Susskind lectures in book form

I’ve mentioned before Leonard Susskind’s lectures on physics, Modern Physics: The Theoretical Minimum, which are an excellent set of video lectures with the stated goal of getting the student to an understanding of modern theoretical physics fast. Here’s the link to the lectures of the first section on Classical Mechanics.

What I found out today is that the Classical Mechanics lectures are being adapted into book form with George Hrabovsky and that the book has been finished with a publication date of January 2012. Here’s an outline of the contents. Somebody else wrote up a set of decent notes for the same course as well, found here.

I had watched Susskind’s Classical Mechanics while still an engineering undergrad and it was my first exposure to things like the Lagrangian, Hamiltonian, Noether’s Theorem, etc. I really enjoyed them and have been suggesting to them to others since then and I look forward to reading the print version when it comes out. Hopefully the other courses (I count 14) will get adapted similarly and Susskind will join the likes of Feynman and Pauli in having his own set of Lectures on Physics for posterity.

I’d be remiss to not lay a good share of the spotlight on George Hrabovsky who I suspect is doing most of the heavy lifting in terms of transcription and writing. Assuming that more of the courses get written up, I wonder if history will refer to them simply as Susskind (like how the Feynman Lectures title ignores the contributions of Leighton and Sands) or as Susskind-Hrabovsky (like the Landau-Lifschitz series). Whatever.

EDIT: Wikipedia has a good listing of all of the courses and lectures and is updated fairly quickly (including by yours truly) and the first book has made a showing on Amazon.

EDIT: There’s a page up for the book here.

EDIT: My review of the first book is up here.

EDIT: The second book in the series on quantum mechanics now has an Amazon page.

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4 Responses to Susskind lectures in book form

  1. Actually, I finfished the second draft in May. We are jointly working on the final draft which will be finished by the end of December. When it is published after that will be up to Bacsic Books. We have plans for nine books, beginning with Classical Mechanics, then Special Relativity and Classical Field Theory, then Quantum Logic and Quantum Computing, then Quantum Mechanics, then Gravitation and General Relativity, then Thermal Physics, then Black Holes and Cosmology, the Elementary Particles and QuantumFields, and finally String Theory and Quantum Gravity. We are both writing it, I am also developing online Mathematica-based demonstrations and supplementary documents for each chapter.

    • Lee Pavelich says:

      That’s awesome and I look forward to reading it. Interesting that the plan is for 9 books when I count 14 lecture series that have been made, so I immediately began playing the game of matching up series to book:
      1. Classical Mechanics – Classical Mechanics
      2. Spec. Rel. and Class. Field Theory – Quantum Entanglements, 3 and Special Relativity
      3. Quantum Logic/Computing – Quantum Entanglements, 1
      4. Quantum Mechanics – Quantum Mechanics
      5. Grav./Gen. Rel. – General Relativity
      6. Thermal Physics – Statistical Mechanics
      7. Black Holes/Cosmology – Cosmology
      8. Elem. Part. and Quant. Fields – Particle Physics 1, 2, and 3
      9. String Theory – String Theory and Topics in String Theory
      There’s still the odd man out of Quantum Entanglements, 2 which Stanford has never actually posted and so I have no knowledge of.

  2. Sorry about the spelling errors, I did not readi it over carefully enough before I posted it. We (Leonard Susskind and I) have a partnership agreement and I feel that we are equal in this collaboration. We have both steered the development of this book. This is remarkable as I am an amateur theoretical physicist; I have no degrees and am completely self-taught. In fact a good deal of the explanations that we are incorporating are based on the methods that I used to teach myself nearly 40 years ago (I just turned 50 this year). Being an accredited Mathematica consultant and trainer helps… I am able to develop applications to support the book. I wish this book had been around when I was 12 and beginning to learn physics! The contents of the book have been changed, though all of the elements are still there; we cover basic calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, and vector analysis (Inlcuding index notation) on the math side; we cover Newtonian mechanics, Lagrangian mechanics, Hamiltonian mechanics, thermodynamics, chaos theory, Poisson brackets, and canonical transformations. We assume you have a high school background in mathematics (though we do provide material on coordinate systems, trigonometry, and vector algebra for those who need an introduction or a refresher).

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