As an engineer, I've never been content with the formalized approaches to teaching mathematics and physics. I find derivation upon derivation of of equation and mathematical contrivances to be dull without having a deeper more intuitive grasp of what the equations seek to describe.
This book, by Cornelius Lanczos to put it simply, is a physics book which approaches the subject by relaying the intuitive grasp first, and then supplementing the intuition with formula.
I purchased this book with absolutely no background in Lagrangian Mechanics. I have but the faintest conception of what a Hamiltonian is. But even I find the book accessible enough to be wonderfully engaging.
Let me share a quote to illustrate how the book tends to approach its explanations:
"Since motion is by its very nature a directed phenomenon, it seems puzzling that two scalar quantities should be sufficient to determine the motion...And yet it is a fact that these two fundamental scalars contain the complete dynamics of even the most complicated material system, provided they are used as the basis of a principle rather than of an equation"
In my opinion, to really learn the meaning behind the equations, to learn rather the principles behind the equations themselves is really that deeper understanding that every scientist and engineer only comes to understand over the course of a lifetime. I can scarcely believe that we have the benefit of a lifetime's worth of understanding of advanced physics so eloquently delineated here. This is an absolute gem of a book and I cannot recommend it more highly.
- Paperback: 418 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications; New ed edition (1 March 1986)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780486650678
- ISBN-13: 978-0486650678
- ASIN: 0486650677
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 581 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)