intro to classical physics

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John Gribbin's look at the popularization of physics discusses Leonard Susskind & George Hrabvosky's The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics and comments that "there is a natural tendency for popularizers of science (myself included) to focus on the popularizing more than on the scientific nitty-gritty:"

In this neat little book the authors aim to provide the minimum amount of knowledge you need about classical physics (that is, everything except quantum mechanics) to gain some real understanding of the world or to proceed to "the next level," which would be freshman physics. [...]

Along the way you get beautifully clear explanations of famously "difficult" things like differential and integral calculus, conservation laws and what physicists mean by symmetries. Despite the emphasis here on classical physics, "The Theoretical Minimum" actually takes the reader to the edge of an introduction to quantum mechanics; we can only hope that this will be the theme of the team's next book.

As a long-time fan of Gribbin's books, I take praise such as this quite seriously:

The book most definitely hits the spot for the kind of mature, committed "nonacademic" that the authors have in mind. [...] It is spot-on for any young student of science to read before heading off to college to study physics seriously, and I shall certainly be recommending it in that connection.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on February 1, 2013 5:49 PM.

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