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The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Three Volumes Hardcover – January 1, 1966
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- ASIN : B001B3L90U
- Publisher : Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.; Fourth printing edition (January 1, 1966)
- Language : English
- Customer Reviews:
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OK, I'll admit I spent 35 years developing system software and I have a life long love of math and science, but I think these lectures are accessible to anyone who wants to actually understand what physics is all about. Dr. Feynman is able to present the concepts in a way that gets past the "here's the formula, memorize it" approach that many introductory presentations have been reduced to. If you persist, you will be rewarded with an understanding of how all those odd sounding bits fit together and at least some idea of how it all works.
Taking on these three volumes is a daunting task, but if you truly want to grasp this material, you won't find a shorter or easier path to getting there. You can read all kinds of popularizations relating to the voodoo of quantum mechanics, the time twisting of relativity, and the unfathomability of the smallest and the largest scales of the universe, but if you want to glimpse the reality behind the magic you need to recognize that a lot of very, very smart people have spent the past few hundred years sorting it out. The fact that all this can be made comprehensible to us mere mortals at all is a major accomplishment.
On p. 4.6 ‘we shall soon find that we can write’ kinetic energy as WV^2/2g. Nowhere in this book have I found a derivation of this formula.
On p. 11.8 ‘to subtract two vectors we put across the ends…no’ which is correct and invalidate fig 11.7 where V2-v1 is drawn incorrectly. Very fine but then the explanation continues with fig 11.8 which duplicates the error. Seriously?
On p. 12.7 the force between two particles is given in formula 12.2 followed by the same but incorrect formula 12.3 on p. 12.8 which is somehow mysteriously corrected by formula 12.4
There are too many statements similar to ‘we will find, we will explain later, this law is incorrect’ without providing a reference where the explanation will be given.
Frankly I cannot see how a student would be able to use this book to learn physics. Smart people are not necessarily good authors of textbooks.
That said, these are real physics books, so don't bother if you are looking for a superficial understanding. If you already know physics you can probably breeze through the books pretty easily getting a lot of nice insights, but otherwise you need to be prepared to work hard. Also, as a self-teaching tool, these books are incomplete, since they contain no problems, and actually don't prepare you very well to do problems (unless, perhaps, you are as smart as Feynman). For that you probably need a more conventional physics text. I used "Theoretical Physics" by Georg Joos, which is available from Dover (and can be ordered here) because it has lots of problems with complete solutions in the back of the book, but there are many other good, more pedestrian, physics texts to supplement FLP.
If what you want is something lighter, I highly recommend "The Character of Physical Law". You'll learn something and it won't hurt so much. (I also recommend that you see the movies if you possibly can. He was amazing in front of an audience.)