Schaums Outlines good for non-physics people?

Eupraxis
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:06 pm

Schaums Outlines good for non-physics people?

Postby Eupraxis » Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:42 pm

Hi All,

New poster here. I am currently a practicing civil/environmental engineer with a PE license who has always been interested in physics, but for a number of reasons felt that pursuing a PhD in the subject was out of reach (despite good physics/math grades [a few B's, mostly As, nothing lower]). My opinion has now changed and I am giving it a go!

Given that my background is not in physics but engineering (applied math/industrial undergrad, biological/environmental masters), I wanted to round out my physics knowledge for the PGRE. To that end, I bought a number of the Schaum's outline series since they have a ton of examples and problems, which is how I learn best (by making mistakes and figuring out why).

Has anyone else used these and if so, could you share your experiences?

Many thanks!

blackcat007
Posts: 378
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:14 am

Re: Schaums Outlines good for non-physics people?

Postby blackcat007 » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:49 pm

Eupraxis wrote:Hi All,

New poster here. I am currently a practicing civil/environmental engineer with a PE license who has always been interested in physics, but for a number of reasons felt that pursuing a PhD in the subject was out of reach (despite good physics/math grades [a few B's, mostly As, nothing lower]). My opinion has now changed and I am giving it a go!

Given that my background is not in physics but engineering (applied math/industrial undergrad, biological/environmental masters), I wanted to round out my physics knowledge for the PGRE. To that end, I bought a number of the Schaum's outline series since they have a ton of examples and problems, which is how I learn best (by making mistakes and figuring out why).

Has anyone else used these and if so, could you share your experiences?

Many thanks!


its a nice book for your last weeks before PGRE, given you have already done the basics. I believe you are referring to the 3000 solved problems??
although some of the topics are quite nicely handled by giving good examples.. but it is not exhaustive. I would suggest to go through some textbooks like Resnick, Griffiths to first build up your basics, and simultaneously you can complement your study by doing problems from this book..

mobytish
Posts: 102
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:44 pm

Re: Schaums Outlines good for non-physics people?

Postby mobytish » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:17 pm

I have a few of these outlines and they vary a little bit in their level of helpfulness. I haven't been through too many of them so far, as I'm preparing for the April test, but here are my thoughts so far:

Lagrangian Dynamics: Not helpful if you haven't really learned it before. Most of the problems have very little of the work shown in the solutions, making it hard to tell how it was actually done.
Optics: I like this one a lot. It's practically a complete companion to the Hecht book, following the same outline and with some of the same problems appearing in each. Problems are explained clearly.
Thermodynamics for Engineers: Since you were engineering, this might work, but for me, it was not very helpful. I used this book while I was taking the course and it introduced many concepts not being used in my course, so most of the problems were useless.
3000 Solved Problems in Physics: Very helpful for reviewing the basic concepts of introductory mechanics and E&M. Not comprehensive, but the solutions to the problems are relatively clear.

My general strategy has been to go through one-quarter of the problems in each book (one-half if there aren't that many), then go back around and do another quarter (or half) if I have the chance. If I have a textbook, I go through the chapters of the book as I'm going through the corresponding sections of the outline. I use 3000 every time I get tired of working through the upper level material and need a break.

I hope this helps. Which test date are you preparing for?

Eupraxis
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:06 pm

Re: Schaums Outlines good for non-physics people?

Postby Eupraxis » Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:19 am

Thanks all for the advice. BTW: I am taking the April 2010 exam.

OK...looks like I will need to invest in some good textbooks. Any suggestions (intermediate to advanced leve texts that cover GRE level and slightly above are preferred as I already took the AP Physics C in HS and wave phenomena in college)? I would like to get them for the following:

A. Mechanics
B. E&M
C. QM
D. Special Relativity
E. Optics (unless covered in E&M texts)
F. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
G. Solid State/Atomic and Nuclear Physics/Particles (sorta the grab bag topics)?


I have the following Schaums:

1. Physics for Engineers and Scientists: So far this is OK, but often there are erros or typos that I have to verify before I know I got it right. Overall, I know this stuff already, but need to re-aquaint myself with the details before plowing forward into the new stuff.

2. 3000 Solved Physics Problems: Looks great, was going to save this till near the end of the test so I can work on speed.

3. Lagrangian Dynamics: Was a bit dissappointed in this. Not many detailed solved problems. I could really use a good recommendation for a comprehensive Mechanics book.

4. Modern Physics: Covers Special Relativity and Basic QM and Molecular Dynamics

5. Quantum Mechanics: Looks pretty in-depth and rigorous to me...haven't started it yet.

6. Fluid Mechanics: Looks very well laid out. I think it may be too advanced for the test, and I have the most experince with this in my job.

Thanks again all for your helpful advice. Overall, I'm looking forward to your textbook suggestions...and Im sure Amazon is too ;-)

pqortic
Posts: 398
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:24 am

Re: Schaums Outlines good for non-physics people?

Postby pqortic » Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:14 am

you may go through Griffith's books for E&M and QM which are pretty good resources as they are discussed in other threads but the first book that you need to buy is Halliday(extended ed.). you won't need other resources for optics, relativity and thermo if you master the Halliday book.

geshi
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:01 am

Re: Schaums Outlines good for non-physics people?

Postby geshi » Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:29 am

I support pqortic in saying Griffith's E&M and QM books are good if you want intermediate/upper level UG work. Although I did have classmates in UG that said they hated Griffith's books. They felt the books were a little too complex and not enough explanation or something like that. I personally loved them. I've never used Halliday, so I won't comment there.

As far as Classical Mechanics goes, I really like A.P. French's Newtonian Mechanics or Thornton/Marion's Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems. For Thermo, I really like Schroeder's Thermal Physics book.

Never had a course in the other subjects you were asking about, so I'll just leave you with the aforementioned couple of suggestions.

mobytish
Posts: 102
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:44 pm

Re: Schaums Outlines good for non-physics people?

Postby mobytish » Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:16 am

For Thermodynamics, I used Carter's "Classical and Statistical Thermodyanmics." One thing that helped in working with textbooks was to spend some time searching online for homework solutions. Many professors with online syllabi for their course websites (if the course was completed during a different semester than the current one) will post the solutions to the homeworks as the class works through them. This is infinitely helpful in using the text as a resource to learn the material.

Eupraxis
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:06 pm

Re: Schaums Outlines good for non-physics people?

Postby Eupraxis » Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:34 pm

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. I also spent some time looking at outlines from various university physics courses to see what they are assigning as the main text (looked at Harvard, MIT, CalTech, Stony Brook etc). I also looked at the Amazon reviews for your suggestions. Based on that, here's what I decided:

Physics Vol.1, Halliday/Resnick/Krane, 5th Edition: Mechanics (Newtonian formulation), Thermo/Stat Mech, Wave Phenomena, Fluid mech/dynamics, Special Relativity.

Physics Vol.2, Halliday/Resnick/Krane, 5th Edition: E&M, Optics/diffraction/superposition etc, Atomic physics, Nuclear/Particle Physics, Condensed Matter, Astro/cosmology

As one poster mentioned, the HRK books are very comprehensive :)

Classical Mechanics 3rd Edition, Goldstein : Analytical mechanics, Lagrangian/Hamiltonian Formalism, Principle of Least Action, Hamilton-Jacobi. Apparently this is the standard text, but some concerns about typos and exposition of Hamilton-Jacobi...oh well, nothing's perfect.

Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, 2nd Edition, Griffiths : Perturbation theory, approximation methods for solutions. Highly recommended.

Calculus and Analytical Geometry, 9th Edition, Thomas/Finney: Multivariable calculus, vector calculus, PDEs and such. I know this stuff pretty well, but never hurts to have a good reference. I've already taken complex analysis and did really well, so not too worried about the math (Just the other 99% of the test ;-P)

So, there it is...I figure that these books cover basically all the exam and will be generally useful books to have in preparation for graduate work anyway.

Thanks again to all for your input!

blackcat007
Posts: 378
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:14 am

Re: Schaums Outlines good for non-physics people?

Postby blackcat007 » Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:52 pm

Eupraxis wrote:Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. I also spent some time looking at outlines from various university physics courses to see what they are assigning as the main text (looked at Harvard, MIT, CalTech, Stony Brook etc). I also looked at the Amazon reviews for your suggestions. Based on that, here's what I decided:

Physics Vol.1, Halliday/Resnick/Krane, 5th Edition: Mechanics (Newtonian formulation), Thermo/Stat Mech, Wave Phenomena, Fluid mech/dynamics, Special Relativity.

Physics Vol.2, Halliday/Resnick/Krane, 5th Edition: E&M, Optics/diffraction/superposition etc, Atomic physics, Nuclear/Particle Physics, Condensed Matter, Astro/cosmology

As one poster mentioned, the HRK books are very comprehensive :)

Classical Mechanics 3rd Edition, Goldstein : Analytical mechanics, Lagrangian/Hamiltonian Formalism, Principle of Least Action, Hamilton-Jacobi. Apparently this is the standard text, but some concerns about typos and exposition of Hamilton-Jacobi...oh well, nothing's perfect.

Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, 2nd Edition, Griffiths : Perturbation theory, approximation methods for solutions. Highly recommended.

Calculus and Analytical Geometry, 9th Edition, Thomas/Finney: Multivariable calculus, vector calculus, PDEs and such. I know this stuff pretty well, but never hurts to have a good reference. I've already taken complex analysis and did really well, so not too worried about the math (Just the other 99% of the test ;-P)

So, there it is...I figure that these books cover basically all the exam and will be generally useful books to have in preparation for graduate work anyway.

Thanks again to all for your input!

Well I would suggest Marion and Thornton instead of Goldstein. The former presents the material in an accessible way..
you can easily go through chapters 5,6,7,8

Eupraxis
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:06 pm

Re: Schaums Outlines good for non-physics people?

Postby Eupraxis » Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:48 pm

Thanks blackcat007. I've taken your suggestion and am getting the Marion and Thornton book instead of Goldstein. Although the reviews are mixed, I like it because it has solved problems in the book (not a separate manual) and doesn't get too beyond the undergrad level, which is fine for me :) I agree that the Goldstein book seemed to get ahead of what was really needed for most undergrad texts.

Thanks again.

CKtalon
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:25 am

Re: Schaums Outlines good for non-physics people?

Postby CKtalon » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:47 am

Another good classical mechanics book at the undergrad level is "Classical Mechanics" By John R Taylor

SentientRobot
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:42 pm

Re: Schaums Outlines good for non-physics people?

Postby SentientRobot » Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:48 pm

http://www.amazon.com/Schaums-Outline-C ... 848&sr=1-2

This book seems to cover most of the GRE topics and might give a good basic overview. I've considered getting it, but I am not sure if it would be better to just reread all my physics books(QM Griffiths, EM Griffiths, Thermo Kittel & Kroemer, Everything Else from Physics for Scientists & Engineers by Giancoli). The only thing I worry about with using my old textbooks is that there is probably WAY more material in there than would be covered on the test so I am not sure if I would be wasting my time.




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