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Some useful Physics Books

  • 29-08-2004 1:40pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 27,645 ✭✭✭✭


    Just a few books I've found useful over the years in different areas.

    Optics:

    "Optics" - Hecht
    It's not cheap but it provides a very solid foundation in optics, both basic and relatively advanced. It's an essential read for anyone wanting to study optics in a more advanced manner.

    Applied Maths:
    "Advanced Engineering Mathematics" - Kreysik
    This book covers ALOT of topics, and provides examples for each. It doesn't give you proofs, but it is very useful as a reference guide to many mathematical tools and their usage.

    Mechanics:
    "Quantum Mechanics" - Bransden & Jocaine
    Comprehensive, if a little dense in parts, useful for a background in more advanced quantum areas.

    "Classical Mechanics" - Chow
    A solid mechanics primer, it covers most of the important areas, and sets one up for tackeling more advanced topics down the line. Definitely a necessary read for anyone looking at taking Classical Mechanics as a full theoretical subject at third level.


    Hope the above can be of use to someone :)


«1

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,135 ✭✭✭✭John


    A good FREE starter textbook (first year physics or for people like me who only use a tiny bit of physics) is available to download at Light and Matter


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,519 ✭✭✭✭dudara


    My favourite few

    "Classical Mechanics" by Chow
    Excellent fundamental text

    "Modern Quantum Mechanics" by Sakurai
    Thorough advanced quantum mechanics book, suitable for final years/postgrad level

    "Modern optics" by Fowles
    Small paperback book, but great handy reference and cheap

    "Electromagnetic Fields" by Wangness
    Everything you'll ever need on EM theory

    "Thermal Physics" Kittel and Kroemer
    The one book that I'll never ever sell. Worth its weight in gold. Statistical mechanics treatment of thermal physics

    "Solid State Physics" Kittel
    Yet another great textbook from Kittel, this time on the related subject of solid state theory


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,645 ✭✭✭✭nesf


    dudara wrote:
    My favourite few

    "Thermal Physics" Kittel and Kroemer
    The one book that I'll never ever sell. Worth its weight in gold. Statistical mechanics treatment of thermal physics

    A fantastic book I agree :) Well worth it's (quite hefty) price tag. Can't believe I forgot it on my list... :o


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,560 ✭✭✭Woden


    Two fairly essential physics books typically if we needed the answer we could find it in one of these

    Introductory Nuclear Physics - Krane

    Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei and Particles - Eisberg and Resnick

    and the fundamental one i went back to when i was going wtf

    Fundmentals of Physics 6th Ed. - Halliday, Resnick and Walker


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,523 ✭✭✭ApeXaviour


    I would appreciate if this was made a sticky..


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22 bcKay


    One of my 'keepers' is Physics with Modern Physics by Serway (I call it my bible)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 28 Ferrioxide


    University Physics is a great book as well. Handy as theres a bit of everything in there.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 47 emu-addict


    good books on physics? ANYTHING written by richard feynman.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,475 ✭✭✭Son Goku


    emu-addict wrote:
    good books on physics? ANYTHING written by richard feynman.

    He is brilliant, but only if you want to reach a certain level.

    And his explanation of Tensors isn't the best in my opinion.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,475 ✭✭✭Son Goku


    For General Relativity:

    Begin with Bernard Schutz's fantastic book "A first course in General Relativity."
    Presumes very little. Even though he says Special Relativity is required, he basically teaches it to you in the first two chapters.
    The requirement is an understanding of Vector calculus.

    If you wish to continue study after this get "General Relativity" by R. Wald.
    Hard, but it brings you up to date. The questions are a real challenge.
    It also contains an introduction to Quantum Gravity. However, do not try to learn GR from it. Read Schutz or an alternative first.

    Once you know General Relativity, the book by Ta Pei Cheng is good for modern Cosmology.
    Develops Physical intuition for General Relativity and is incredibly up to date on cosmology.

    For Quantum Mechanics I recommend only one book.
    There are countless books devoted to basic quantum mechanics, but many of them are basically the Schrödinger equation with a few "example wavefunctions". Furthermore, none of them discusses the Rigged Hilbert Space which actually underlies QM.
    If you want to know the actual foundations of QM then I recommend Principles of Quantum Mechanics by Ramamurti Shankar.

    EDIT: I hope the links aren't considered advertising.
    EDIT2: Just in case they are I got rid of them, they were links to Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, where the books could be bought.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,905 ✭✭✭misty floyd


    Could you recommend something that explains vector calculus? cheers


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5 apostata


    Hello,

    This may be classified as a naive question, but I'm looking for a good starter book on Quantum Physics. I'm not enrolled in school - it's purely out of conceptual interest. As a neophyte approaching QP from this point of view, could anyone suggest a good starter text? I find that, regarding this subject, I'm either forced to choose between a book that is 50% formulae or 50% new-age gobbledy-gook. I'm hoping that, somewhere, someone has written a book that sets out to illustrate the concepts in a straight-up (if not engaging) fashion.

    Many thanks in advance,

    Matt


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,178 ✭✭✭kevmy


    apostata wrote:
    Hello,

    This may be classified as a naive question, but I'm looking for a good starter book on Quantum Physics. I'm not enrolled in school - it's purely out of conceptual interest. As a neophyte approaching QP from this point of view, could anyone suggest a good starter text? I find that, regarding this subject, I'm either forced to choose between a book that is 50% formulae or 50% new-age gobbledy-gook. I'm hoping that, somewhere, someone has written a book that sets out to illustrate the concepts in a straight-up (if not engaging) fashion.

    Many thanks in advance,

    Matt

    Thats a bit of a tough ask. To avoid hand-waving arguments in QP you prob need a good bit of maths. I don't know your level of maths. I did Quantum Mechanics in 3rd year college I found the maths difficult. I found the Quantum Mechanics one mentioned in the 1st post good but then I had 2 and a half years of maths and physics behind me. If don't want to know anything about the Schrodinger Eq. or wavenumbers then your probably best of trying a book from a respected scientific author who is writing a book for the masses. I don't know any offhand as I didn't approach it from that angle.
    The problem with some of these is than they may seem a little new- agey in their explanations simply because the maths proofs are horrible (and trust me it is unless your one of the few that way inclined).


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5 apostata


    kevmy - thanks for the reply - it's more helpful than you think. Although my maths are not excellent (read: artist), I actually find Schrodinger et al very interesting. Understand what your saying about the "new-agey" language of the mass-market stuff. I suppose I'm searching for a middle-territory that may not exist (yet).


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,475 ✭✭✭Son Goku


    Jesus, I'm dreadful for never checking the stickies. Tell me your level of maths and I'll tell you a book that suits your level.

    In physics, there's always a book that suits.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5 apostata


    Son Goku - my math level (for all intents and purposes) is college-level. Again, I'm an artsy-type, but I'm a quick learner if the text is well-written. Hope this isn't too vague.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,475 ✭✭✭Son Goku


    apostata wrote:
    Son Goku - my math level (for all intents and purposes) is college-level. Again, I'm an artsy-type, but I'm a quick learner if the text is well-written. Hope this isn't too vague.
    David Griffiths "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics". See if you can get it from a library. It's ridiculously expensive.

    This is actually a book with the Maths and all.

    With regards to books which don't have the maths in full detail, but aren't "New Agey", it is unfortunate that the best one is in dutch "Kwantummechanica, Het Spectrum".

    In English however the best is "Introducing Quantum Theory" by J.P. McEvoy. It's only about twelve canadian dollars off amazon.ca. By far the best book in English if you don't want to read the maths.
    (The only one that talks about the interpretations correctly.)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5 apostata


    Son Goku wrote:
    David Griffiths "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics". See if you can get it from a library. It's ridiculously expensive.

    This is actually a book with the Maths and all.

    With regards to books which don't have the maths in full detail, but aren't "New Agey", it is unfortunate that the best one is in dutch "Kwantummechanica, Het Spectrum".

    In English however the best is "Introducing Quantum Theory" by J.P. McEvoy. It's only about twelve canadian dollars off amazon.ca. By far the best book in English if you don't want to read the maths.
    (The only one that talks about the interpretations correctly.)

    Thanks for the suggestions - coincidentally I know a little bit of Dutch, but probably nowhere near as much as I would need to grasp "kwantummechanica". I will definitely check out McEvoy's book and go from there. Thanks again.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 394 ✭✭tak


    "Solid State Physics" Kittel
    Yet another great textbook from Kittel, this time on the related subject of solid state theory[/QUOTE]


    You cannot be serious.

    Just look at the part on crystallography, where he starts using terms a few pages before he provides a definition of them.
    Kittel has a lot of useful tables of elemental property data.
    That is about it.

    Tak.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 232 ✭✭fluppet


    There's a new introductory Statistical Physics book written by three TCD lecturers that I found good - it's a lot clearer, but more basic than Kerson Huang's book on the subject. Advanced undergradate level. Classical and Quantum Statistical Mechanics, Numerical Simulation, etc. It's not perfect (and there are several typos in it), but as the Kittle book was mentioned and it's new so people might not have heard of it before, I thought I'd just tell you about it. 'Elements of Statistical Mechanics' by Sachs, Sen, Sexton (published by Cambridge Uni Press, who also have a new graduate level book out on the same subject).


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,548 ✭✭✭victor8600


    "Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You" by Marcus Chown, ISBN-13: 9780571235452 .

    This book is very easy to read even for non-physicists. There are no equations or diagrams in the book. And it is not dumbed down, just narrated very well.


  • Posts: 4,630 ✭✭✭[Deleted User]


    I thought Gravitation by MTW would have been mentioned. Brilliant, supposedly the best (the best I've read [half read], which isn't a lot to be honest) on general relativity. Only requires a small bit of knowledge in basic vector analysis and simple partial differential equations. And google provided the knowledge of any maths that I couldn't understand throughout (I'm in leaving cert, thus don't have college level maths).


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 11,148 ✭✭✭✭KnifeWRENCH


    Woden wrote: »

    and the fundamental one i went back to when i was going wtf

    Fundmentals of Physics 6th Ed. - Halliday, Resnick and Walker

    Ah good ole Halliday, Resnick & Walker - I regularly find myself going wtf? and this book nearly always sets me right! :D

    Can anyone recommend a good textbook for Thermodynamical & Statistical Physics? Our lecturer told us to get Statistical Physics by Mandl but tbh I don't find it that great. It's a bit tough going at times and doesn't make much effort to make the subject interesting.

    I'll see if our library has a copy of that book by Kittel mentioned earlier, but I'd like other suggestions in case it's not available.


  • Registered Users Posts: 492 ✭✭Burnt


    General Reference

    Handy when you just can think of that equation, in particular if working in industry,
    Carl Nordling & Jonny Osterman; Physics Handbook for Science and Engineering.

    Adaptive Optics
    The Bible, John W. Hardy, Adaptive Optics for Astronomical Telescopes start
    here then work on to more others; not cheap to get a hold of though.

    Lasers

    A E Siegman, Lasers, readable, reliable and comprehensive, The Book.

    + 1 for E. Hecht Optics, C. Kittel Introduction to Solid State Physics , Wilson & Hawkes Optoelectronics: An Introduction


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,327 ✭✭✭NeoSlicerZ


    Doing a course in Quantum Electronics and the course book is Photonics, Optical Electronics by Yariv. My background is Electronic Engineering, could anyone recommend a book to help me understand it? Find myself going "wtf" too much.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18 gordo.sands


    University physics. Young and Freedman. Great for the non-specalised stuff


  • Registered Users Posts: 76 ✭✭daragh8008


    Woden wrote: »
    Two fairly essential physics books typically if we needed the answer we could find it in one of these

    Introductory Nuclear Physics - Krane

    Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei and Particles - Eisberg and Resnick

    and the fundamental one i went back to when i was going wtf

    Fundmentals of Physics 6th Ed. - Halliday, Resnick and Walker


    Quantum physics Eisberg & Resnick, highly rate it! 5 stars

    Introduction to solid state physics by Kittel, poor purchase 1 star keep shopping any one else find this text a confusing mess?


  • Registered Users Posts: 598 ✭✭✭transylman


    daragh8008 wrote: »
    Quantum physics Eisberg & Resnick, highly rate it! 5 stars

    Introduction to solid state physics by Kittel, poor purchase 1 star keep shopping any one else find this text a confusing mess?

    Agree. Physics of semiconductor devices by Sze is probably the best book in the area.


  • Registered Users Posts: 41 Bodicea


    The book that first got me into physics (15 years ago) was Isaac Asimovs X stands for unknown. He was great a making things seem so easy to understand and a great book for the young or complete beginners.

    I know the more advanced among us would scoff...but nobody explains e.g. the properties of water and light quite like him and I've read practically every physics book I ever came across.. Its such a shame he's out of print.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,038 ✭✭✭sponsoredwalk


    I wonder has anyone heard of Walter Greiner & his 14 (I think) book course
    on theoretical physics? Just found out about them, they look unbelievable!
    Here is the first in the series & you can google the rest but as far as I can
    see on amazon & from reading about them the books come jam packed
    with worked examples following the textual discussion.
    There are no problems at the end of the sections but you can always just
    work the worked example before reading the solutions & there appears to
    be plenty! I'd love to hear anyone's experience with these baby's!

    As for recommendations, well to self studiers I'd recommend the A.P.
    French M.I.T. books because they come with solutions to the problems. I'd
    also recommend the Manchester Physics series due to the inclusion of
    solutions. Another huge bonus is that the chapters have like 20 challenging
    questions instead of 120 ones of varying degree, I always feel ancy if I
    skip some :(

    My thinking is that you could go from undergraduate to graduate using
    the A.P. French series, the Manchester physics series, David Griffiths series
    Wangsness E&M, Desloge Classical Mechanics, Goldstein, Shankar QM,
    Schultz GR, Peskin/Schroeder. Obviously I haven't read most of these &
    there's probably more than this but they all look great from reading up on
    them like crazy! Someday! :D
    Books like this & this make me cry :(
    in a good way


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