Amazon calculates a product’s star ratings based on a machine learned model instead of a raw data average. The model takes into account factors including the age of a rating, whether the ratings are from verified purchasers, and factors that establish reviewer trustworthiness.
I would like to emphasize an aspect of this book that none of the other reviewers have mentioned. The very first paragraph on page 1 offers what I consider the central vision of this ambitious text:
"In this book, a central theme will be a Geometric Principle: The laws of physics must all be expressible as geometric (coordinate-independent and reference-frame independent) relationships between geometric objects (scalars, vectors, tensors,...) that represent physical entities."
Kip Thorne, Charles Misner, and John Archibald Wheeler attempted to fulfill this same geometric vision for General Relativity in the early 1970s with the publication of the 1279-page landmark work, Gravitation. One can therefore see this recent book by Blandford and Thorne as the extension of the geometric program to many areas of classical physics. For those of us who are "true believers" in the geometric program, this book is a welcome addition to the literature.
One remark on the physical quality of the book under review. Despite having 1511 pages, the book is hardbound and sturdy enough to hold up under years of study. The paper quality is first-rate, and there are even color graphics scattered throughout. Princeton University Press is to be commended for producing a first-class textbook at a reasonable price. Their recent hardbound republication of the classic book Gravitation is also extremely well done, and for an amazingly low price.
Love the book, expect to spend years happily working with it, as with Thorne's other massive book, Gravitation. But if an author is going to write exercises into the text ( five different types!) then why not provide answers, at least to every other? That is my only disappointment, a crushing one at that. I would have liked to have some confirmation that I can work with the concepts.
Superb, every scientist should have a copy. Math says what is true, physics says what is real and engineers say what can be achieved. This is an essential book ties it all together using the geometric methodology.
Modern Classical Physics will undoubtedly become a classic learning material and reference text for many years to come.
The overall presentation of the text exceeds the standard-- free of clutter and aided with timely and accurate visual representations of diagrams and/or images of real phenomena. The mathematical operations used in the book are pretty much standard as far as undergraduate mathematical physics with the exception of some new (at least new for me) notations which are introduced in hopes of supplementing the book's "geometric approach" to physics.
An important note to make is that the physics isn't changed in this process, but rather just the viewpoint in which it is observed. Thorne and Blandford clearly show that this is the case early on,in spite of some differences in the mathematical language as compared with many other modern texts. These differences are quite minor once you get a grip on them, and I myself have been able to substitute their notation with my own with little effort (though there is no difference computationally).
Most of the topics covered (if not all) will be supplemented with real life applications demonstrated in examples and exercise. Do note that many of these are quite sophisticated and that the authors encourage the readers to use external references if needed.
If you are familiar with Special Relativity, I recommend skipping the first chapter on it until GR is introduced, and then returning to it for some guidance on notation. Otherwise, the entire chapter is pretty standard in terms of key concepts and computations. It isn't used much by itself throughout the book and when it is, a pretty simple translation from nonrelativistic--> relativistic laws is normally offered.
The book is dense and powerful, but does not lack mathematical sophistication. Be prepared for the maths! Thank you Thorne and Blandford and everyone else who worked on this masterpiece... I know I will probably use this as a reference for decades to come.
Purchased this as a relevant addition to my shelf. I review texts based on how self-contained they are: that is, can an interested person with the stated prerequisites effectively teach themselves from the textbook only. This text meets this criteria perfectly—the reading is conversational, yet formal enough to be precise in what the authors are communicating. They speak in such plain language that sometimes it might seem condescendingly simple, but that’s a small price to pay to be so comprehensive.
This is probably one of the best self-teaching texts I’ve encountered.
I took this course (Ph. 136 Applications of Classical Physics) at Caltech 33 years ago from Kip Thorne (I also had Roger Blandford as a professor for high energy astrophysics) - they are both top notch physicists and teachers as well. Some have wished the book was broken up in 3-4 books. I disagree, I suspect most of these complaints are by readers in the early chapters of the book. But what happens when you get to the later parts, on lets say, plasma physics, and need to refer back to a statistical mechanics chapter - and the other book is somewhere else. I am glad it is one book. My only criticism is that the book could be shorter. The authors spend many pages telling you every chapter and every part what they are going to do in the coming pages - in my opinion they should just dive in and do it. I don't need a readers or professor's teaching guide for a graduate level textbook.
Explanations and applications of all classical topics covered in this text/reference are eloquently written and presented clearly, and flow from "the calm to the dynamic flow of fluid dynamics". Physicists, make sure you have a reference text of "Applied Mathematics" by your side while reviewing the concepts of this text. The text can be used at both the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as post graduate levels in both Physics, and Mathematics.
This book is an excellent treatment of a broad range of topics in classical physics, including many topics not usually covered in standard courses focused on the traditional divisions of the subject. The treatment is modern and accessible.