
Content by S. Santos Hern...
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Reviews Written by S. Santos Hernandez "Sergi" (UK)







2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
What this book is more or less about, 21 Aug 2011
I was curious to see what a reviewer might have said about this book now that I have almost finihsed it. Unfortunately not much has been said yet so I have decided to write something myself.
Briefly, this book is basic enough as to be followed by somebody with the elementary knowledge of Calculus given in a first year degree still thorough enough to give you a clear picture of what quantum mechanics is about. I think the author carefully chose the title "concepts" because this is what you get, i.e. concepts. Having said that there are several exerises that have been fully worked out in the book and the details given in the small biographies throughout the book give you a hint of the complications of the development of the theory in the first half of the twentieth century.
The books starts with a brief introduction to relativity. I think this is relatively easy to follow for anybody with a good english A level or similar or a good first year of Physics. The reason why this chapter is introduced as a first chaptr becomes clear as you start working on subsequent chapters sinc you see that the author explains when relativity issues need to be considered or can be ignored. When they need to be considered you simply need to remember what you learnt in the first chapter.
Then, the book has three chapters that prepare you to get to Schridinger's equation SE, i.e. the equation for energy, E=hf, that for momentum, etc. One you make it to the fifth Chapter it gives you a simple derivation for the SE. At this point you need to know spherical coordinates, solving partial differential equations, etc. Yet, the maths are simple enough that you can learn from standard Engineering books such as Stroud's Engineering Mathematics (very simple). However, once you have made it to Chapter 5 you need to know your classical physics, i.e. find the potential of a system and what that means. Then you start solving the typical problems of teh partical in an infinite well, the Harmonic Oscillator, etc. All of these problems are well explained and worked out. From here to book moves to many atoms, molecules, statistical mechanics and the rest without stretching out on the maths much more. However, I still consider that some knowledge of classical mechanics is necessary to follow this book. On top of that, since the book doesnt teach you to just solve problems some serious thinking regarding the meaning of the fundamental concepts of physics is also required.
Overall, this is one of the fw books that I manage to follow on quantum mechanics where I dont get so lost in the maths that I lose sight of the meaning of it all. Still, after reading it you get enough knowledge as to solve the standard problmes in quatum mechanics and hopefully a good background for enquiring deeper into the theory by yourself.









0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
This is not possible, 27 Mar 2011
Please go to wikipedia and you will see that the author has won important teaching awards. This guy has written many books and understands what the point is. I completely disagree that he is just an academic. The guy solves real life problems and to do that you need more than just "pass exam questions". I would think the reviews below have been written by people who want to pass exams.
I am now doing research and I find that "basic things" can be very helpful as long as you know them well. Solving typical exam questions only won't do. One needs to think "unfortunately" and I assume this is a bit what this book is doing.
Also, remember calculus textbooks are typically super large and have over 1000 pages of possibly theorems that are hard to follow. This book is a simplification to put you in context.









2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
As usual, students mistake learning with passing!, 15 July 2010
I was apalled when I saw this book has three stars. Please, let us not misunderstand a few things here. Every book has a level of complexity, hence people should start at their level. When I bought this book four years ago I wasnt able to follow anything in it. But I didnt complain about the authors not explaining, I realised I needed to study the fundamentals a bit. So I went for a statics book (vectors mehcnaics for engineers), I revised all the chapters there for a few months. I also covered the dynamics section but if you arent into it it might take you month and might not be very useful for mechanics of materials if you dont study dynamical systems anyway. Then I got Gere's book on strength of materials and NOW, I can follow this book by Benham et al. and I can assure you it is very well written and has many interesting things in it, if you are indeed interested of course. I understand that people giving this book less than four or five stars are students trying to pass an exam by revising a few days or weeks before the exam. In that case, I admit this book is not for you since it requires that the student knows something and puts some effort. If you want to pass exams, do what I did, simply go though past papers and semi memorise the answers. That is not learning and says nothing about how good of a learning tool a past paper is, but simple helps you pass an exam. This fact is what makes me deeply mistrust the current educational system. Also, note this book doenst have the title Introduction like some misleading books have.









16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Dont be fooled by cover! Nice book inside!, 13 July 2010
This book is actually for beginners of tensor calculus! I would have never thought so, even if the title says basics, because of the way it looks. Then I happily realised that as long as you can do partial differentiation and know what an absolute differential is you are safe for the first 2030 chapters! That is where I am but it looks that the rest will be just as good. Very nice and clear explanations. If you can visualise what a differential of a position vector and its relationship to its variables or coordinates is, then that is fine, you can buy this and expect to learn without being put off after 2 pages! Maybe you need to know the physical and mathematical meaning of the gradient, etc. also but that is elementary calculus if you really want to start doing tensor calculus. So the book is truly an introduction to tensors if you know teh basics of multiple variable calculus.
*** I have now finished the book, two weeks later and I am very pleased. Everything is well expplained from the begining to the end. The best thing about the book is that is so well structured in the definitions and so easy to follow that you would think you're doing easy maths again! Nevertheless this is only theory. It doesnt come with exercises of tensors applied to the physical sciences or real applications. Also, it doenst interpret or explain from a physical point of view what tensors are and what their use is. In other words, if you want to use tensors after reading this book only, you wont be able to do so. I like books that explain why things are useful and where they cant be used but I still like this book because, mathematically, it is well organised and takes you from the basics of multiple variable calculus to tensor calculus.
By the way, I read to learn. So I cant advise as to how good this is for passing exams which I dont particularly care about.









10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent!, 1 July 2010
I cant believe this book only has 3 stars at the minute. This book has been around for ages and many people have learnt from it a subject that somehow is prohibitively difficult when learnt from standard textbooks. Come on guys, this is a very cheap book and I would definitely buy this book and any other as good as this if there was any other and if I wanted to learn electromagnetism properly. Particualrly I went through all the exercises and I found them very nice. Some challenging and in the end, it was a very nice experience. Go straight to standard textbooks and I guarantee you wont have half teh fun you can have with this book. They might actually put you off!
By the way, I cant believe you can cover this subject in less pages and learn as much as you can from this book. Of course I can simply write down Maxwell's equations and call it a one page book with all covered but you are lying to yourself if you think you will learn this topic in just a few pages. This book is an introdcution and I find it a through one that has exactly the number of pages and questions required for an undergraduate physicist.
On a more scientific note, you need to be good at integratinga and differentiating both one and several variables fucntions. Then youc an read this quite comfortably. I would also encourage knowing quite a bit about solving and the meaning of differential equations. After all, the wave (differential) equation is Maxwell's greatest achievement here. the author says you dont need to know much, but if you want to understand the end result I encourage learning them. Besides, who as a scientist wouldnt need differential equations?
By the way, have you noticed that many books you read on anything requiring vector calculus recommend this? It must mean something!









6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
I think you get more exercise changing channels with a remote, 15 Feb 2010
This is for people who obvioulsy have never done sport. Someone recommended it to me saying she felt is good excercise. Is she fit? You guessed it! Dont bother. Well, maybe the colours are ok and if you dont mind wasting your time maybe you'll enjoying powering this thing every 20 seconds.
I said the above years ago!Now I see I was an idiot! I couldnt make it work in a few minutes and I threw it! A freind showed me how good it is!









4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Nice summary of vector calculus and good transition to advanced topics and applications, 12 Nov 2009
I understand why the other reviewer has 0 positive feedback!
If you have never seen any vector calculus before I doubt you'll make it to chapter 4. And if you do, that is as far as you'll go for a few months!
However, this book is very short for what it covers. So you can move fast. It fast but concisely transitions from basic operations with vectors to the main theorems and concepts of vector calculus like Green's theorem, Line integrals etc. Then it has an introduction to tensors and finally covers some good applications of these operations and theorems.
I assume that for somebody that wants to rapidly move from basic vector operations to advanced concepts in vector calculus this is a good book and, if completely and patiently followed, it allows the reader to understand the subject to a level good enough for any undergraduate course that I can think of. Having said that, as I say above, I dont believe somebody with just some basic understanding of the algebra of vectors can finish this book without going nuts. Thus I recommend that, if you havent done that already, read some elementary vector calculus, geometry (with vectors) and basic differential equations before you read this. Basically, that the author assumes no previous knowledge is "partially correct" but doesnt necessarily mean that it will be the best book for such a person. This is indeed the case for many books like this one.
Overall, I found it very good, concise and stright to the point giving good definitions and explaining the important bits of vector calculus necessary to follow any course in electromagnetism, elasticity theory and the like. In other words, if your aim is applied fields like these Ive just mentioned, read this book and do the exercises then the theory of these applied subjects will be much easier to follow. But if your aim is just pasing an exam, I guess this will be too much work! Its taken me ages to move on, you learn the stuff, but not fast enough to pass an exam. Then again I dont care about exams but thats why Im reading it.









7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Straight to what matters, 23 Nov 2008
This is a book on classical mechanics that goes direct to the point. It;s highly understandable and clear, however, if you have never studied mechanics and you learn well from this book only, I would be surprised! However, if you have solved exercises in mehcanics and physics in general and have read some mechanics, calculus and differential equations then reading this book is a pleasure since it's strict and defines what has to be defined. With that I mean that some books just explain you what things are in terms of the physical interpretation and then write a formula. But sometimes you dont really understand why or for what purpose a definition is needed. But this book tells you directly what you are looking for in every chapter or field of mechanics and then strictly defines the concepts to finally write the formula, or derive it, thus there is no ambiguity. Also, you know why the definitions or theorems have to (is useful to) be defined in that way. This is extremely important in mehanics since you really need to know what a point mass, a frame of reference and so on is if you want to think about how to solve problems and also about the significance of the result.
Also, and perhaps surprisingly for such a strict book in terms of theory (even if not very advanced mathematics are used), most of the exercises relevant to exams and real life basic problems are clearly solved and explained by the author. In sum, not for the beginner that struggles with elementary calculus, but still understandable enough for someone that has understood something at the level of "Thomas Calculus" which is an undergraduate book in applied maths or mathematical methods.
Anotehr thing to think about is that this book is up to date. It gives clear and precise introductions to some hot topics like theory of small oscillations, nonlinear oscillations and phase space, and, importantly, starting from teh very basics guides you to the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalism and Noether's theorem. What else can you expect from an undergraduate level book! Magnificent. Finally, like with anything else, I wouldn't learn from this book only and I would try to read others also like, for example, "Vector mechanics for engineers" or any other that you might find useful. The one I mention lacks up to date information and maybe notation but has plenty of other good things also.
Well done to the author and the department of applied maths in Manchester.









1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great book on classical mechanics., 27 July 2008
I must agree about the fact that in the book there is not much transition form basic physics that 1415 year olds would do in school to more advanced concepts of mechanics. Another point is that edition after edition they haven't changed a word. For example in the chapter on friction I believe they should have changed their comments on the nature of frictional forces since their edition in 1977 to now as there has been a whole branch (Tribology) of science researching the area. But they haven't. However, problems, which are very important, have been changed to give, if possible, a broader variety.
Most importantly this book is perfect for those who want to truly understand mechanics and not just solve problems. Thus, how long will you take to fuly master the concepts in this book? months and years maybe. I think this is why some reviewers don't like this book. This is not like a typical A level (English) or University taught course where the lecturers explain you a concept and you apply it robotically. With this book you need to master your tools! This is a problem but also the only way to really learn a subject. Do I believe this book can be taught for a one semester course? No. Why? Because it requires some serious thinking to go through each proof and derivation but this is true for mechanics and physics in general. Still, a lecturer could get some of the results from this book, teach them and show the students how to solve some basic problems. So its use depends on what you want from it.
Overall this book is a thorough tour to statics and the dynamics of particles and rigid bodies. Knowing each single concept and page in this book is a must for anybody that wants to be a master in the field. You never know enough about this subject so it helps that it's got more problems than Ill ever manage to solve.
If you want to read this, you need to know elementary calculus and vector calculus. More than anything, addition, scalar product, vector product, etc. and derivation, integration of scalar an vector functions and the basics of solving differential equations.









5.0 out of 5 stars
Statics first mechanics or strength after, 2 Jun 2008
As I commented below, I think this book is very good but one has to have covered Statics first. I recommend any book on statics but I used "Vector Mechanics" by Ferdinand P. Beer and E. Russell Johnston, then I had no problem following Gere's. Therefore, and overall I agree that the book is extremely good since it explains everything once you understand that everything refers to strength of materials only and not to statics. In other words, at Uni one would cover a one semester course on statics first and then a one semester course on strength of materials.


