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Introduction to Mathematical Physics: Methods & Concepts Hardcover – 24 Jan 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 736 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 2 edition (24 Jan 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199641390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199641390
  • Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 4.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 692,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


This book gathers together in one place both standard and advanced topics on mathematical methods in physics. As such, it will be of use to both researchers and students in theoretical physics, as well as university-level lecturers who may wish to use it as a textbook. The second edition expands on the set of problems of the first edition, and includes new material on special relativity and chaos. It covers a broad spectrum of topics that will be of enormous use to theoretical physicists. (Richard J. Szabo, Heriot-Watt University)

About the Author

Wong is a theoretical physicist educated at UCLA and Harvard. He has worked in Copenhagen, Princeton, Oxford, and Saclay (near Paris). He has been at UCLA since 1969. He was a Sloan research Fellow, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society. His main interest is in theoretical physics.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is a long time since I got down to theoretical physics and I needed a refresher of the maths to make progress.

This book did it. I have a lot of the basic theory and applications, but it was so long ago that I had forgotten some of the concepts. This book served as an excellent refresher and it did not take long before I could return to quantum mechanics and general relativity.

I did review many books before I settled on this one and do not regret the decision.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
For Currency, It's This or Cahill... 21 April 2013
By Let's Compare Options Preptorial - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Dozens of "mathematical physics" books exist, including $20 classics from Dover. We recently reviewed an advanced copy of Cahill's fine text: Physical Mathematics. If you're confining yourself to the 90% of physics math that include tensors and linear algebra up to relativity, don't waste your time on either of these texts, there are many more available, at far less cost.

If you've got to get heavily into quantum mechanics, Laplace operators, wave functions, etc., the majority of texts either start at too high a level (assuming advanced linear algebra or even abstract algebra and analysis), or don't cover the most current techniques and algorithms. For those, you need either this text or the upcoming Cahill text above.

Comparing the two: it's interesting. This text comes from a physicist looking at math and Cahill comes from a mathematician looking at physics. Of course the math and applications are identical, but the learning method much different! Both start relatively simply (second year undergrad, but you're MUCH better off if you have at least one linear algebra course, or self study book, before you tackle these), then progress quickly (as in within two chapters in this text and three in Cahill) to advanced material.

As an example, take a "simple" wave function. Your function will progress from either a short circuit or closed, taught string harmonic, to a guitar string, to an electromagnetic wave, to a quantum wave. By page two of the simplest guitar string, you're into partial differential equations! That's because you quickly find you've got to hold either time or space constant to solve the other. By electromagnetic waves, you're into Fourier and Laplace transforms and operators (and their much harder finishes in inverse transforms), and by quantum, your waves are actually "made of" probability distributions!

This text tries to balance the practical with rigor, which is a difficult marriage. That's because mathematical physics has "fractured" into several fields now: 1. Researchers who try to come up with algorithms to solve differential equations, or in the case of discrete, group theory matrices; 2. Mathematicians working on proofs of new solution methods, such as using Laplacians to solve graph problems in physics and chemistry 3. Practical engineers who use MatLab and other programs tied to their CADs and PSpices to USE Fourier transforms to get specific voltage (ie information/signal) values for their wave functions or circuits 4. Physics researchers.

Both of these texts are superb, for reference, for self study, and for courses. The choice has to do with where you stand on the above point of view scale. I'd choose this text if my field were physics or engineering and I'd choose Cahill if it was math or engineering. If you're in engineering (as I am), both texts work, and either covers the entire field in fine fashion. Cahill is a "little" more friendly if you're rusty in linear algebra, but both progress rapidly to differential equations if you're in continuous, and group theory/graph if you're into discrete.

As texts, both are student friendly with great websites, errata, additional weblems, etc. I'd choose either of these over the current group of 5 or 6 that are used most often, due to currency of material and relevance of examples. Sure, RF is forever, but in the real world, if you don't relate what you're teaching to MathCad, you're doing your students a disservice. Both of these texts do so thoroughly, with the underlying pseudo code and examples that allow you to translate what's going on "under" the software just enough to reformulate your problems without becoming a PhD mathematician. 5 stars to this volume for keeping it's usefulness in that way as a great reference.

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