Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences 3rd Edition
|New from||Used from|
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
“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)
- Hardcover : 864 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780471198260
- ISBN-13 : 978-0471198260
- Dimensions : 7.2 x 1.5 x 10.1 inches
- ASIN : 0471198269
- Publisher : Wiley; 3rd edition (July 22, 2005)
- Item Weight : 2.91 pounds
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #396,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Mary Boas was a master of math methods and writing. There are no wasted words in her explanations. I only wish that she provided a bit more insight in some of the chapters. I will give two examples.
On Fourier Series, you multiply f(x) by cos(kx)dx and take the integral because the integral equals 0 for parts of f(x) that are orthogonal to cos(kx), ie, Pi/2 out of phase with it, and only the non-orthogonals survive letting you solve for the coefficients of a(n) of cos(nx) that you want to represent the original f(x) with. Maybe that is understood to be obvious but for most people it is not and it would be helpful to point out.
The second example is on Laplace Transforms. You multiply your function F(t) by e^-pt and take the integral from 0 -> infinity because e^-pt quickly goes to zero and much faster than most f(t) you deal with can grow so that their product goes to zero making the integral calculable. Again, it helps to know why the great mathematicians who invented this stuff did what they did.
In terms of value, the 2nd edition is the best bang for your buck assuming you don't need this for a lecture class that uses the 3rd edition for homework problems. You can find a good used copy of the 2nd edition for between $10-15 on a certain popular auction site that everyone knows.
Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering by Riley, Hobson and Bence is more comprehensive and just as well written but is also three times the size and so I usually find myself referring to Boas 90% of the time.
I am self studying physics in the hope of understanding particle physics one day. I have been through the standard calculus books, Strang's Linear Algebra and a some of Saff's Complex Analysis. Then I read Taylor's excellent Classical Mechanics book and then started Griffith's Electrodynamics. Griffith's math is more complex and even though he does a good job of teaching the math needed, I find it difficult to learn the math and the physics at the same time. I first got Byron and Fuller's book knowing that it might be advanced, but wanted to try anyway. It is way too advanced for my stage. I couldn't understand any equations on any page I opened to. I passed on Boas first time around as so many people said it was light on proofs. After the Byron and Fuller debacle, I thought I would try this book.
IT IS FANTASTIC!!!
I am about to finish the second to last chapter (Functions of a Complex Variable). I won't do the last chapter (Probability) as Probability is critical in thermodynamics and Quantum Mechanics. I will read a separate book on that. I have read every other chapter. With the exception of the Tensor chapter (more on this later), every chapter was outstanding. This book lays an extraordinary math foundation for an undergraduate program of study. I can open to any page in Byron and Fuller now and understand what they are trying to do. It is still over my head as you need to know quantum and advanced classical mechanics to understand their examples, but I know what aspects of math they are using and what they are trying to do because of Boas.
It surprises me to see how many people have given this book negative reviews because it lacks rigorous proofs. All good books are written for a purpose and stay true to that purpose. Boas' purpose is laid out clearly in the preface. This book is for undergraduates who have completed at least a calculus series and probably also ordinary differential equations. It is meant to be a one year course to teach all the basic math needed for undergraduate study. It is meant for people like me who want a more complete understanding of math before starting books like Griffiths and don't like learning the physics and math at the same time. THAT IS HER PURPOSE AND SHE STAYS TRUE TO IT. This book is not meant for math majors. It is not meant for people who want Analysis level proofs of everything. If that is what you want, there are a million books out there for you. Use them. Why did you pick up this book?
That said, there is nothing superficial about this book. If you are the intended audience, you will learn new material on every page. If you think you are going to skim through chapters to get their main points and then move on to bigger and better, you are in for a rude awakening. You will learn nothing if you don't read carefully and do the exercises. If you do that you will set a very solid foundation on which to build further math skills (which, of course, is the point of this book. It is not a be all, end all. It is the beginning of a deeper understanding of the advanced math skills you will need for graduate physical science study.) There are plenty of proofs if they are appropriate for this level. She leaves out extensive proofs that are very involved. Physical science students don't want those at the undergraduate level. Saying that this book is terrible because it leaves out extensive proofs is like saying Dr. Seuss books are terrible because they lack mathematical proofs. The book isn't intended to have those. Look elsewhere if that is what you want.
That said, the chapter on Tensors is poor. Don't bother reading it. This is not her fault. Tensors are complex and simply cannot be taught well in the limited space they can be given in a book like this. The first half is okay where she discusses Kronecker delta and Levi-Civita permutation tensors, but then she just plops down the mathematical definition of covariant and contravariant tensors without giving any insight into the equations. It was incomprehensible to me after that. I put this book down and read Daniel Fleish's book on vectors and tensors (excellent book) and the Taha Sochi's Tensors Made Simple (pretty good book. Teaches you how to manipulate tensor symbols well). That gave me a better understanding, but I still don't feel like I have a good grasp of tensors. For my level, that is good enough. I'll learn more later when I need it. The Tensor chapter is probably good for someone who knows tensors and wants a refresher. It is not a good first introduction.
I used to be intimdated of partial differential equations. ODEs are hard enough, then you add more variables. This book did such an excellent job with PDEs, I am now looking forward to reading a complete PDE book before I move on to graduate level studies.
If you still have any doubts about this book, look at the number of places it is referenced. Taylor and Griffith (the standards for their respective subjects at the undergraduate level) both reference this book if you want a deeper understanding of the math they are using. Look at the number of graduate physics professors in the amazon comments who have ranked this book. They tell their GRADUATE students to start with Boas if they need some math they don't understand and then move to other books if they don't find the depth they need in Boas. That is saying something.
Bottom line: If you are an undergraduate who has completed at least ODEs and want to do well in your advanced undergraduate physical science studies, you need to read this book. Every undergraduate physics program should teach a year long course based on this book.
Top reviews from other countries
To see a full list of everything covered go to the 'search inside this book' link below its image.
The book starts each topic from the basics, so don't worry about being thrown in at the deep end having forgotten stuff. But also don't be put off thinking it wastes time on the basics, it doesn't.
There are a lot of question and answers on all the topics as you go along so you can check your understanding, and worked examples too.
I would say it is best for physics and I would double check with the course teacher/lecturer for biology or chemistry as it is not cheap. For me, it was the perfect choice!
However, it is really not the stuff I think it should be. The quality of the book is horrible, what i mean is the paper and the printing.
Really horrible I have to say, even worse than the toilet paper.
Spending over 30 pounds for the book that is difficult for me to read, horrible printing.