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Numerical Methods for Physics (2nd Edition) 2nd Edition
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The book ignores the usual approach taken by numerical analysis texts, which is to build up from the fundamental ideas (e.g., finite precision arithmetic, error propagation, fixed point iteration, finite difference approximation to the derivative), instead jumping almost immediately into a projectile motion ODE problem. This allows the author to move on quickly to adaptive Runge-Kutta in Chapter 3, Fast Fourier Transforms in Chapter 5, PDEs in Chapter 6 and finish with a discussion of Monte Carlo methods; whereas more traditional books will only begin to cover PDEs near the end and usually do not discuss FFTs or Monte Carlo.
Of course, this comes at a price. I took a senior level course taught in the traditional manner described above, and happened to pick up a copy of this book in the middle of the semester. This book has far more physical insight than my assigned text, and leaves the student able to appoach a far greater set of practical problems, but I think those who are serious about computational work should cover the basics more thoroughly. One outstanding feature of the book is the end of chapter projects that unify and apply what has been learned, and offer a chance for better students to stretch their muscles.
On the other side, what the author says in the preface bears repeating here: the methods in described in this book are (almost all) foundational, and nowhere near the state of the art.Read more ›
immediately. There are entire programs listed in the book and in an accompanying disk which can be used in the solution of the problems. One simply edits and adds to these programs to solve most of the problems. Afterwards you have a good collection of generic code which can be put together to solve other problems. The book includes the code in C++ and Matlab. (older edition had fortran and matlab) Professor Garcia is a person who works in the area of computational fluid dynamics and statistical mechanics, both very computational areas, hence he is well qualified to write this text. There are a good number of problems and answers to a number of these, so the book is also useful for self study. Try it you'll like it.
To download the code for this book, Google "Garcia computational physics". Then go to the authors personal site.
This link to the code should have been included in the preface, but was given in my class.
However, it should be noted who this book is NOT for. This book is not for those seeking a deeper understanding of numerical methods. For that, you're much better off reaching for a mathematics text (such as Shampine/Gordon). This book is also not for practicing scientists or engineers who require more advanced or computationally efficient methods. This book is meant as an introduction, and the author sticks to that rigorously. That said, after mastering the material in this book, there should be nothing preventing you from moving on to more advanced methods and difficult problems.
If you are looking for an introductory text though, you'd be hard pressed to top this one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent introduction to numerical methods in physics. As an undergraduate with little prior programming experience, I had no real trouble with this book. Read morePublished on May 28, 2002 by Brian Copp
I got this book because I wanted a more modern reading on numerical techniques. This book delivers this and more. Read morePublished on February 16, 2001