- Paperback: 592 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press (13 November 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521575729
- ISBN-13: 978-0521575720
- Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 3.3 x 25.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,54,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Analytical Mechanics Paperback – 13 Nov 1998
Customers who bought this item also bought
'This book is a welcome addition to the available choices for a graduate text in modern classical mechanics and I encourage instructors to consider it.' R. W. Robinett, American Journal of Physics
Analytical Mechanics, first published in 1999, provides a detailed introduction to the key analytical techniques of classical mechanics. The authors set out the fundamentals of Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics and go on to cover such topics as planetary orbits, nonlinear dynamics, chaos, and special relativity. It is an ideal textbook for advanced undergraduate courses in classical mechanics.
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 mobile phone number.
|5 star (0%)|
|4 star (0%)|
|3 star (0%)|
|2 star (0%)|
|1 star (0%)|
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
While this is an interesting pedagogical approach, it severely limits the value of this book as a general physics text. In fact, outside the exact instructor-based class format used by the authors, the book is relatively useless.
As alternatives, I'd recommend Fowles & Cassiday (at the easy end of the spectrum), or for the more ambitious, just jump into Goldstein. Either of those volumes, plus a good problem book, will teach you far more physics than Hand & Free.
Unfortunately, this creates some displeasure among students since the book is plagued by many problems. The typesetting and the graphics are good but everything else is not that good. Not much planning was done and not much effort was placed to convert the initial lecture notes and emails into a coherent and pedagogical manuscript. And the flaws, in my opinion, are not the lack of answers for the problems at the back of the book, nor that the book is really too advanced, nor that the book is too mathematical as has been argued by other reviewers.
Instead I take issue with: (1) The writing style is poor. (2) The solved problems and examples are not well presented and their number is not enough to cover all concepts discussed in the book. There is a good fraction of unsolved problems however. (3) The ordering of the material. For example: Chapter 3 on Oscillators could be Chapter 1. Almost no Lagrangian formalism is used. Another example is Sections 5.1 and 5.2. They use only the concept of the Lagrangian. They do not fit in Chapter 5 which is about the Hamiltonian formulation of Mechanics. (4) Not only the material could have been ordered better but, more importantly, the presentation of the topics is fragmented. For example: In Section 1.4 to concept of a constraint is given. There is some discussion on the classification/distinction of constraints but the discussion is stopped and the most important distinction - holonomic vs. nonholonomic - is discussed in Appendix A of Chapter 1. In Chapter 2, instead of presenting the theory of variations and then explain how it is applied to physical problems, the authors open sections with titles such as `2.7 Solving Problems with Explicit Holonomic Constraints' and `2.8 Nonintegrable Nonholonomic Constraints - a method that works'. As a result, great confusion emerges between the mathematical techniques and the concept of constraints. I would have preferred that the same problems (some with and some without constraints) are first solved in Chapter 1 using virtual work and then in Chapter 2 using calculus of variations. (5) There are many important issues that are left as exercises and are not discussed in the text. For example: what is the relation between the energy and the Hamiltonian? (6) There is no section on classical scattering and cross sections. This is very surprising given that one of the authors is an accelerator physicist. The students learn about the topic in a single problem: Problem 28 of Chapter 4. (This explains why I claimed that the list of topics is almost complete and not complete.)
There are several other issues that bother me but hopefully the above list is enough. There is certainly a need for another book on Classical Mechanics that will contain the topics that this book contains but written with care, attention to detail and clarity. Until then, this book will be used by many instructors and you will have to buy it if you are an undergraduate student studying the subject. If you really want to avoid it, try Landau and Lifshitz's Mechanics, Third Edition: Volume 1 (Course of Theoretical Physics) which is an excellent book but it is requiring a higher level of mathematical skill and is missing topics that were developed after the authors' deaths (e.g. chaos) or found in other volumes of the series (e.g. relativity).