ma expression.
    For Game Theory, I am working on the concept of Nash Equilibrium
    For Linear Algebra, I am trying review orthogonality in Rn spaces.
    For Molecular Biology of the Cell, I am learning some biochemistry.

    How about you guys? What are you guys doing?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 25, 2012 #2


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    I recently read Hanbury-Brown's "Boffin" (excellent), Taffy Bowen's Radar Days (not so great), Leslie Grove's "Now It Can Be Told" (extremely interesting), and David McCollough's "Truman" (outstanding). I've also been working through Kenney and Keeping "Mathematics of Statistics," Davenport and Root's "Random Signals and Noise" and Kay's book on Statistical Detection Theory.
  4. Jun 26, 2012 #3
    I'm in a classical mechanics kick so I'm studying that. I'm going over Kleppners freshman text.
  5. Jun 26, 2012 #4
    marcusl - I read the description of "Now it can be told" on Amazon and it seems very interesting. I'll definitely try to get my hands on this book!

    Jorriss: I'm doing CM too! There are so many things that I didn't study while doing the course. I regret having missed out on so much CM fun :P

    I'm trying to (re?)learn inner product spaces in Lin Alg right now. However, I don't think Poole's book does justice to the topic so I'm gonna supplement with Hefferon, Meyer and other online resources.

  6. Aug 9, 2012 #5
    You're doing five textbooks of that level of difficulty in your free time? Seriously? O_O

    I'm just doing some calc review. I have a copy of Calculus for Scientists and Engineers by Briggs, Cochran, et al. It's not great, but it has precalc through vector calc, so it's pretty much a one-stop shop.
  7. Aug 9, 2012 #6
    Ahh, how quickly my moods change... done with CM and working on statistical mechanics.

    I'm using a book by Tuckerman. He covers a lot of molecular dynamics while teaching stat mech and the topic choices are a bit unusual but very good.
  8. Aug 10, 2012 #7
    20Tauri - I was going through 5 textbooks at one point. But lately I've been travelling a lot so I've only taken Feynman Lectures and Poole's text with me. Cochran and Briggs seems to be too expensive for the quality they provide! I think you might find better, cheaper books for pre calc / calc review. I find Kline's Calculus book amazing for review. It's deep,cheap and neat. Also has a solution manual for free I think. Lots of applications. Look into it :)

    Jorriss - Indeed how quickly moods change. I have given up on CM. I hit too many roadblocks with Morin's super difficult questions..haha. Now I'm reviewing the pre requisites thoroughly using Feynman's Lectures. I just Amazon'd Tuckerman's stat mech book. It seems so unique! I'll definitely use this book when I'm studying stat mech; so thank you for that! :)

    Last edited: Aug 10, 2012
  9. Aug 29, 2012 #8
    I am not a physicist. If you wanted to be mean, you cd call me a wannabe. I have worked in computer networking in Manhattan for 20 and have Cisco certification. I know a thing or two but my interests are much broader and so topical than many of you. It appears there are many students here. Just to show off, my girlfriends father, who has sadly passed on, worked on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos. Otherwise, that is, before he died, he called himself an astrophysicist -- but he supposedly taught the physics of mining at a college in New Mexico, where he and his wife (girlfriend's parents) live. He met Feynman. And was fast friends with Hans Bethe. Once, Bethe fell ill during a party at their house. He slept in my girlfriends old room... strange. But he was ill. When I went to Los Alamos (yes, I know I haven't said a word about what I'm reading yet), he introduced me to this odd physicist (they all live there, keep their secrets, and pal around together), whose name I forgot. But he literally had a barn on his property (lots of space out there), where every Sunday he held "Critical Mass." He was a bit cuckcoo. But he told me something -- not being a scientist, all I recall was it was the mass necessary to start a successful fast-neutron fission reaction. Too little, no runaway avalanch of neutrons splitting other atoms apart exponentially. Too much, the U-235 (or whatever the isotope is) just blows itself apart in a big flash, with much deadly radiation. But the important thing is: he had calculated the amount for the first a-bomb, the amount of Uranium necessary to shove together to have a true fission event. So that was critical, of course. I have lots of stories about Los Alamos, but that's another thing. I am new, so forgive me. I need to explain a little. (Btw, I am a member of IEEE and AAAS -- also NCTE (I teach English!!!). I'm reading John Pierce's book on Information Theory: Symbols, Signals and Noise. It's an oldie but goodie. I am trying to write a topical exposition on Information Theory (the basics, but including what I know from a life in computing: binary, coding, encyphering/decyphering, and I'd love to get into network theory, but it doesn't really belong there. Hope you were at least entertained. You guys and gals should know, and be proud, that (statistically) physics majors are the smartest people on the planet. That is, we graduate 20,000 or so doctors from our higher ed institutions each year. But only 2,000 or so physics Ph.Ds. I don't think it has anything to do with money. When one is smart enough for physics, one is at least somewhat more interested in how the universe works than dollars. It's because it's so damned hard!!! So I wish I had that math ability at your level, but I wasn't trained that way (MS in Education) and couldn't handle if I could go back. For some reason, although I'm an expert in TCP/IP and network engineering generally, I turned my back on it after 9/11 and went to school to become an English teacher (there's a story there). Most of what I know is from bugging my two cousins (both PhD physicisits and doing interesting things, well, they were -- they're retired now), reading voraciously anything non-fiction. All the sciences. But physics is the Queen, so of course Feynman and Einstein and Witten and now, Claude Elwood Shannon, are heroes of mine. My cousin tauht calculus, btw, at a local college. He was the only guy in a 50 mile radius (we lived up in Hartsdale and Scarsdale Westchester) who could do it! No kidding. Stories, stories. People, you're gifted. Don't squander it. Work hard as hell. Know what you must backwards and forwards.. Learn how to do calculus so well you will never have trouble with it again in your whole life, not to mention other higher mathematics, or chemistry, biology, electrical engineering, whatever! This nation needs you guys and gals who are students. This world does. Exercise your exceptional noodles, learn as much as you can now. It gets much harder later on (you know physics is usually a young person's game.) Learn, and do something astounding. Big or small (I wrote the very first Desktop Publishing application in 1984 in Pascal on the mac when it had just come out... then Aldus (now Adobe) creamed me, sold the app to Letraset. Story there too, but I'm glad I was lucky enough to contribute. Remember it's a long run. Life is freaking long! There's more to know than anyone one person cd, well, know. And it is (technology, sciences) accelerating or advancing exponentially. Moore's law has been broken. We're faster than the year and a 1/2 (? I forgot. See, don't get older) as far as cpu power now. Maybe Kurzweil is right, the singularity is near!!! :) (lol).

  10. Aug 31, 2012 #9
    Hey Daniel!

    You and your stories seem so interesting! Thank you for sharing such lovely tales. And thank you for the inspiration. I have an inexhaustible thirst for knowledge and it won't be quenched until I find the absolute Truth. After that I plan on using that knowledge and myself to serve the World. The World needs us and it is my duty to serve it. :) Thank you for believing.


    Ohh and I don't know if it's my place to do so or not, but I'd like to welcome you to PF. I hope you enjoy your stay here as I have enjoyed mine. :)
  11. Sep 7, 2012 #10


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    Geometry of Algebraic Curves, Arbarello et al,,,, vol. 2.
  12. Sep 11, 2012 #11
    Not a physicist (yet) currently working through College Algebra by Dawkins which is going really well so far. Also got my hands on Feynman's Lectures on Physics recently, although I'm not quite up there with the math at this point and not yet attempting the complimentary exercises, it is still a very interesting read.
  13. Sep 12, 2012 #12
    Switching back and forth between Lang's Undergraduate Algebra and Artin's Algebra. I have to say, I like Artin much better (I got it on mathwonk's recommendation, actually... so thanks!). Considering I'm reading them in my off time, his conversational style is much easier to process.

    And I guess I'm "reading" Elements of Differential Geometry by Millman and Parker and Discrete Mathematics by Rosen, but those are for class, so they don't quite count.
  14. Sep 13, 2012 #13
    Ohh yes Artin's book is top notch; I have worked with that text for some time, although I did not have enough time to thoroughly finish the book. Very clear and challenging. A better alternative to Dummit and Foote in my humble opinion. I want to be taught more algebra by Artin but classes get in the way! :(
  15. Sep 13, 2012 #14
    Im currently reading Purcell's Electricity and Magnetism book as well as finishing up Apostol's 2nd volume.
  16. Oct 28, 2012 #15
    Been busy with classes but still manage to find a little time to read Freakanomics. Book seems very interesting but I remain skeptical of the authors' claims in the book. A very good read nevertheless, so far.

    VectorField would you say Purcell's book is better than Griffiths on the given topic? I'd always wanted a better, cheaper alternative to Griffiths.

  17. Oct 28, 2012 #16


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    I've been busy with classes and work, but I've been dabbling in Courant's "What is Mathematics?" and just finished Stewart's "Letters to a Young Mathematician".
  18. Oct 29, 2012 #17


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    Currently reading "principles and techniques of applied mathematics" by Friedman (from 1956). Am finding that it a fun way to learn a little about infinite dimensional vector spaces and spectral representations of differential operators (via contour integrals of Green's functions). I am not a mathematician, so this book is at a good level for me.
  19. Oct 30, 2012 #18
    Reading "Methods of Homological Algebra" by Manin and Gelfand for one of the classes. Doesn't tend to beginners in the topic too softly :(. I'm open to try other books on the subject. Any suggestions?

  20. Oct 30, 2012 #19
    Geometrical Methods of Mathematical Physics - B. Schutz
    Fluid Mechanics - L. Landau
    The Theory of Fundamental Processes - R. Feynman
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