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Mathematical Methods for Physicists, Sixth Edition: A Comprehensive Guide [Hardcover]

George B. Arfken , Hans J. Weber , Frank E. Harris
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)

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Mathematical Methods for Physicists, Seventh Edition: A Comprehensive Guide Mathematical Methods for Physicists, Seventh Edition: A Comprehensive Guide 3.4 out of 5 stars (11)
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Book Description

June 21, 2005 0120598760 978-0120598762 6
This best-selling title provides in one handy volume the essential mathematical tools and techniques used to solve problems in physics. It is a vital addition to the bookshelf of any serious student of physics or research professional in the field. The authors have put considerable effort into revamping this new edition.

* Updates the leading graduate-level text in mathematical physics
* Provides comprehensive coverage of the mathematics necessary for advanced study in physics and engineering
* Focuses on problem-solving skills and offers a vast array of exercises
* Clearly illustrates and proves mathematical relations

New in the Sixth Edition:
* Updated content throughout, based on users' feedback
* More advanced sections, including differential forms and the elegant forms of Maxwell's equations
* A new chapter on probability and statistics
* More elementary sections have been deleted

Editorial Reviews


"As to a comparison with other books of the same ilk, well, in all honesty, there are none. No other text on methods of mathematical physics is as comprehensive and as complete...I encourage the students to keep their copies as they will need it and will find it an invaluable reference resource in later studies and research."
- Tristan Hubsch, Howard University

Book Description

More that 90,000 copies sold!

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1200 pages
  • Publisher: Academic Press; 6 edition (June 21, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0120598760
  • ISBN-13: 978-0120598762
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 7.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #517,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why Is This Textbook So Widely Used? November 13, 2006
I am a graduate physics student with a strong mathematical background. This is the textbook used for our 2 semester course in mathematical methods for physics. The book is massive, both in content and physical weight. The cover is attractive and the printing seems to be fairly high quality. Now comes the difficult part of the review: finding other positive comments. First of all, I have only used a few chapters of the book thus far, so my comments pertain only to those. Some difficulties I have found... There are no answers to any exercises making the book fairly useless for self-study. The material is very uneven, as if each section was written by a different author (graduate student?). The explanations and examples are mediocre at best (contrast with the Mary Boas book). There are MANY typos - what ever happened to proof reading? The class INSTRUCTOR doesn't like the book, but is forced to use it by the department, and has regularly emailed the authors with corrections and recommendations. None of the students in the class like the book. You may be forced to use this book, but I would recommend other books as supplements (e.g., the book by Mary Boas and several in the Schaum Outline Series).
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An undergraduate review November 30, 1999
By Rod HUg
My instructor chose Arfken as the text for our Mathematical Physics class. He has a high opinion of the book, although he did not require it to be read and did not assign any of the exercises. Rather than using Arfken, most of the students in my class used various mathematics and physics books from the university library. My opinion of Arfken is that it is so condensed that it is not understandable to undergraduates. You need to consult other texts extensively to fill in the gaps. For example, Arfken develops tensor analysis on pages 126 thru 130, 5 pages total. My copy of Applications of Tensor Analysis by McConnell does the same on it's first 171 pages. I hesitate to say that Arfken is useless, but you can draw your own conclusion from my last example. Arfken is so abbreviated that it is not useful to the undergraduate as a reference either, in my opinion. Perhaps it is useful to persons who are familiar with the subject matter in advance, I am not sure. Were one or a group of people to flush this book out it might be more useful, but it would no doubt become many volumes.
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61 of 68 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The lecturer of our undergraduate Mathematical Methods for Physics course said that he recommends Arfken's book because it will be useful also later as a reference book. Hearing those words, I could not help but to think "this is one of *those* books". And indeed, although Arfken's and Weber's book covers quite a wide range of mathematics, it does so by being very concise, e.g. there is usually only one example per topic. This is one example of why it is not a good textbook. Not following Arfken's course, I will give another example: there are no answers and no solutions for any of the problems, making it very undesirable from the viewpoint of the person who cannot attend all the lectures. Finally, text itself is quite concise, and often it stops at telling the things rather than explaining them also. I guess I have to admit that I am not one of the excellent students mentioned by a reviewer, for I liked Kreyszig's Advanced Engineering Mathematics much more. As a contrast to Arfken's book, it offered many examples and helped to understand what the thing was all about. Unfortunately, it does not cover nearly all of the topics covered by Mathematical Methods for Physicists. If Mathematical Methods for Physicists is going to be your first introductory text to these topics and if you are not supported by very good lectures I can only say that may God have mercy on your soul.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Praise from an industry physicist December 1, 2000
By A Customer
I invite the students on this page to take, or at least appreciate, a long-term view. Arfken pays off in the working world, with its comprehensive coverage of topics, short self-contained discussions which don't require a lot of flipping back and forth to other chapters, a clear writing style, and few proofs to get in the way.
When I need to tackle a new problem which results in a coordinate system, function or technique that I'm rusty on, Arfken is usually the first book I pull off the shelf. Properties of Chebyshev polynomials for filter theory, or elliptic functions for the current density on a microstrip transmission line? Integral transforms? A comparison of Green's functions in 1, 2 and 3 dimensions for different electromagnetic diff eq's, all in one table? Group theory for certain phased-array antenna analyses? (really!) Tensors for analyzing flexure in superconducting magnet structures? Error functions for communications theory? It's all here in a quickly digestible form, with enough depth to solve a problem or at least prepare you to turn to a specialty text and quickly extract what's needed.
I always learn something from the examples, which typically apply the same mathematical tool for my problem to some completely different area of physics.
Arfken may not be an optimal text for a one-year course, but it's been my reliable working companion for 24 years. When my 2nd edition finally falls apart, I'll probably replace it with a new one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Basic Math
Good applications for basic math that is not computer driven. Nice keep sake. If you are downscaling to the age of paper books. .
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars good!! very useful to me!!! I want to recommend this product to my...
good!! very useful to me!!!
I want to recommend this product to my friends.
the color is very great apparently.
Published 15 months ago by Kwon, Jiseok
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have it
Years after I got this book I still find it very useful. I don't use for Physics only for science in general. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Oscar Cassetti
2.0 out of 5 stars Awful Awful Awful!
I may come back and re-write this review later in life, but for now here is how things stand:

This book was required for a course I took as an undergrad 3 years ago. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Julio S. Rodriguez, Jr.
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea
As an undergraduate student this book was difficult to follow. Explanations were incomplete and it seemed evident to me that the text was made for graduate students, but I had to... Read more
Published 23 months ago by MellowManic
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reference, but poor choice for first-time learners
As a math reference, I give Mathematical Methods for Physicists by Arfken a five-star rating. It is a brilliant, comprehensive reference of most of the mathematical methods that a... Read more
Published on June 12, 2012 by SeekingTraveler
3.0 out of 5 stars Improving with age
I purchased the 4th edition of this text back in the 90s when I was an undergraduate. It was recommended by the instructor of my "Classical Field Theory" course (why they didn't... Read more
Published on February 3, 2012 by Marshall G Bartlett
2.0 out of 5 stars Just a collection of formula and final result.
I bought the fifth edition because someone suggested it as the modern text. I am extremely unsatisfied with it. Read more
Published on November 14, 2011 by Anand Balaraman
1.0 out of 5 stars All but useless
I had to use this book for a graduate level engineering math class. It may be the worst book I've had the displeasure of using. Read more
Published on February 6, 2011 by Justin Melancon
1.0 out of 5 stars An unnecessary book
In my early days as a lecturer I did attempt to use Arfken but found it rather treacherous in that it would
lead one into difficulties and strand one. Read more
Published on September 1, 2010 by physics student
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