Mathematical Methods for Physicists: A Comprehensive Guide Hardcover – Jun 21 2005
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
I will not deny it has its value as a reference, but even as such it also has its faults -many results are not demonstrated or even stated in the text, and are left as exercises for the reader. If this is supposed to be a reference, where are the results???
Another problem this book has is that it lacks any sort of unifying theme, e.g., recasting mathematical physics using exterior calculus, or using vector spaces. Again, this might be a good thing when using it as a reference, but then again, I already mentioned it stinks as a reference as well. There are many books out there that summarize neatly the properties of all of the special functions you'll need in your lifetime.
Especially undergraduates (at least not the very brilliant ones like me) should really, REALLY get themselves some other book. Try related titles from Schaum's Outline series, for example.
However, I've also used this book later on as a reference text when I've forgotten some concept that I had already learned earlier. For this purpose Arfken is ok. Usually you find the information you are looking for quickly and find a formula or two you can use.
But all things considered it really isn't worth the money. Arfken is a terrible example of the way text books should not be written.
Most recent customer reviews
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!Published on Aug. 29 2012 by mclame
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. Read morePublished on July 20 2004
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. Read morePublished on May 29 2004
I used this book in a Math Methods 1st year Graduate Physics course, and I dont think I really learned anything from it. Read morePublished on May 6 2004 by C. Bradley
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... Read morePublished on April 6 2004 by Kevin Cahill
I noticed that most student reviews seemed to disparage this book as a textbook, so I am writing this to provide an alternative veiwpoint. Read morePublished on Oct. 28 2003 by Alexander A. Kane
Great for reference, TERRIBLE to learn from. I am trying to use this required text in a course that is not teaching the student ANYTHING. Read morePublished on Sept. 18 2003
Long and short of it is that the book touches on so many subjects that it really doesn't spend enough time on any one. Read morePublished on Sept. 3 2003
We had to use this book in our graduate physics course 10 years ago. I did not like it, because it lacks rigor. Read morePublished on Aug. 24 2003
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