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Mathematical Methods for Physicists: A Comprehensive Guide [Hardcover]

George B. Arfken , Hans J. Weber , Frank E. Harris
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Mathematical Methods for Physicists: A Comprehensive Guide Mathematical Methods for Physicists: A Comprehensive Guide
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Book Description

June 21 2005 0120598760 978-0120598762 6
This best-selling title provides in one handy volume the essential mathematical tools and techniques used to solve problems in physics. It is a vital addition to the bookshelf of any serious student of physics or research professional in the field. The authors have put considerable effort into revamping this new edition.

* Updates the leading graduate-level text in mathematical physics
* Provides comprehensive coverage of the mathematics necessary for advanced study in physics and engineering
* Focuses on problem-solving skills and offers a vast array of exercises
* Clearly illustrates and proves mathematical relations

New in the Sixth Edition:
* Updated content throughout, based on users' feedback
* More advanced sections, including differential forms and the elegant forms of Maxwell's equations
* A new chapter on probability and statistics
* More elementary sections have been deleted

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"As to a comparison with other books of the same ilk, well, in all honesty, there are none. No other text on methods of mathematical physics is as comprehensive and as complete...I encourage the students to keep their copies as they will need it and will find it an invaluable reference resource in later studies and research."
- Tristan Hubsch, Howard University

Book Description

More that 90,000 copies sold!

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In science and engineering we frequently encounter quantities that have magnitude and magnitude only: mass, time, and temperature. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars No complaints! Aug. 29 2012
By mclame
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Shipping was very fast. I saved a lot of money buying this textbook online. The book arrived quickly and in brand new condition, not a mark on it. Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A breif and complete book July 20 2004
By A Customer
I borrowed this book from the univerity library and now I am buying it because it has almost all math topics which a physics or engineering undergrad level student needs. I don't propose it as an starting point because it is concise, but excellent as a reference.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Needs elaboration: Add 5 pages per page. May 29 2004
By A Customer
I am convinced that the author of this book has made the assumption that the reader has had pretty significant exposure to most of this already. Therefore, this is nothing more than a "all in once place" reference on math methods for physicists. The reason for the diverse range of opinions on this book is due to the various backgrounds of students. For most physic undergrads now taking a grad level math methods course, our exposure to differential eqns, complex functions, tensors, group theory, etc. is superficial. Here is a good entrepreneurial idea for an accomplished physicist that can relate to us mere mortals. For each page that Arfken has provided on a topic, ELABORATE (add 5 pages per page to it and now you have a useful textbook that every graduate student in physics should have). It would save us a fortune in buying the many additional supplemental texts required if you are stuck with Arfken.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not good to learn from May 6 2004
I used this book in a Math Methods 1st year Graduate Physics course, and I dont think I really learned anything from it.
It doesnt do well at TEACHING you anything, you'll have to buy another book with examples or find them somewhere, and that itself can be difficult.
I found myself referring to Mary Boas' book for a few examples if I wanted to learn anything, but when you get to Group Theory you'll end up lost because the professor will run right over the material and textbooks on that subject arent that great.
If i'm looking for an equation or a mathematical rule, this book is great. Ive used it for Quantum and Jackson E&M quite a bit.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A salad of typos April 6 2004
I have had the misfortune to teach from several editions of this pathetic textbook. The later printings of the 3d edition, by Arfken alone, were quite free of mistakes and of typos. But the early printings of the 5th edition by Arfken and Weber are loaded with typos and have some errors. Most of these typos are in equations that were correct in the 3d edition.
My students have had a hard time learning from this book.
Also, the binding of this $99 book is cheap cardboard -- the hardcover edition does not really have a hard cover. All in all,
this is a typical Elsevier product: inferior and expensive.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great text for reference and learning Oct. 28 2003
I noticed that most student reviews seemed to disparage this book as a textbook, so I am writing this to provide an alternative veiwpoint. My intermediate Math Methods class used this book and I have not yet enountered a math problem in any of my grad classes that I couldn't use this book as an aide to solve. The book is clear yet concise, which allows for a large breadth of material to be covered in one semester effectively. Yes, some material is not covered with great depth, but I think that Mathematical Methods Books by design are not meant to be thourough, mathematically rigourous books but rather books that will present the method of solving, if not the exact solution, of most problems one might encounter in the physical sciences.
I reccomend this book. Like all other Math Methods books I have seen it will require other texts as supplements if one wants a reference for every problem one could encounter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, concise, comprehensive and stimulating. Sept. 30 2003
I had used Arfken as my source text for the mathematical physics option of the first year undergraduate physics course at Oxford back in 1990. For this purpose at least, the text had seemed perfect. It covered all of the required mathematical techniques (only the chapters on Group Theory, Integral Equations, and Nonlinear Methods were unnecessary) at just the right (i.e. rather fast) pace and with just the right amount of detail. The exercises were chosen well to ensure that underlying concepts became vividly engraved into ones mind and provided fine preparation for the examinations ahead. I should confess to having thoroughly enjoyed working through the algebraic-manipulation-filled exercises in Chapters 9 (Sturm-Louiville Theory) through 13 (Special Functions) - which perhaps says something about the kind of people who might enjoy this book.
The conciseness of the text (which is the reason it has been possible to cover so much ground) is probably most useful only to students of well-above-average mathematical ability, and may provide insufficient support to those who find themselves struggling with the concepts introduced. Nevertheless, more able students can expect rapidly to become proficient in tackling the kinds of problems which arise in mathematical physics and engineering in later life.
I give the book five stars as I still have great fondness for it from my undergraduate days, and continue to refer to it (and indeed to refer my students to it) today for the vast array of useful mathematical techniques which it covers. While it may not be the best book for those who find mathematics a chore, it should be a delight for those with a natural flair for the subject and with a mathematical physics bent.
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