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Theoretical Mechanics for Particles and Continua First Edition Edition

2.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0070206588
ISBN-10: 0070206589
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Product Details

  • Series: International Series in Pure & Applied Physics
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies; First Edition edition (February 1, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070206589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070206588
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.7 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm currently taking Professor Fetter's undergraduate mechanics course at Stanford, for which Marion & Thornton's Classical Dynamics is the required text. Professor Fetter provides references to relevant sections in his and other texts as supplementary reading to Marion & Thornton. Of all the others (including Goldstein), his provides the most lucid, complete discussion of several key topics in dynamics:
1. Small Oscillations (coupled oscillators, normal coordinates, eigenvalue problems)
2. Continuous Media (passage from loaded string to continuum limit) 3. Strings/Wave Propagation (e.g. d'Alembert, Bernoulli)
These are the sections I found useful. Others were not. I recommend this book as useful auxiliary material to standard texts like M&T. The level is slightly above M&T, but I found the use of matrix notation (vs. ungodly summations) very helpful. And Professor Fetter is a great teacher!
- A Sophomore Physics Major
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Format: Hardcover
In the same spirt as Herbert Goldstein's "Classical Mechanics" (second edition), Fetter and Walecka covers the basics of graduate classical mechanics, while extending the treatment of the material into its quantum counterparts. The problems and examples, while not as difficult as Goldstein's, are appropriate for a 1st year graduate class.
Of exceptional note is the chapter entitled "Strings" which extends the treament of most of classical mechanics into the quantum regime. This section also gives the student an excellent first introduction to the variational and perturbation methods for finding exact and approximate solutions.
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Format: Hardcover
The first half of this text covers the standard graduate mechanics cirriculum, while the second half covers strings, membranes, and other continuum topics. The section on particle mechanics is poorly done: the entire section on Hamilton's method is bad, and the treatment of the Hamilton-Jacobi method is disastrous (of all the topics to mess up!). The discussions offer no insight into the material being presented; both the small oscillations chapter and the Hamilton mechanics chapter are simply collections of formulae. I also disagree with their approach to Lagrangian dynamics. They, like Goldstein, begin with a tedious discussion of virtual work and D'Alembert's principle. I prefer Landau's approach- just introduce the action and get on with it. I don't believe that anything is learned from their method.
Much of the book reads as if the authors are just piecing together the relevant sections from other texts, while removing the copied authors' insights. Indeed, they're caught red-handed in chapter 1. Not only are problems 1.17, 1.18 directly from Landau's text, the wording is identical, the problems are divided into the same parts, and just as problem 1.18 directly follows 1.17 in this text, it directly follows the same problem in Landau's book.
This book really doesn't do anything in partcle mechanics well. It's examples are trivial (a common problem), and modern methods (see V.I. Arnold's book and a dynamical systems text) are omitted. There's no reason to use this for particle mechanics when Landau's beautiful text is available. And although I've never used it, I'd wager that Landau's continuum mechanics book is better than this text's coverage...
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Format: Hardcover
A horror. Avoid.

These guys write as though they're talking to people who already know the material. Not exactly rare, in physics textbooks. My mechanics instructor at the University of Miami used this book, and the students despised it and scrambled to find other teaching materials. If you're already a Ph.D., and for some perverse reason, you want to read a book that recapitulates what you've learned, this is a swell choice. Otherwise, it's better suited to use as compost or perhaps kindling.

A total failure as a teaching tool.
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