Mechanics, 3rd Edition



Keith R. Symon, “Mechanics, 3rd Edition”
A.n W.y | 1971 | ISBN: 0201073927 | 639 pages | Djvu | 6,7 mb

From the Preface
This text is intended as the basis for an intermediate course in mechanics at the
undergraduate level. Such a course, as essential preparation for advanced work in
physics, has several major objectives. It must develop in the student a thorough
understanding of the fundamental principles of mechanics. It should treat in detail
certain specific problems of primary importance in physics, for example, the
harmonic oscillator and the motion of a particle under a central force. The prob-
lems suggested and those worked out in the text have been chosen with regard to
their interest and importance in physics, as well as to their instructive value.
The choice of topics and their treatment throughout the book are intended to
emphasize the modern point of view. Applications to atomic physics are made
wherever possible, with an indication as to the extent of the validity of the results
of classical mechanics. The inadequacies in classical mechanics are carefully
pointed out, and the points of departure for quantum mechanics and for the theory
of relativity are indicated. The last two chapters then develop special relativistic
mechanics. The development, except for the last six chapters, proceeds directly
from Newton’s laws of motion, which form a suitable basis from which to attack
most mechanical problems. More adVanced methods, using Lagrange’s equations
and tensor algebra, are introduced in Chapters 8 to 12.
An important objective of a first course in mechanics is to train the student to
think about physical phenomena in mathematical terms. Most students have a
fairly good intuitive feeling for mechanical phenomena in a qualitative way. The
study of mechanics should aim at developing an almost equally intuitive feeling
for the precise mathematical formulation of physical problenls and for the physical
interpretation of the mathematical solutions. The examples treated in the text
have been worked out so as to integrate, as far as possible, the mathematical
treatment with the physical interpretation. After working an assigned problem,
the student should study it until he is sure he understands the physical interpreta-
tion of every feature of the mathematical treatment. He should decide whether
the result agrees with his physical intuition about the problem. If not, then either
his solution or his intuition should be appropriately corrected. If the answer is
fairly complicated, he should try to see whether it can be simplified in certain
special or limiting cases. He should try to formulate and solve similar problems
on his own


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