- Paperback: 181 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (December 23, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1107617529
- ISBN-13: 978-1107617520
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 35 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians 1st Edition
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"... in a logically clear and physically rigorous way the book highlights the landmarks of the analytical mechanics so that the attentive student can be easily prepared for the exam. It is suitable for studying in intermediate and upper-level undergraduate courses of classical mechanics ..."
Vladimir I. Pulov, Journal of Geometry and Symmetry in Physics
A concise but rigorous treatment of variational techniques, focussing primarily on Lagrangian and Hamiltonian systems, this book is ideal for physics, engineering and mathematics students. Written in clear, simple language and featuring numerous worked examples and exercises, this book is a valuable supplement to courses in mechanics.
Top customer reviews
How come there is no solutions to the exercises available?
It is a decent book if you already know the subject and trying to review it but do not try to learn from it.
By the way, I absolutely love the other books in the series (e.g. Maxwell's Equations). A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations. Absolutely get that one However, I highly recommend skipping the Hamill book.
1. Is it worth it?
2. What about Kindle?
Yes to 1, as it gives a really stripped down, very simplified intro that will help through a LOT of the more difficult aspects of the calculus of variations. The author jokes that even the most overused formulas for acceleration in physics texts use oversimplified accelerations in Cartesian planes to hide the fact that any real, generalized analytic solutions are actually all subsets of advanced Hamilton-Jacobi formulas! Other than the most basic, most motion formula problems actually require numeric rather than analytic methods.
For 2-- Great news. Although Kindle (and most e readers) slaughter LaTex, this little book on Kindle ROCKS. The publisher took the time and care to be sure the formulas and illustrations worked. Don't laugh, many do not do this! Yes, you have the minor hassle of a few e-page breaks where you have to go back and forth for an illustration, but the formulas are "blocked" so they are readable on every device I've tried, from my Android Note II to cloud/laptop and Kindle Fire. This is good news, because instead of making an $80 text $79 on Kindle like some publishers (grrrr), this sweet little text is about $13 on Kindle at this writing. Go for it!
The author recommends a LOT of other titles for the "full" story with more applications and advanced treatments-- but two to consider that are just awesome are:
Hamiltonian and Lagrangian Dynamics: Volume 1 and Hamiltonian and Lagrangian Dynamics: Volume 2.
Trying to present the most essential ideas of the topic, the author has decided to exclude all standard applications such as scattering, central potentials, rigid body, chains of particles, small oscillations, etc. Hence, it cannot be considered a standard textbook and, on its own, it cannot serve as a standalone reading on classical mechanics. In addition, the effort to suppress the size of the book has resulted in not including many examples, solved problems and a thorough end-of-chapter list of problems.
Overall, it is a really good book and students should make it part of their recommended reading. However, they should still look for additional texts which include the topics omitted in this one.
I am very disappointed by the Kindle version's rendering of the equations. They are so tiny as to be almost unreadable. I can't understand why a book published in 2014 would be presented in electronic form using the stone-age method of displaying the mathematical expressions as images rather than as electronically typeset characters. When viewed on a tablet I can enlarge each such image so as to read it, but that is frustrating, cumbersome and distracting. That option isn't even available on a PC.
To my knowledge, there is no way of expanding the image sizes to coincide with enlarging the font display. Hamill's book is certainly not the only offender, but it is one of the most egregious.
I also want to comment on the post-enlightenment practice of avoiding the pronoun "we" in mathematical texts. To illustrate why this is inferior to the traditional usage consider the following: if I add two plus two I make four. Now, the astute reader will understand that if you add two plus two you make four. If some third party were to add two plus two he will also make four. So, to the enlightened mind, if _we_ add two plus two, we make four.