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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for self-teaching. Arfken uses the Socratic method.
I am an M.S. in physics and use the book for reference and filling in the gaps in my knowledge. In each section, Arfken teaches the bare essentials and then asks the student to work out the rest of the body of knowledge in the exercises. Each new theorem or principle is clearly developed in small learnable steps, and the student has the feeling of Developing Physics,...
Published on 26 Sep 1998

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good as reference, terrible to learn anything from.
This book is very useful as a reference once you know the subject matter. However, it is not very good for learning the subject in the first place. Enough so that I was advised-by people who had already taken the course I needed it for-to buy some other book to actually learn mathematical methods for physicists from, and then use this exclusively as a reference...
Published on 20 Oct 2011 by Dorfl


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for self-teaching. Arfken uses the Socratic method., 26 Sep 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Mathematical Methods for Physicists (Hardcover)
I am an M.S. in physics and use the book for reference and filling in the gaps in my knowledge. In each section, Arfken teaches the bare essentials and then asks the student to work out the rest of the body of knowledge in the exercises. Each new theorem or principle is clearly developed in small learnable steps, and the student has the feeling of Developing Physics, instead of just learning about it. Most exercises are of the type "Prove that statement (or equation) X to be true", so the student doesn't have to worry too much about numerical answers. Each exercise or topic is carefully built on the foundation of what went before. When finished, I *really understand* the deeper issues of the topic.
Dr. Arfken's perspectives on the subject matter also open up entire new worlds to explore. Many times, at the end of an exercise, I realized I had just proven a statement of which I had always wanted to see the proof. There is a strong Aha! content to the entire book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary book for every physics student, 4 April 2005
I'm a physical engineering student, using this book (the 5th edition) for my Mathematical Methods of Physics course.
Its look and paper quality are perfect, they made it much smaller and a bit easier than the former editions (so it's easier to handle this 1112 pages giant).
But what's really important is the inside. I found its mathematics quite understandable and easy to follow, but of course it requires a good understanding in mathematical analysis first. I believe that it contains basically everything for an undergraduate physics student and even after it can be useful as a research professional.
The only thing missing from it compared to Boas is the probability calculus, but it has much more stuff what the Boas doesn't have.
In every new theory there's the physical connection, which makes it very easy to put the new knowledge to its right place. There are also problems to solve after every part. These problems are well chosen, the only problem I found that there are no solutions in many of cases.
Conclusion: it's not a cheap book, but it contains practically everything to understand even the relatively complicated mathematics of the modern physics in an undergraduate course.
Contents
Vector Analysis
Curved Coordinates, Tensors
Determinants and Matrices
Group Theory
Infinite Series
Functions of a Complex variable I & II
Differential Equations
Sturm-Liouville Theory
Gamma-Factorial Function
Bessel Functions
Legendre Functions
Special Functions
Fourier Series
Integral Transforms
Integral Equations
Calculus of Variations
Nonlinear Method and Chaos
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful, but you need time to study it properly, 5 Sep 1999
By A Customer
I'm a first year Physics Student, and I used this book for my Mathematical Physics course. I regret only buying it halfway through. Before that I was forced to rely on Boas, and that was not enough!
Arfken really helped if only by presenting a different approach. It's always better to see through two eyes than through only one. I really regret buying it so late, because thanks to that I could only use it in that function (a second viewpoint).
Now that the prelims are over, though, I will try to delve a bit deeper into it all and, maybe, finally get to grips with the terrible Legendre Polynomials and his Hermitian acolytes...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our Battlecry: "Arfken!", 6 July 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Mathematical Methods for Physicists (Hardcover)
Throughout the past year, our common battlecry in my classical mechanics and mathematical physics courses was "Arfken!"... usually followed by "Maple!" (a powerful math program). I am not as qualified to offer a comprehensive review of this book as the professors and graduate students whose words also appear here. However, I know that someday I will be and I know that Arfken was one o the best guides that I had on the trip. 'Nuff said.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book! Nothing is "easily shown that....", 10 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Mathematical Methods for Physicists (Hardcover)
This book is excellent when used in conjunction with a book like Mathews and Walker "Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering". The Arfken book has problems that are oriented to the student taking a mathematical physics class for the first time. I highly recommend it to anyone teaching that type of class.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great. Excellent. A must have., 7 Jun 2004
By 
BENNARDO FRANCESCO (CASTROLIBERO (CS) ITALY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
A few words only: this book is wonderful. It is complete, accurate and easy to read. It is really a "must have". It is worthy the money you spend for it. Excellent the Bessel Functions and the Legendre Functions. Also, superb the Integral Transforms. Buy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good deal., 9 Mar 2014
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I got what I expected. A totally new book for a very good prize! I'm gonna buy all my books from here in the future..
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good as reference, terrible to learn anything from., 20 Oct 2011
This book is very useful as a reference once you know the subject matter. However, it is not very good for learning the subject in the first place. Enough so that I was advised-by people who had already taken the course I needed it for-to buy some other book to actually learn mathematical methods for physicists from, and then use this exclusively as a reference handbook.

If you don't mind books that need a second book to actually become readable, then this book is fine. Otherwise, I would recommend picking something else.
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8 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pathetic, 3 Aug 2001
By A Customer
Call this a Solutions Manual? Not likely. This [is a] small document made from photocopied A4 paper...
It is not a solutions manual at all, but gives very brief answers to ONE OR TWO PROBLEMS IN EACH EXERCISE! It doesn't even cover half the problems.
It is such a shame, because if this were a proper solutions manual, together with the main text, it would be the ultimate guide to maths for physicist and scientists in general.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ok content but no answers., 6 Mar 2013
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Comparing to other books in the same price range (~40) this is a poor effort:

Cons:
1- no answers to questions, you could spend 10 hours doing Q's from book , get all of them wrong and be none the wiser.

2- Examples are present but are nowhere near as clear as in Riley Hobson Bence Maths book.

3- Still errors in maths formulae (Latex conversion from scan, apparently), Meaning that i have to check every equation that is not familiar in another text, making this redundant.

4- A lot of whitespace: while layout does help to understand what is going on, on some pages there is hardly any writing, since the titles are comparatively huge to the actual text.

Conclusion: biggest downfall of the book is no answers (not even a seperate book purchase or something like that) and present errors.
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Mathematical Methods for Physicists
Mathematical Methods for Physicists by Hans J. Weber (Hardcover - Sep 1995)
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