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Mechanics, Third Edition: Volume 1 (Course of Theoretical Physics S) 3rd Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0723628965
ISBN-10: 0723628963
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Mechanics, Third Edition: Volume 1 (Course of Theoretical Physics S)
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  • The Classical Theory of Fields, Fourth Edition: Volume 2 (Course of Theoretical Physics Series)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The Landau and Lifshitz series is almost uniformly excellent... the level is appropriate in advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate students"
Philip B Burt
Clemson University
USA

"An outstanding book for advanced students"
John H Lienhard
MIT University
USA

Language Notes

Text: English, Russian (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Course of Theoretical Physics S
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Butterworth-Heinemann; 3 edition (January 15, 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0723628963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0723628965
  • ASIN: 0750628960
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bosco Ho on August 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
If physicists could weep, they would weep over this book. The book is devastingly brief whilst deriving, in its few pages, all the great results of classical mechanics. Results that in other books take take up many more pages. I first came across Landau's mechanics many years ago as a brash undergrad. My prof at the time had given me this book but warned me that it's the kind of book that ages like wine. I've read this book several times since and I have found that indeed, each time is more rewarding than the last.

The reason for the brevity is that, as pointed out by previous reviewers, Landau derives mechanics from symmetry. Historically, it was long after the main bulk of mechanics was developed that Emmy Noether proved that symmetries underly every important quantity in physics. So instead of starting from concrete mechanical case-studies and generalising to the formal machinery of the Hamilton equations, Landau starts out from the most generic symmetry and dervies the mechanics. The 2nd laws of mechanics, for example, is derived as a consequence of the uniqueness of trajectories in the Lagragian. For some, this may seem too "mathematical" but in reality, it is a sign of sophisitication in physics if one can identify the underlying symmetries in a mechanical system. Thus this book represents the height of theoretical sophistication in that symmetries are used to derive so many physical results.

The difficulty with this approach, and the reason why this book is not a beginner's book, is that to the follow symmetric arguments, one really has to have already mastered vector calculus. Ideally, you should be able to transform coordinate in your sleep, perform integrals without missing a beat, whether they be line, area, or path, and differentiate functions in many dimensions.
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By A Customer on December 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
Classical Mechanics by H. Goldstein was the assigned text for a senior year course on CM. In all fairness, Goldstein does introduce tools and concepts useful to more advanced study in the subject, so I would turn to G. for a second reading on these topics. He also discusses the connections between classical to quantum mechanics. Nevertheless, Landau's presentation of the core of CM is clearer and more direct. For learning about the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalisms, rigid body rotation, small oscillations and canonical transformation, I found Landau to be the better book.
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Format: Paperback
This marvellous book of Landau, Lifshitz is the best adult presentation of "classical" classical mechanics, that is, leaving aside problems of stability, chaos, etc. With this proviso, the book is perfect. It is very short, not by omitting things, but by choosing (and rigidly adhering to it) a very sound philosophy: exploring the connection between symmetries and conservation laws. This explains why the dynamics is based on the action principle, which, as shown by Wigner, is the optimum language for expliciting the discoveries of Emmy Noether. The whole book follows this line, making the exposition very original and, at points, quite surprising (as when the mass is proved to be positive). In my opinion the climax of the book is the theory of the Hamilton-Jacobi equation, along the ideas of Jacobi. I know of no place where this is so admirably done. Simple and beautiful. After learning it, and the applications contained in the book, you can learn the miracles ! Landau and Lifshitz perform with this equation in all areas of physics, particularly in General Relativity.
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Format: Paperback
This book(and very hotly contested by their Classical Theory of Fields) has to be the most gorgeous exposition on classical physics to be found. Crystal clear, yet concise and perfectly logical as is to be expected from all of Landau's works. The material is so beautifully developed that this is one of the few places where it is possible to see how each piece of the classical mechanics puzzle fits together. If not for the rest of the book, the sections on the Hamilton-Jacobi Equation, Maupertuis Principle and a small but absolutely incredible section on mechanical similarity are simply a must read. Goldstein(the general) standard suffers from several defects, notably logical inconsistency within the own text(A complaint that can never be made of any of Landau's books). Above all, This book is the perfect keystone to the remaining books of their series, and as such should be read before attempting any of the remaining volumes.
Lastly regarding criticisms that this book does not tend itself to non-integrability and classical chaos I suppose these are justified statments, but considering that this book was never written with such goals in mind, the arguments are irrelevant. There are several excellent references available on such material(including a recently added section in Goldstein) which will satisfy people looking for such topics. But this volume should feature on the bookshelf of anyone that has any interest in classical mechanics and wishes to read the treatment of the subject by a master.
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Format: Paperback
Nowhere else would you find classical mechanics presented so elegantly, so efficiently, and with so much sophistication. However, this is a book that will be enjoyed only by those who already are familiar with the overall landscape of classical mechanics. Let's face it, a classical-mechanics virgin would be devastated if he/she used the book as the intro. There's just too much maturity, mathematical and physical, that's expected of the reader.

Again, NOT recommended for beginners. I am pretty sure Landau himself did not initially learn classical mechanics this way.
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