I know little about physics,would you suggest some texts,plz

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I know little about physics,would you suggest some texts,plz

Postby kkchan2821 » Sun Nov 19, 2006 4:48 am

Suppose one knows nothing about physics.....
Where should he/she start from?
plz, suggest me a textbook list for the GRE.
Not those books like "GRE: Practicing to Take the Physics Test"
I mean undergraduate texts

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Postby anonymous188 » Mon Nov 20, 2006 5:58 pm

Intro to mechanics and e&m: Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Serway.
Classical Mechanics: Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems by Marion, Thornton
E&M: Intro to Electromagnetic Theory by Griffiths
Modern Physics: Intro to Modern Physics by Thornton, Rex
Quantum Mechanics: Intro to Quantum Mechanics by Griffiths, although many people prefer the books by Shankar or Sakurai

I don't know how helpful these will be to you. The books by Serway are really good for introducing the fundamental topics of mechanics, e&m, and some wave, fluid mechanics. These textbooks are the ones I used, will use for my undergraduate education, with the exception of the books by Shankar and Sakurai.

Hope this helps.

-Alex W.

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Postby kkchan2821 » Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:59 am

thx for your list.
any inputs would be welcome

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Undergrad Physics Textbook List

Postby Quantum » Tue Nov 21, 2006 3:22 pm

If you know little about physics, you'd need to start with a General Physics text to learn the fundamentals. I'd recommend:
"Physics for Scientists and Engineers with Modern Physics" Volumes I & II by Serway and Beichner

Once you have mastered general physics, you can then dip into each division of physics more specifically. Here is a list of undergraduate physics texts I'd recommend by their division:

Classical Mechanics: "Classical Mechanics" by Taylor
Electromagnetism: "Introduction to Electrodynamics" by Griffiths*
Introductory Quantum Mechanics / Atomic Physics: "Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei and Particles" by Eisberg and Resnick
Circuits: "An Introduction to Modern Electronics" by Faissler
Thermal Physics: "An Introduction to Thermal Physics" by Schroeder
Nuclei / Particles: "Introduction to Nuclear and Particle Physics" by Das and Ferbel
Intermediate Quantum Mechanics: "Principles of Quantum Mechanics" by Shankar (this is usually a graduate-level book, but I find it MUCH better than its undergraduate rival "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics" by Griffiths)
Special Relativity: "Special Relativity" by French
Data Analysis: "An Introduction to Error Analysis" by Taylor

Of course, all physics texts will assume you have a solid working knowledge of mathematics (especially calculus I, II, & III, linear algebra, ordinary differential equations, and partial differential equations). I'd recommend:

Calculus I, II, & III: "Calculus: Early Transcendentals" by Stewart
Introductory Linear Algebra: "Elementary Linear Algebra: A Matrix Approach" by Spence, Insel, and Friedberg
Ordinary Differential Equations: "Elementary Differential Equations" by Boyce and DiPrima
Partial Differential Equations: "Partial Differential Equations: An Introduction" by Strauss

*I have serious reservations about recommending any of Griffiths' undergraduate texts, despite their notorious popularity. You can check out my gripes about him in a previous post: forum/viewtopic.php?p=1489&highlight=#1489
If you can bear through what I have discussed in that post, then his Intro to Electrodynamics book does present a strong and solid foundation of the material. If you absolutely cannot, then you'd be better to find an alternative textbook on the subject matter (though sadly, few decent ones exist at the undergraduate level).

Anyway, everyone has their own taste and preference in which textbooks they like. These are just my suggestions. Hope this helps. ^_^

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Postby Ph.R. » Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:38 am

In my idea you've got to start with a general physics book to know the basis of physics, then you can go on to the modern physics but you've got to know the newtonian classical mechanics. I think its better to study halliday volume 1 and 3 and griffith introduction to quantum mechanics then you can move on to higher ranked books like griffith electordynamics or jacksons classical electrodynamics and for your mechanics after studying halliday i suggest marion or fols. The most important point beside these things is that you should have a great mathematical body to take over what these books say!
Hope you good luck.
If you wanted to know more here is the solution:

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Postby Richter » Tue Dec 26, 2006 3:07 am

I think it is best to start with some general physics book. For that, I recommend Halliday and Resnick's "Physics", Vol. 1 & 2, as it covers almost all the "basic" stuff tested in GRE. After that, you should go to a Modern physics book, for example, Taylor's Modern Physics for Scientist and engineers, in order to have a good understanding of the a lot of modern physics materials tested in GRE. There are a lot of topics in modern physics which are always tested, for example, energy level of hydrogenic atoms, Stefan-Boltzmann law, Wien's law for exmaple. For E&M, I suppose Griffiths is one of the best for you to have a good review of the topic, since it covers more than enough for GRE.
In addition, you must learn something about statistical mechanics, up to the meaning and the calculation of partition functions. For QM, you just need to know a little bit about it, for example, what does bra-ket notation mean, how to calculate expectation values of physical observables given the wavefunction, how to do perturbation theory etc.
Hope my suggestions are helpful to you.

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Postby phun » Wed Dec 27, 2006 2:05 pm

remember, when you need some problems to work on, Schaum's outline or worked problem series is your friend.

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