Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Suggested textbooks for "Modern Physics"?

I'd be curious for opinions out there regarding available textbooks for "Modern Physics".  Typically this is a sophomore-level undergraduate course at places that offer such a class.  Often these tend to focus on special relativity and "baby quantum", making the bulk of "modern" end in approximately 1930.   Ideally it would be great to have a book that includes topics from the latter half of the 20th century, too, without having them be too simplistic.  Looking around on amazon, there are a number of choices, but I wonder if I'm missing some diamond in the rough out there by not necessarily using the right search terms, or perhaps there is a new book in development of which I am unaware.   The book by Rohlf looks interesting, but the price tag is shocking - a trait shared by many similarly titled works on amazon.  Any suggestions?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

What about the latest John Townsend book? https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Physics-Fundamental-Approach-Modern/dp/1891389629/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481092618&sr=8-1&keywords=quantum+physics+a+fundamental+approach+to+modern+physics

Not so cheap, but maybe buy it used?

Douglas Natelson said...

We actually use that one at Rice now. One challenge is differentiating between that and our full quantum sequence, which is taught out of Townshend's other book, though that may be an issue of pacing of course rather than content of book.

MisterBee said...

I personally like Jim Rohlf's book but the price is atrocious. I have used `Modern Physics' by Taylor, Zafiratos and Dubson and like it as a reasonably priced book with a rich set of problems.

CompletStream said...


The information is excellent and really helpful. Thank you for good post. I like this.
The Loft

Anonymous said...

Hi professor Natelson, I commented before about trains and superconductivity.

I am hesitant to recommend a modern physics book since it's probably not what you wanted. But, anyway, I think "Modern Physics" by Kenneth Krane is good. After I had struggled with Tippler and/or Serway, a graduate student told me about Krane. I read it (2nd edition). It was awesome. Some might think it's too easy of a book.

If you wanted another book suggestion. I would recommend Halliday, Resnick, & Krane's (yes the same Krane) "Physics", but it hasn't been updated since 2001. So I think Halliday, Resnick, & Walker's "Fundamentals of Physics" is a good choice. Again, it's probably too easy. My pick for this is because of a pet peeve I had/have. It's about uniform circular motion. I read Serway's/Tippler's/Giancoli's on how they got a = v^2/r (specifically how they got the angle theta). It was so unsatisfying.

Dan Northem said...

I like French and Taylor from the MIT series.......Gives a gentle intro to the subject and solidifies some of the qualitative aspects of QM

Anonymous said...

Just get any of Miles Mathis' books:

http://www.milesmathis.com/

Douglas Natelson said...

Anon@9:26 - wow. How had I missed those?