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Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering: A Comprehensive Guide [Paperback]

K. F. Riley , M. P. Hobson , S. J. Bence
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

March 13 2006 0521679710 978-0521679718 3
The third edition of this highly acclaimed undergraduate textbook is suitable for teaching all the mathematics for an undergraduate course in any of the physical sciences. As well as lucid descriptions of all the topics and many worked examples, it contains over 800 exercises. New stand-alone chapters give a systematic account of the 'special functions' of physical science, cover an extended range of practical applications of complex variables, and give an introduction to quantum operators. Further tabulations, of relevance in statistics and numerical integration, have been added. In this edition, half of the exercises are provided with hints and answers and, in a separate manual available to both students and their teachers, complete worked solutions. The remaining exercises have no hints, answers or worked solutions and can be used for unaided homework; full solutions are available to instructors on a password-protected web site, www.cambridge.org/9780521679718.

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From reviews of previous editions: '...a great scientific textbook. It is a tour de force ... to write mathematical sections that are both complete and at an appropriate academic level. The authors have clearly succeeded in this challenge, making this a remarkable pedagogical book ... The choice of exercises is excellent and possibly the best feature of the book. In summary, this textbook is a great reference at undergraduate levels, particularly for those who like to teach or learn using lots of examples and exercises.' R. Botet, European Journal of Physics

'... the book provides scientists who need to use the tool of mathematics for practical purposes with a single, comprehensive book. I recommend this book not only to students in physics and engineering sciences, but also to students in other fields of natural sciences.' P. Steward, Optik

'... suitable as a textbook for undergraduate use ... this is a book that in view of its content and its modest softcover price, will find its way on to many bookshelves.' Nigel Steele, The Times Higher Education Supplement

'Riley et al. has clear, thorough and straightforward explanations of the subjects treated. It rigorously adopts a three-stage approach throughout the book: first a heuristic, intuitive introduction, then a formal treatment, and finally one or two examples. This consistent presentation, the layout, and the print quality make the book most attractive ... and value for money. It contains a thousand pages, there are plenty of exercises with each chapter.' J. M. Thijssen, European Journal of Physics

This is a valuable book with great potential use in present-day university physics courses. Furthermore, the book will be useful for graduate too, and researchers will find it useful for looking up material which they have forgotten since their undergraduate days.' J. M. Thijssen, European Journal of Physics

'This textbook is a well-written, modern, comprehensive, and complete collection of topics in mathematical methods ranging from a review of differential and integral calculus to group and representation theory, probability, the calculus of variations, and tensors.' Science Books and Films

'This is a very comprehensive textbook suitable for most students enrolling on undergraduate degree courses in engineering. It contains 31 stand-alone chapters of mathematical methods which enable the students to understand the principles of the basic mathematical techniques and the authors have produced a clear, thorough and straightforward explanation of each subject. ... finding a single textbook which covers the engineering student's need throughout their entire course is by no means an easy task. I believe the authors have achieved it ... complete fully worked solutions ... which I think is a useful asset for both students and lecturers.' Civil Engineering

' ... this highly acclaimed undergraduate textbook is suitable for teaching all the mathematics ever likely to be needed for an undergraduate course in any of the physical sciences. As well as lucid descriptions of all the topics covered and many worked examples, it contains more than 800 exercises.' L'enseignement mathematique

Book Description

This highly acclaimed undergraduate textbook teaches all the mathematics for undergraduate courses in the physical sciences. Containing over 800 exercises, half come with hints and answers and, in a separate manual, complete worked solutions. The remaining exercises are intended for unaided homework; full solutions are available to instructors.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best modern treatments June 12 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
As a professor involved in teaching mathematical physics, I've been searching for many years for a modern replacement for Morse and Feshbach "Methods of Theoretical Physics" (M&F). M&F is written at a very advanced level but the logic of presentation is so clear that even beginning graduate students can follow it. Also the coverage truly spanned nearly all of mathematical physics as of 1953. To date, there is nothing that really is in the same league though Riley, Hobson, and Bence (RH&B) comes closer than most. The coverage is quite complete for a presentation at the advanced undergraduate level. Of course, since the level is below that of M&F there are certain advanced topics that do not appear. The writing style is good though it lacks the pithy physical insight found in M&F. If you are looking for a comprehensive treatment of the mathematical tools needed for graduate level research in most applied mathematical sciences, then this is one of the best choices. For pde's, Zauderer is better while for Hilbert spaces and operator theory, Stakgold is preferred. However, RH&B is more comprehensive than either of these and the undergraduate level makes it accessible to a wider audience. For a more concise, abbreviated treatment I like Harper (Analytical Methods in Physics).
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars comprehensive AND comprehensible Oct. 15 2007
By Harvey S. Picker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've been teaching an upper-level course in math methods of physics on and off for thirty-five years or so. This is as good a text as I've found. In fact, I've been using this book since it began life as a much smaller volume by Riley alone. It has always provided a down-to-earth exposition of applicable mathematics. Now it provides more than ever, include two nice chapters on group theory, with more problems than the previous editions.

Despite its broad coverage, it is not an encyclopedia. Individual sections are thorough, well illustrated by examples, and comprehensible. Yes, I might have organized some of the material somewhat differently. But that is largely a matter of taste.

The reviewer who alleges that one must have mastered a lot of math to benefit from this book clearly has not read the first chapter. The book by Boas with which he compares it is a) less comprehensive, b) at a lower level overall, c) and a lot more expensive.

At $63, this volume is a real bargain.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just one comment, this is a great book. May 29 2007
By Morning Bird - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is one of the best mathematical methods book, very readable.

It has very clear explainations, in each topic it's developing from basic intuitions until it reaches the genralized equations, several detailed examples help a reader checks his understanding and follows the authors.

The contents are very well-organized and self-contained, one can looks directly at the topic he wants to know. It's lucid and normally answer and teach a reader what he wants to do. All definitions make sense and a reader can accepts easily it's a smart thing to do math that way.

It also serves as a one-stop, if you feel confused when you're reading because your background knowledge is not strong enough, just search for the previous related topics, all brilliant explainations are waiting for you to grasp them, make you ready for what you need.

Any undergrads and beginning grad students in Physics will find this book is great. This is an excellent example how to write an approachable math methods book. Eventhough it has a thick over than 1,300 pages, but it never turns a reader away becuase of its thickness at all. Once one starts reading it, he'll enjoy and come back looking for another explaination.

One more great point is, this book contains a lot of real physical examples besides the math formulations, make a reader understands the topic deeply and sees a practical use.

Besides the book, I totally don't agree with a previous comment from a chemical physicist who gave this book just one star.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars clear exposition of practical material Oct. 17 2007
By Davit Potoyan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Beautifuly organized compendium of mathematical tools which are daily bread and butter of every theoretical physicst. Excellent for first year graduate students wanting to pursue career in any branch of theoretical physics.
The main advantages which distinguishes this classic from others is clear and conscise pedagogical style and excellent selection of topics which are being discussed fully and without sacrifising mathematical rigour.
However for advanced students this text may sometimes bore with overdetailed explanations and minor details.
Summing up everything, if you wanna learn mathphys and want to start you are in the right place.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great resource and good for self study Sept. 28 2009
By got2ske - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I felt that in my undergraduate Chemistry education, I didn't receive enough mathematical training. As I start graduate school, this book has been helpful in seeing the bigger picture of important mathematical concepts and tools. One can really learn a lot if you take the time to read the chapters AND do the problems. It is, in my opinion, a great resource if you need a refresher on some topic, although (as the authors note) not everything can be covered in detail.

My only personal wish is that there was more visual, esp. graphical, content to accompany the concepts. As a visual learner this approach really helps me. The early chapters do well, but figures become sparse in later chapters. Other than that an excellent book.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive AND NOT Comprehensible for beginners April 5 2009
By Muddler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a graduate student in Biochemistry with a bachelors in applied math and I wanted to go back and review a lot of math techniques before I totally forgot them. So I started looking at my old math texts and saw that for what I wanted, many of them were far to dense for a quick review.

So I started searching Amazon and purchased this text along with both of Stroud's texts and I am glad I did. Stroud's texts provide easy to follow examples while Riley's text provides a more rigorous concise presentation of the topics. I find myself reading Riley's text first and if I can not quite understand the topic, I then go to Stroud's for some easier to follow examples. Fortunately, they include many of the same topics.

Thus in my opinion, Riley's is a great text as a reference and for reviewing a topic if you are a little rusty. It is not a good text if you are trying to learn something for the first time or for self study.
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