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Classical mechanics. (English) Zbl 1075.70002
Sausalito, CA: University Science Books (ISBN 1-891389-22-X/hbk). xiv, 786 p. (2005).
The object of this book, according to the author’s preface, is to provide a course for those who have followed an introductory course in physics in an American University. Because of the size of the book, possibly the best thing to do is to name the contents first and to provide some comments afterwards. The book is divided into two parts. The first part is entitled “Essentials”, and the chapter headings are as follows: (1) Newton’s laws of motion; (2) Projectiles and charged particles; (3) Momentum and angular momentum; (4) Energy; (5) Oscillations; (6) Calculus of variations; (7) Lagranges equations; (8) Two-body central-force problems; (9) Mechanics in non-inertial frames; (10) Rotational motion of rigid bodies; (11) Coupled oscillators and normal modes. The second part is entitled “Further Topics”, and the chapter headings are as follows: (12) Nonlinear mechanics and chaos; (13) Hamiltonian mechanics; (14) Collision theory; (15) Special relativity; (16) Continuum mechanics. There are over 700 exercises scattered throughout the book to all the odd-numbered ones. Also included is an appendix dealing with diagonalizing real symmetric matrices. The end sections give some useful mathematical and physical formulas.
This is a well written book. The explanations are clear, and the book reads well. There are a number of topics which one would not normally expect of a book of this type, such as, for example, a discussion of tides, bifurcation diagrams and strange attractors, Fourier series, or the wave equation.
There are also one or two infelicities. The object of an operator is only meaningful when its operand is non-singular, and in the discussion on stability, in example 4.7, a discussion of the fourth item is needed for the case \(r= b\). In the discussion of collisions, more attention could have been paid to oblique impact. Equation (15.4) could be interpreted to imply that \(c\) is exactly \(3\times 10^8\) m/s when in fact it is slightly less.
This book can be warmly recommended both for its content and its easy reading. A lot of thought has clearly gone into it, and it makes the book a wellcome addition to the textbooks on classical mechancis.

70-01 Introductory exposition (textbooks, tutorial papers, etc.) pertaining to mechanics of particles and systems
74-01 Introductory exposition (textbooks, tutorial papers, etc.) pertaining to mechanics of deformable solids
83-01 Introductory exposition (textbooks, tutorial papers, etc.) pertaining to relativity and gravitational theory