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Why do I find engineering math textbooks much more understandable?

  1. Oct 13, 2007 #1
    In many of the topics in math i hav learned so far, i just found that engin textbooks such as <advanced engin math> are much more understandable and yet covering similar depth of contents than mathematic methods book such as aftken&weber which my teacher choose as reference book for e course.
    I think the latter is of so much worthless words that only makes the topic harder but not its usability.. Any way why learn anything thats not useful if I'm not a math major?

    Does that mean I'm not suitable for science studies such as the physics major I'm taking now?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 13, 2007 #2
    I have that too. Interesting question.
  4. Oct 13, 2007 #3
    You think arfken and webber is overly verbose?

    They hardly explain anything. The only way to learn from that book is to do problems IMO.
  5. Oct 13, 2007 #4


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    Different books [styles, content, motivations, etc... ] appeal to different people [possibly, at different times in their lives]. So it depends on what you are after. Some would regard all of these "engineering math" and "math methods" books as "cookbooks" mainly useful for looking things up. For an "end-user", they might be sufficient... but for real understanding, one needs to go beyond these types of books.
  6. Oct 13, 2007 #5

    yrp, i think a&w is merely a summary style text.. i can hardly learn anything from it no matter how hard i tried.. i am begining to regret buying it..

    anyway i think boas did a better job in explaining.. but boas spent too much words of explaining while simple words can do the same..

    i kind liked wiley.. any body read that book before? i think its the most engin style book i hav read.. liked it very much..
  7. Oct 14, 2007 #6

    Gib Z

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    Echoing what robphy said, Engineering books lack proper mathematical rigor ={ Which may be why they are easier to understand sometimes, because too much rigor can cloud intuition. I've seen many times when a simple relation that can be shown easily by some algebraic manipulation, has to go through a long induction proof to prove formally. To get the best of both worlds, cross reference both books, bringing understanding to rigor is the best thing a student can have.
  8. Oct 14, 2007 #7
    I think non-rigorous approach is good for developing intuition, but sometimes it just confuses people. May be the best is to read non-rigorous text until the point you feel confused and then read rigorous text to clarify things. It is like difference between proofs in physics and proofs in math.
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