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Classical Mechanics (3rd Edition) Hardcover – June 25, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0201657029 ISBN-10: 0201657023 Edition: 3rd

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 680 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley; 3 edition (June 25, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201657023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201657029
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

For thirty years this has been the acknowledged standard in advanced classical mechanics courses. This classic book enables readers to make connections between classical and modern physics - an indispensable part of a physicist's education. In this new edition, Beams Medal winner Charles Poole and John Safko have updated the book to include the latest topics, applications, and notation, to reflect today's physics curriculum. They introduce readers to the increasingly important role that nonlinearities play in contemporary applications of classical mechanics. New numerical exercises help readers to develop skills in how to use computer techniques to solve problems in physics. Mathematical techniques are presented in detail so that the book remains fully accessible to readers who have not had an intermediate course in classical mechanics. For college instructors and students.

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Customer Reviews

You know what a physics book should feel like.
Joe
This is an excellent way to learn classical mechanics.
Jill Malter
This is a superb book for graduate level mechanics.
"rr256698"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 78 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I read the first printing of the third edition.
Cons first.
Some material has been deleted: the discussions of stability, some historical notes along the discussions, correspondence between HJ and Schrodinger Eqn, etc. The nice further references and notes to various other books in the end of each chapter has been omitted, the same thing happen to the extensive bibliography. A lot of typos appear in this new edition. And still no attempts to include advanced mathematical methods from differential geometry, except when discussing SR. Also, no attempt to include some worked examples. The discussions on classical fields has been shortened, a regret if we remember the need to leard classical fields before step into quantum fields.
Pros.
The book became more accessible, in fact some undergrads might be able to cope with this, either after Marion-Thornton or somewhere in the junior-senior year. The discussions on SR use the standard -2 metric instead of the awkward ict. Several discussions on one-forms and GR appeared. More problems. Also there is a new chapter in nonlinear oscillations
Suggestions.
If you want a modern book on classical mechanics check also J.V. Jose and E.J. Saletan, Classical Dynamics: A Contemporary Approach ... it offers roughly the same material PLUS advanced treatment with geometrical methods and differential geometry, and there are extensive discussions on nonlinear dynamics and classical fields. I recommend some instructors to adapt Jose & Saletan for their class, since it is cheaper, more modern, than Goldstein.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By LB on March 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is great for learning the topic for the first time, and even better once you're looking for a good reference at a later time. It goes very deeply into the physics and philosophy of classical mechanics. The only background needed is vector calculus. The rest should flow naturally. If you don't understand everything on the first read, as some reviewers mentioned, this is not really a problem. This often happens with advanced textbooks, the authors know so much that they can't help but write discussions that are of a more general nature. In the case of Goldstein, you should be able to keep on reading without getting lost. This book is amazing, it covers point-particle physics up to continuum mechanics, and builds everything up to a point where you can go on a and study relativity and quantum mechanics with good confidence.

I would give this book 6 stars if I could. However, the 3rd edition has turned what used to be an excellent book into some kind of butchery and orgy or less relevant topics. For example, very few people doing research actually care about chaos theory, aside from its coolness. While I learned this stuff from a mathematically rigorous standpoint decades ago, I never got to use it since then. Also I find it difficult to discuss chaos theory when stochastic processes are ignored. When doing experiments, you always deal with noise which will actually bury a lot of the interesting dynamics. I really don't see the point of altering Goldstein to cover chaos theory when several excellent textbooks on the topic already exist (Arnold, Devaney, Scheinermann).

I bought the 3rd edition without knowing about its new slant. At the very least, they should have kept what was in the 2nd edition.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jill Malter on November 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent way to learn classical mechanics. Actually, I prefer Landau's book. But Landau's book is about 170 pages and this one is about 650 pages.

And you get much more material with this book. The book is readable, and there are plenty of useful exercises. You start off with Lagrange's equations. Then you learn a little about the calculus of variations. And then the central force problem, kinematics of rigid body motion, and oscillations. And there's material on Hamilton's equations, canonical transformations, and Hamilton-Jacobi theory. In this manner, the text covers in 420 pages what Landau does in 170. There are more explanations and more examples. It's not a bad way to learn the subject.

In addition, there are chapters on special relativity, chaos, canonical perturbation theory, and continuous systems and fields. These are good topics to cover in a upper division class on mechanics. This book has a lot to offer a student and would be fun to teach from.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jun Zhou Zhang on December 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I gave this book a 4-star because some parts of it are in fact not so clearly written, as some of the previous reviewers have pointed out. Yet it is probably the only book out there that explains classical mechanics at the level of sophistication and comprehensiveness suitable for an advanced physics student. This book is aimed at the graduate audience but in my opinion any undergraduate students with a solid introductory mechanics course should have no problem understanding most of the materials in this book though I have to admit that the authors did not do a very good job in explaining the concepts.

A distinct feature of this book is that it tries to teach classical mechanics in a way that illuminates many analogous approaches in quantum theory. By this I mean the theoretical constructions such as the Hamilton-Jacobi theory, Poisson brackets, canonical perturbation theory, relativistic field theory, and so on. This book is probably a must read for beginners of theoretical physics because some of the theoretical methods exploited here appear almost ubiquitously in other fields of physics. In the study of other subjects of physics, I was often reminded of the little bits of things I picked up from this book: variational principles, tensors and forms, symmetry groups, field theoretical ideas, etc.

Of course, the main goal of this book is to introduce the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of classical mechanics. The book is actually strong in this aspect. The first few chapters I think are very well written, especially the chapter on central force which is the most thorough treatment I have seen. There are things one hardly sees in other books of this type, such as the Lenz vector which would find a beautiful use in the quantum Kepler problem.
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