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Fundamentals of Physics: Mechanics, Relativity, and Thermodynamics (The Open Yale Courses Series) Paperback – December 2, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-0300192209 ISBN-10: 0300192207

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Product Details

  • Series: The Open Yale Courses Series
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (March 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300192207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300192209
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Like his online lectures, Shankar's book looks excellent for teaching and learning introductory physics."—Leonard Susskind, Director, Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics
(Leonard Susskind 2013-10-22)

“This introductory text makes easy reading, due to Shankar’s great sense of humor and his lucid explanation of the essential ideas of fundamental physics.”—David Gross, Nobel Laureate in Physics, 2004
(David Gross 2013-10-28)

“Akin to a relaxed discussion with a masterful tutor, Shankar's book conveys a strong intuitive understanding with wonderful freshness and clarity. A pedagogical masterpiece.”—Daniel Arovas, University of California, San Diego
(Daniel Arovas 2013-11-15)

“The book captures, and enhances, the experience of being in the room as Shankar explains the material. This is physics as it should be taught, clearly and entertainingly presented.”—Alan Chodos, American Physical Society
(Alan Chodos 2013-12-15)

About the Author

R. Shankar is John Randolph Huffman Professor of Physics, Yale University. His popular Open Yale Course “Introduction to Physics” has a major following in the United States, India, Australia, China, and elsewhere. He is the 2009 winner of the American Physical Society's Lilienfeld Prize and the author of two previous textbooks, Principles of Quantum Mechanics and Basic Training in Mathematics: A Fitness Program for Science Students.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 31 customer reviews
It is written with utmost clarity and with original approach to presenting major topics in physics.
Branislav Djordjevic
It has been long time since physics classes, so this book and the accompanying videos, are a way to get back into the subject, the math and the new concepts.
R. Heaton
This book offers a good sound start to learning the physics you would get in a college course and can be studied at my own pace.
CDP and his Amazon Habit of purchases! * !

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Aeyr on February 17, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Greetings! I am a student of philosophy at University of North Texas that digs a lot into scientific topics on my own. I personally own multiple physics textbooks (Feynman lectures, my university's choice textbook, Dover's Theoretical Physics textbook, etc) and this might be the best one for many reasons:

-It contains all the information contained in my other textbooks except for the content on electromagnetism (which is the subject of his second series of lectures on Yale's website) and quantum mechanics
-It is $25, the cheapest of all the textbooks I have seen
-It is small, lightweight, and only ~430 pages (The feynman lectures are multiple volumes, fragile, and bulky like the university textbook I have)

In terms of the presentation, it tops the dover textbooks (which are usually written like they are being presented to 1950's grad students... the equations are difficult to follow and there is little explanation of what is being done. The topics are kind of random and jumbled). It is on par with my university's textbook for presentation, but isnt a giant 10lb monster and has a lot less miscellaneous information that textbooks are notorious for (also, that textbook was almost $300... granted it contains electromagnetism topics as well). It is hard to compare it to the presentation of the Feynman lectures because of how... unique they are. I would say for a general understanding, the average reader interested in the mathematical physics and a more focused reading would probably prefer Shankar's book.

I think the best part is that there are just as many words as equations (with Shankar's humor that he adds in the lecture series that he based this book off of).
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Branislav Djordjevic on February 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must-read for anybody interested in learning, or teaching fundamentals of physics. It is based on Professor Shankar's masterfully held course: Fundamentals of Physics I, available at Open Yale Courses website. This book preserves the unique spirit of Professor Shankar's superb teaching style, the style that makes watching his lectures as exciting and pleasurable experience as watching some great movie! Lot of essential material is expertly covered on these 446 pages: Newtonian mechanics, Oscillations, Waves, Fluids, Special Theory of Relativity, Thermodynamics, Statistical Physics, and useful chapters on relevant mathematical methods, as well as many solved examples. The book is extremely readable being stripped of all distractive colorful pictures that burden most of the standard textbooks today. It is written with utmost clarity and with original approach to presenting major topics in physics. As Richard Feynman would put it - no baloney in this book! The text is full of humor, which gives a glimpse of how exciting it is to sit in Prof. Shankar's class. The book is an excellent addition to the recorded course at Open Yale Courses website. The price of the book is very affordable. I hope the second volume, covering Fundamentals of Physics II, will be published soon too. In short - I highly recommend this unique book, written by one of the greatest living bards of the Art of Physics Teaching!

Branislav Djordjevic
Term Associate Professor of Physics
George Mason University
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Leeber Cohen on June 17, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a good way to refresh your memory of concepts from the first year of college physics. Shankar is well known to many quantum mechanics students book from his textbook. He is a highly respected teacher with an online series on basic physics. I particularly enjoyed Chapter 16 on mathematical methods which is a quick summary of Taylor Series and complex variables. If you are familiar with this material, it is a nice relaxing read of old mathematical friends. The derivations for the series for e, sin, and cos are straightforward if you remember beginning calculus. Shankar quickly mentions Leonard Euler. If you do not know who Leonard Euler is or the significance of the formula attributed him please read Maor's e:the Story of the Number and then Nahin's An Imaginary Tale. The chapters in this book are approximately 20 pages long and usually can be read with about an hour of time. The chapters on rotational dynamics, simple harmonic motion, and waves are an excellent review of concepts that will be required for future study of basic quantum mechanics. There are three nice chapters on special relativity. The reader may also want to check out Collier's A Most Incomprehensible Thing. As stated elsewhere electromagnetism and quantum mechanics are planned in the second volume of this book. Be warned that the author inserts many jokes that are not that funny.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By CT Fisher on February 25, 2014
Format: Paperback
-old physics seen in a new light and complemented by his usual superb writing style

-packed with fresh ideas, verve, and vitality.

-no other texts are needed regardless of whether you are a pro or an autodidactic enthusiast such as myself.

-never seen a work so brief in number of pages yet filled with so much vital information

-try it and you will become a fan of Shankar as so many others of us have

p.s.

- and if you are not a mathematics major,don't worry, neither was I and high school calculus/trig more than suffices
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Fundamentals of Physics: Mechanics, Relativity, and Thermodynamics (The Open Yale Courses Series)
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