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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 12 March 2010
I phrased the title of this review carefully. Riley, Bence and Hobson is a standard text for many engineering and physics undergraduate courses with good reason. It covers the majority of topics required to complete a physics degree and will remain useful after you graduate. I bought mine in my first year (now in year 2) and it looks like i'll be using it for a long time yet.

There are plenty of derivations, discussions and perhaps most importantly for physics/engineering students, examples that are related to the course. This could be relating partial derivatives and heat transfer, fourier transforms and Fraunhofer diffraction - you get the idea. There are plenty of general maths examples and enough problems to keep you busy for a few nights.

On the downside, this is - for me at any rate - a reference text first and foremost. Students looking for a lucid account of the mathematics behind the physics should look no further, but it isn't necessarily the book to buy if you want lots of simple problems for practice. The solutions manual goes a little way towards sort this out, you can buy it them both as a pack (recommended) and it covers many of the examples in depth. If you just want a book for practising your vector calculus or ironing out your calculus worries, look to one of Schaum's outlines instead.

Whilst the discussion is, on the whole, pretty lucid, it does move quickly. A certain amount of reading between the lines is required for some topics and this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it might put some people off. I found better explanations of things like Fourier transforms in books on digital signal processing, for instance. What you will find is that almost all the maths you'll ever do on a science course is in the book, even if it doesn't have a lengthy paragraph explaining it.

Mainly it is important to understand where the maths is coming from instead of blindly applying the required formula to set situations. Inevitably there will come a time when you actually have to know what the symbols are doing, rather than what process to apply to them. When that time comes, this is what you look to.

The verdict: It's a great book, it covers all the bases and has just the right amount of explanation to jog your memory on a forgotten topic. I would not recommend it for learning new principles from though, unless you really need to and stick to Schaum's for general practise - and for that I'd give it a 4.5.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2010
I'm not a textbook kind of guy - I have loads of them, for Maths in particular, but they tend to sit on my self collecting dust. Occasionally I'll look something up in them, but nine times out of ten I get confused and reach to the internet for my answer (which inevitably results in some rather dubious calculational conclusions).

However, with no exaggeration, this book hasn't been put back on the self since I've had it, it's constantly open. It really has to be THE best book of its kind out there. It takes everything with a very thorough and methodical approach, leaving no stone unturned on its quest to engage the reader whole-heartedly into the subject. Thanks to it I now understand areas of Maths that even after years of lectures I never quite got.

Reasons to buy this book:
- Very thorough approach to every subject includes a great amount of detail to make sure no reader is left confused.
- Plenty of relevant examples make the concepts portrayed more understandable.
- A very wide range of content - I have yet to not find what I want in there, very unusual for me.
- Approachable writing style doesn't leave you confused with over-complex language, but doesn't treat you like an idiot.
- Extremely good value for money, even at its RRP. It's a big book, much bigger than most of my textbooks.

Bad points:
- It's actually a little too big for paperback, and after a few months of regular use the spine looks like it hasn't got much life left - a couple of the middle pages are very close to breaking free.
- If you want the solutions you've got to buy another book (although even with the solution book it still works out cheaper than a good majority of textbooks of its kind).
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 22 March 2007
This book is simply the best. It is lightyears better than Boas (the most often suggested alternative), and it basically contains all the maths You'll ever need in all but the most theoretical undergraduate course of any natural science (well, except maths, if that's a science ;-) ).

In fact, now slowly finishing my PhD in physics, I think I can say that unless You are doing actual theoretical/mathematical physics, it probably contains all or most of the maths You'll need for the rest of Your life.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I have been looking for a complete guide to higher level Mathematics (for revision of a wide range of methods such as Fourier Transforms, Calculus, Group Theory etc.) and spent a considerable time looking at the various choices on Amazon. This book seemed to have the most consistent set of 5 star reviews - so I took the plunge.

I am delighted - it is well written, thoroughly comprehensive, has every topic I was looking for, and, although HUGE (well over 1300 pages!), is clearly laid out and easy to read.

I wish I had had this book when I was younger (I am now over half a century old!). I am a Computer Science PhD, rather than an Engineer or Physicist - but this book is the one for me!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 October 2014
This has to be the most useful textbook I have found so far.
It has content that covers first year material and continues to be useful until the end of fourth year for most of my undergraduate courses at the University of Manchester, even those that do not explicitly state that they are a mathematics course.

Everything is explained clearly and concisely so there is absolutely no confusion, and useful examples are given during each explanation.

The physical interpretation of concepts (e.g. integration, Dirac delta functions) is given, as opposed to other textbooks that just present the mathematics without this level of understanding. This is an incredibly effective book for quickly learning new topics.

There are questions and solutions provided for each topic, and these are usually both useful and relevant to physics. All of them are written in the style of a typical undergraduate worksheet.

As well as mathematics, this textbook has proven useful for dynamics and relativity with a very strong section on four vectors and tensors. Electromagnetism, quantum mechanics and waves modules have all required use of other sections of the book. Being aimed at the physical sciences, the mathematics is often presented with links to related topics in physics.

As well as learning new topics, Mathematical Methods makes an excellent reference guide to quickly find things.

Definitely recommend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 November 2008
I am a games developer and I was looking for a good textbook that I could turn to for the math involved in advanced rendering and physics. I am very pleased to have bought the third edition of this excellent work. For me this book is an absolute winner. It covers a huge range of topics, from quadratic equations to spherical harmonics, differential equations and quantum operators; yet the treatment does not feel hurried and terse like it does in some other books that cover such a scope (Kreyszig for example). It's written in a clear and engaging style and the print is not small - presumably profquantum is refrerring to an earlier edition in his/her review.
Run, don't walk, to buy this book
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on 31 August 2013
As the authors claim, this book really does contain all (and more) of the maths you're going to need for any science course. It really is a great investment at the start of an undergraduate degree; you're likely to want to keep it even after graduating if working in your chosen discipline (especially for PhDs!).

However, this is not an easy book to learn from; it can be very heavy going at times (and is generally quite formal throughout) and for compactness often misses out steps that are assumed to be simple. If you're a brilliant mathematician then this is ok, you probably wont need any other maths book, but for those who prefer a gentler approach I would highly recommend purchasing this book alongside Strouds books (Engineering Mathematics &Advanced Engineering Mathematics). After working through a chapter of Strouds book and completing all the exercises, you can then go back and fill in the gaps with this book, and then refer back to this book at any time when you need to brush up. If you're a poor student and strapped for cash then buy this book and try and loan strouds books from the library.

The exercises in this book are in general of a high standard, expect to spend some time on them (I would go as far to say that the later exercises in each chapter exceed examination grade questions). Therefore I also highly recommend purchasing the companion solution manual.

I've had this book since I started my undergraduate degree, and even now having graduated, I'm still using it to help me prepare for interviews. I imagine I will keep this book for a very long time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 March 2013
Contains most (if not all) of the mathematical material needed for and undergrade physics course (definitely up to Yr3, possibly after) whilst at the same time being very accessible for first/ second year ability. Each chapter starts from the basics , and gradually builds up to required level. Very useful to have answers at the back, useless otherwise (cant check whether you are correct or not). Exceptionally good section on vector calculus, as well as applications to different parts of physics.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2013
This is simply the best maths textbook for physicists. By the best I mean the easiest to understand, the easiest to find what your looking for and the most comprehensive. There are worked examples and the questions in the book are also good with answers for the odd numbered questions.
Yes it may look like a door stop but you do need alot of maths!! anyway it is easy to find what your looking for so thie size isn't an issue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2014
Arrived really quickly.

At this stage I cannot say anything about the content of this book but from what I know and heard from people, it's a brilliant book for first year Physics student. It has all the necessary maths in it and through explanations on all topics.
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