Book Search:  

 

 
Google full text of our books:

bookjacket

Perfect Form:
Variational Principles, Methods, and Applications in Elementary Physics
Don S. Lemons

Paperback | 1997 | $49.95 / £34.95 | ISBN: 9780691026633
136 pp. | 6 x 9 | 39 line illus.
| SHOPPING CART

Reviews | Table of Contents

Google full text of this book:
 

What does the path taken by a ray of light share with the trajectory of a thrown baseball and the curve of a wheat stalk bending in the breeze? Each is the subject of a different study yet all are optimal shapes; light rays minimize travel time while a thrown baseball minimizes action. All natural curves and shapes, and many artificial ones, manifest such "perfect form" because physical principles can be expressed as a statement requiring some important physical quantity to be mathematically maximum, minimum, or stationary. Perfect Form introduces the basic "variational" principles of classical physics (least time, least potential energy, least action, and Hamilton's principle), develops the mathematical language most suited to their application (the calculus of variations), and presents applications from the physics usually encountered in introductory course sequences.

The text gradually unfolds the physics and mathematics. While other treatments postulate Hamilton's principle and deduce all results from it, Perfect Form begins with the most plausible and restricted variational principles and develops more powerful ones through generalization. One selection of text and problems even constitutes a non-calculus of variations introduction to variational methods, while the mathematics more generally employed extends only to solving simple ordinary differential equations. Perfect Form is designed to supplement existing classical mechanics texts and to present variational principles and methods to students who approach the subject for the first time.

Review:

"[The] ability of variational methods to derive fundamental results in physics hints at their being a kind of short cut towards truly fundamental insights into the design of the cosmos. . . . Don Lemon's short book is aimed at bringing these techniques within reach of the average undergraduate physics student."--Robert Matthews, New Scientist

Table of Contents:

Preface
Ch. 1Least Time3
Ch. 2Calculus of Variations17
Ch. 3Curved Light33
Ch. 4Least Potential Energy45
Ch. 5Least Action69
Ch. 6Hamilton's Principle - Restricted81
Ch. 7Hamilton's Principle - Extended95
Index115

Subject Area:

Shopping Cart:

  • For hardcover/paperback orders:

    For hardcover/paperback orders in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

    Paperback: $49.95 ISBN: 9780691026633

    For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

    Paperback: £34.95 ISBN: 9780691026633

    Add to shopping cart

    Prices subject to change without notice

    File created: 9/23/2014

Questions and comments to: webmaster@press.princeton.edu
Princeton University Press

New Book E-mails
New In Print
PUP Blog
Videos/Audios
Princeton APPS
Sample Chapters
Subjects
Series
Catalogs
Princeton Legacy Library
Textbooks
Media/Reviewers
Class Use
Rights/Permissions
Ordering
Recent Awards
Princeton Shorts
Freshman Reading
PUP Europe
About Us
Contact Us
Links
F.A.Q.
PUP Home


Bookmark and Share
Send me emails
about new books in:
Physics
More Choices
Email:
Country:
Name: