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Calculus Will this calculus book 'clear' me for mechanics textbooks?

  1. Jan 20, 2016 #1

    I'm one of those people who's been trying to learn Physics for ages before finishing high school (writing it down like this really makes me sound like some hopeless nerd with nothing better to do..) but never got around to doing it because my calculus knowledge sucks so much. :-)

    My knowledge of relevant topics is:
    - high school algebra
    - high school trig
    - high school physics (that being mechanics and some SR all in one dimension)

    To me, it seemed like the thing I lacked the most was a solid background in Calculus: our textbooks only cover the processes of differentiation and integration in very little detail. Thus, I started working myself through the seventh edition of Calculus Early Transcendentals by Stewart about a month ago. This textbook covers:
    - Limits and Riemann sums
    - Differentiation, integration and their applications in Maths
    - Integration strategies
    - Differential equations
    - Polar coordinate systems
    - Infinite series, including Taylor series
    - Vectors and vector functions
    - Partial derivatives and vector calculus

    Combining these topics with my high school knowledge, will I be competent enough to get through a book such as Taylor's Classical Mechanics while being able to focus on the Physics instead of feeling mathematically incompetent? *also, if any of the topics above (the ones from the book) are useless to my pursuits, please tell. I'm pretty sure they're all essential (and interesting in their own way) but I'd rather get to the physics as soon as possible*

    Kind regards
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2016 #2
    If I'm not mistaken, Taylor's classical mechanics is an upper division book. You should go through a lower division mechanics book like Kleppner first (which is not necessarily easier than Tayloer).
  4. Jan 20, 2016 #3
    Thanks for the tip! Could you clarify 'division' just in case though?
  5. Jan 20, 2016 #4
    Lower division mechanics is mostly Newtonian mechanics (Which Kleppner is meant for), while upper division mechanics is Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics. Don't worry about what Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Mechanics is right now; just focus on Newtonian mechanics and calculus.
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