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Problems in general physics Hardcover – 1988
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This book has an amazing set of problems most of which need concepts from 3-4 different areas of Physics to solve, thus testing and developing your combinatorial creativity, which is in my humble opinion the mainstay of the creative process. This book changed the way I thought about problem solving! Often some questions would take a day or two to solve and when finally solved would give such a kick that I was always wanting to solve more. However I could not finish the last couple of sections of the book. There are in fact some questions in Irodov that have become the source of legendary geek jokes (like the famous joke about a professor trying to fool a judge and a policeman by using Doppler Effect Physics to claim that he did not jump the red signal and saw it as green, infact originated as a question in Irodov).
Although I used it exactly ten years ago, once in a while I dream of re-reading Feynman Lectures in Physics Vols I and II and take a shot at Irodov again, just to see if the book was really that difficult or if ten years of supposed progress in thinking would have made it easier to solve those problems now. If not, it would certainly test a lot of my brain circuitry in all the right ways!
If you are at the high school level, are ambitious and want a set of tough problems in Physics, then Irodov should be your book of choice!
To me, this book was the ultimate challenge to test the depth of understanding. Irodov was master of combining two or three areas of physics to create one single problem. With the help of this book, I realized how and when you apply Calculus to a Physics problem. Also, there were times when understanding the solution of a problem was also a challenge. It has been 15+ years and I still remember "Those IIT Prepration days". This book is very close to my heart! There are times when I talk to my college friends and we still talk about problems from this book. This book was a more of a culture in India.
The book is a collection of problems. Period. Most of them are tough, none of them are easy and all of them are a joy to tackle. Sometimes it may take you even days to figure out a single problem (or maybe I was just stupid). I remember going to bed with a problem and waking up in the middle of the night just because I dreamed of a solution that might work. This book (along with Ressnick and Halliday) inculcated in me a deep understanding of the nature of Physics and the joy of solving problems through rigorous mathematical and analytical techniques. Many problems in Irodov involved not only a good understanding of physics, but also required mental alertness. A question in the "Optics" section could just as easily need an understanding of gravity, electricity and even mechanics.
This book is sure to improve your problem solving skills and, at the same time, get you to look at physics from a mathematical angle. Everyone must get a copy.