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The Variational Principles of Mechanics (Dover Books on Physics) Paperback – 22 Sep 1986

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  • The Variational Principles of Mechanics (Dover Books on Physics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.; New edition edition (22 Sept. 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486650677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486650678
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.2 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 471,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Format: Paperback
I used this book as part of my second year course on analytical mechanics. I will summarise my thoughts on this book in a few bullet-points

*The book covers (roughly in order) variational calculus, virtual work, D'Alembert's principle, Lagrange's equations, the canonical equations & transformations, equations of Hamilton & Jacobi, relativistic mechanics and finally a historical survey.

*Lanczos is a remarkable writer, it is no wonder this book is considered a classic (albeit a lesser-known one.) A combination of an excellent writer and a fascinating topic.

*The style of the book is (somewhat) informal. He gives a more intuitive approach to most of the topics, including the motivation for each new concept, which is very enlightening (at least for myself.)

*Dover's catalogue describes this as a "philosophical" book. I would disagree with this - he dedicates perhaps three sections in total to the philosophical implications of the analytical method, and in one of those sections he states "[]...scientific treatises should avoid philosophical discussions, in the case of the variational principles, an exception to the rule may be tolerated...[]"

*This is not a book to use as a course textbook, more to "supplement" one's understanding.
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Format: Paperback
Cornelius Lanczos is the figure of paramount importance in
the fields of Theoretical Physics,
Applied Mathematics and Numerical Algorithms.
In his lucid treatment of variational calculus Lanczos
conscisely sums up the ideas that form foundation
of the mathematical apparatus of contemporary fundamental physics. A must reading for any Graduate Student in
Physics.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the 'must read' books for all physicists of whatever flavour. Like all Dover science books, it is clearly printed
on good quality paper and bound in signatures so it will not split - they are hardbacks in disguise!

The book is a classic and needs no praise from me.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just as the title, the book is very informative in all aspects.
First, the author shown his far-reaching understanding between principles and their correlation to each others. More, the geometrical treatment for those principles on pure mathematical view is explained and described in very clear and beautiful manner. Last, the story behind those great achievement are represented and is quite helpful to learn the concepts and its reason with historical logic.

p.s I known the author from his outstanding work in approximation solution of eigenvalue problem in Finite element analysis.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
it's tough reading, but it's worth the effort - another look at mechanics since undergrads in late 80s. a good complement to good old mechanics.
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