Modern Classical Physics
Optics, Fluids, Plasmas, Elasticity, Relativity, and Statistical Physics
Kip S. Thorne & Roger D. Blandford


This first-year, graduate-level text and reference book covers the fundamental concepts and twenty-first-century applications of six major areas of classical physics that every masters- or PhD-level physicist should be exposed to, but often isn't: statistical physics, optics (waves of all sorts), elastodynamics, fluid mechanics, plasma physics, and special and general relativity and cosmology. Growing out of a full-year course that the eminent researchers Kip Thorne and Roger Blandford taught at Caltech for almost three decades, this book is designed to broaden the training of physicists. Its six main topical sections are also designed so they can be used in separate courses, and the book provides an invaluable reference for researchers.

  • Presents all the major fields of classical physics except three prerequisites: classical mechanics, electromagnetism, and elementary thermodynamics
  • Elucidates the interconnections between diverse fields and explains their shared concepts and tools
  • Focuses on fundamental concepts and modern, real-world applications
  • Takes applications from fundamental, experimental, and applied physics; astrophysics and cosmology; geophysics, oceanography, and meteorology; biophysics and chemical physics; engineering and optical science and technology; and information science and technology
  • Emphasizes the quantum roots of classical physics and how to use quantum techniques to elucidate classical concepts or simplify classical calculations
  • Features hundreds of color figures, some five hundred exercises, extensive cross-references, and a detailed index
  • An online illustration package is available to professors
Kip S. Thorne, co-winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in physics, is the Feynman Professor Emeritus of Theoretical Physics at Caltech. His books include Gravitation and Black Holes and Time Warps. Roger D. Blandford, co-winner of the 2016 Crafoord Prize in Astronomy, is the Luke Blossom Professor of Physics and the founding director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University. Both are members of the National Academy of Sciences.