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Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences 3rd Edition

113 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471198260
ISBN-10: 0471198269
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Editorial Reviews


“Bottom line: a good choice for a first methods course for physics majors. Serious students will want to follow this with specialized math courses in some of these topics.”  (MAA Reviews, 13 November 2015)

About the Author

Mary L. Boas is currently professor emeritus in the physics department at DePaul University.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 3 edition (July 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471198269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471198260
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.3 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

119 of 121 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
To put it quite simply, if you are a physics student, you must own this book. What does this book do for you? Consider this...
In my school, we do not have a mathematical methods course for science, so I decided to take on a math minor to take all the classes neccesary to do physics "right." This included a class on ODEs, Fourier Series & PDEs, Linear Algebra, and Complex Variables. These classes, although helpful, cover a lot of stuff that is not quite useful for understanding physics concepts, often undermining or dampening the stuff that is actually applicable.
What makes this book so great is that it combines all the essential math concepts into one compact, clearly written reference. If I could do it all over again, I would easily rather take a two semester Math Methods course (like they do in many schools) using a book like Boas than take all these obtuse math courses. With this book, it makes it so handy to review previously learned concepts or actually learn poorly presented topics ( for a physicist anyway) in mathematics classes... (Things like Coordinate Transformations, Tensors, Special Functions & PDEs in spherical & cylindrical coordinates, Diagonilzation, the list goes on.....)
Keep this gem handy when doing homework and studying for exams, learning the math tools from this book enables you to concentrate squarely on the physics in your other textbooks... (since mathematical background information, understandably, is often cut short...)
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76 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Keith Dow on April 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for undergraduates in science and engineering. This book is not for mathematics majors. So anyone who complains about the proofs or lack of rigor is off target. You are not the intended audience.

I include the chapter titles below since they indicate the coveraqe of the book.

1. Infinite series, power series

2. Complex numbers

3. Linear algebra

4. Partial differentiation

5. Multiple integrals

6. Vector analysis

7. Fourier series and transforms

8. Ordinary differential equations

9. Calculus of variations

10. Tensor analysis

11. Special functions

12. Series solutions of differential equations, legendre, bessel, hermite, and laguerre functions

13. Partial differential equations

14. Functions of a complex variable

15. Probability and statistics

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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Frank Carnley on March 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I used this book for a one-semester, senior-level, math-physics-course. At the time of the class, I used the book for the homework problems-mostly. While in graduate school I used the book as a refresher on Laurent Series and residues. When used as a reference, I have yet to find a better text. A well written section on the calculus of variation is very useful as it is rarely taught in undergraduate math courses. To fully take advantage of Boas, I would suggest that you take a proper math course sharing the title of all 15 chapters of her text, and use Boas as a reference. If you are too impatient to study that much math, then please do not suggest this book lacks detail. Further, if you are in high school and understand that properties of orthogonally can be used to find the solutions of most separable, linear-PDEs then there is no need to study this book (another reviewer suggested the topics were written at a high school level).

I would suggest this text without hesitation for anyone in the physical and mathematical sciences-physics, applied math, chemistry, mechanics, acoustics, etc. Also, this book is as `cookie-cutter' as you want it to be. Just change some boundary conditions or make up some unique forcing functions and the section on PDEs becomes a lot of fun.

A great study aid, a great tool for comprehensive exams, and a great reference.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By InfiniteVariations on November 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book has a bit of everything from Linear Algebra, Calculus, Analysis, Probability and Statistics, ODE, PDE, Transforms just to name a few. If you get a chance to study everything from this book, you will probably learn more from this book than all your undergraduate math courses combined. Some concepts on this book may be difficult to understand due to the lack of in depth coverage. But I guess the main intention of this book is to focus on the applied side and cover as much material that is relevant to physics and engineering as possible and not go into much detail on the theory side.
If you are a graduate student in physics or engineering and want to buy this book for reference, it will be a good start for the first year courses but won't help you much after that.
Readibility of this book is excellent. You will understand most of the concepts and examples presented.
Bottomline: This is a must have book for engineers and physicists.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By CutzmanX on February 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me start off by saying, I have essentially covered every single chapter (with the exception of the multivariable calculus section, I took a separate course on that), and every single section in a 3-quarter mathematical methods course as part of my physics undergraduate requirements. And let me repeat this again, this book will make a man out of you. After you conquer this book, you will be on your way to conquering all undergraduate physics with ease; mathematics will no longer be a problem and the real learning of physics will begin.

1. Infinite Series, Power series:
Great coverage of series and series representations of functions. Introduces several methods of determining convergence or divergence and techniques to convert essentially any function into a series as well as determining accuracies in representations. These are invaluable tools to solve difficult and non-analytic functions that show up everywhere in physics.

2. Complex Numbers:
A great introduction to complex analysis, starts off slow and easy and picks up the tempo with powers and roots of complex functions. This chapter is missing a discussion on the argument of a function and its meaning and kind of sweeps under the rug a few more technical things that a real complex analysis course would cover but nevertheless well done.

3. Linear Algebra:
The linear algebra section is pretty solid as well and it went a bit further than my regular linear algebra course. The placement of planes and lines is a bit awkward and doesn't really deal with matrices in the sense that you don't need to write out matrices but still an appropriate spot.
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