Classical Mechanics: Pearson New International Edition (Anglais) Broché – 5 août 2013
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For 30 years, this book has been the acknowledged standard in advanced classical mechanics courses. This classic book enables readers to make connections between classical and modern physics — an indispensable part of a physicist's education. In this new edition, Beams Medal winner Charles Poole and John Safko have updated the book to include the latest topics, applications, and notation to reflect today's physics curriculum.
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Some material has been deleted: the discussions of stability, some historical notes along the discussions, correspondence between HJ and Schrodinger Eqn, etc. The nice further references and notes to various other books in the end of each chapter has been omitted, the same thing happen to the extensive bibliography. A lot of typos appear in this new edition. And still no attempts to include advanced mathematical methods from differential geometry, except when discussing SR. Also, no attempt to include some worked examples. The discussions on classical fields has been shortened, a regret if we remember the need to leard classical fields before step into quantum fields.
The book became more accessible, in fact some undergrads might be able to cope with this, either after Marion-Thornton or somewhere in the junior-senior year. The discussions on SR use the standard -2 metric instead of the awkward ict. Several discussions on one-forms and GR appeared. More problems. Also there is a new chapter in nonlinear oscillations
If you want a modern book on classical mechanics check also J.V. Jose and E.J. Saletan, Classical Dynamics: A Contemporary Approach ... it offers roughly the same material PLUS advanced treatment with geometrical methods and differential geometry, and there are extensive discussions on nonlinear dynamics and classical fields. I recommend some instructors to adapt Jose & Saletan for their class, since it is cheaper, more modern, than Goldstein.
I would give this book 6 stars if I could. However, the 3rd edition has turned what used to be an excellent book into some kind of butchery and orgy or less relevant topics. For example, very few people doing research actually care about chaos theory, aside from its coolness. While I learned this stuff from a mathematically rigorous standpoint decades ago, I never got to use it since then. Also I find it difficult to discuss chaos theory when stochastic processes are ignored. When doing experiments, you always deal with noise which will actually bury a lot of the interesting dynamics. I really don't see the point of altering Goldstein to cover chaos theory when several excellent textbooks on the topic already exist (Arnold, Devaney, Scheinermann).
I bought the 3rd edition without knowing about its new slant. At the very least, they should have kept what was in the 2nd edition. Instead, they deleted entire sections which I used to love, such as the derivation of the Lagrangian density for an acoustic field (Appendix E). It's totally gone! I am no longer using the 3rd edition copy, and would consider selling it or getting rid of it. I am much better off with my 2nd edition copy.
And you get much more material with this book. The book is readable, and there are plenty of useful exercises. You start off with Lagrange's equations. Then you learn a little about the calculus of variations. And then the central force problem, kinematics of rigid body motion, and oscillations. And there's material on Hamilton's equations, canonical transformations, and Hamilton-Jacobi theory. In this manner, the text covers in 420 pages what Landau does in 170. There are more explanations and more examples. It's not a bad way to learn the subject.
In addition, there are chapters on special relativity, chaos, canonical perturbation theory, and continuous systems and fields. These are good topics to cover in a upper division class on mechanics. This book has a lot to offer a student and would be fun to teach from.
A distinct feature of this book is that it tries to teach classical mechanics in a way that illuminates many analogous approaches in quantum theory. By this I mean the theoretical constructions such as the Hamilton-Jacobi theory, Poisson brackets, canonical perturbation theory, relativistic field theory, and so on. This book is probably a must read for beginners of theoretical physics because some of the theoretical methods exploited here appear almost ubiquitously in other fields of physics. In the study of other subjects of physics, I was often reminded of the little bits of things I picked up from this book: variational principles, tensors and forms, symmetry groups, field theoretical ideas, etc.
Of course, the main goal of this book is to introduce the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of classical mechanics. The book is actually strong in this aspect. The first few chapters I think are very well written, especially the chapter on central force which is the most thorough treatment I have seen. There are things one hardly sees in other books of this type, such as the Lenz vector which would find a beautiful use in the quantum Kepler problem. However, the book tends to lose clarity in the latter chapters. The three chapters on Hamiltonian mechanics can be much better written. The chapter on chaos serves as nothing but a really rough introduction. Readers interested in these areas will probably benefit better by looking at other books written exclusively on Hamiltonian dynamics or chaos.
After all this is a good book mostly because I haven't yet found any other book at this level that does a better job. If one finds it difficult to read I would suggest getting the book by Marion and Thornton which contains many step-by-step derivations and tons of examples and in my opinion serves as a great companion to this book. Another book at almost the same level is the legendary book by Landau which is extremely concise and get-to-the-point. So some people may like Landau's style better. However, in my opinion, no other books can really replace this one as a comprehensive treatment of classical mechanics.
I ordered a hardback copy of this book, and that's what I got. However, the paper is newspaper quality. By newspaper quality I mean the type of paper that newspapers are printed on, which is a rough gray or tan low poundage paper. My university's bookstore sells copies with standard quality, acid free paper. I have no idea why the version sold by Amazon is lower quality.
The paper is extremely rough. This roughness, unfortunately, makes the printing blurry compared with laser printed books, and especially blurry with some of the images which are barely readable. If you're looking to buy this book, then you are no stranger to books. You know what a physics book should feel like. When I flip through the pages of this book I find myself turning the pages very slowly because it feels like they will rip apart if I'm not too careful. The paper quality is really that bad.
My suggestion is that you buy this particular book from your university's book store.