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What are some good books for learning the concepts of Kinematics, Newton laws, 2D Motion of Object etc.?

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Before answering, please see our policy on resource recommendation questions. Please write substantial answers that detail the style, content, and prerequisites of the book, paper or other resource. Explain the nature of the resource so that readers can decide which one is best suited for them rather than relying on the opinions of others. Answers containing only a reference to a book or paper will be removed!

17 Answers 17

One would be hard pushed to find anything better than Kleppner & Kolenkow's textbook - concise and comprehensive and has lots of great exercises.

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Actually, it is the only Mechanics book which builds Newtonian Mechanics from a layman's perspective straight to the deep – Cheeku Mar 15 '13 at 17:12

University Physics - Young and Freedman (any edition)

This is an excellent book, with pretty much every concept on covered in first year university level physics.

Within the mechanics section ($\simeq$ 500 pages)(which I presume the OP wants), it has chapters on

  1. Motion along a straight line
  2. Motion in 2D and 3D
  3. Newton's laws of motion
  4. Applying Newton's laws
  5. Work and kinetic energy
  6. Potential energy and energy conservation
  7. Momentum, impulse and collisions
  8. Rotation of rigid bodies
  9. Dynamics of rotational motion
  10. Equilibrium and elasticity
  11. Fluid mechanics
  12. Gravitation
  13. Periodic motion

The other sections are: Waves and Acoustics (2 chapters), Thermodynamics (4 chapters), Electromagnetism (12 chapters), Optics (4 chapters), and finally Modern Physics (8 chapters).

The book has hundreds of worked examples on each topic and around 1000 examples to try without help (half of the solutions are in the back).

In my opinion, it's the best value for money of any physics book in the world.

enter image description here

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Try Fundamental Laws of Mechanics (by I.E. Irodov). Don't use its problem book as mentioned in a previous answer. The book is written in traditional Russian style, but it will give you clear & super advance idea of mechanics. Its useful to a High School guy as well as a PHD student.

If you feel it somewhat compact & hard-to-learn book, look no further than Fundamentals of Physics (by Resnik & Halliday).
enter image description here

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I would suggest "Introduction to classical mechanics" by David Morin. It's the best book of mechanics i've ever seen. It's full of solved interesting problem. You can easily see the deep difference between this and other mechanics books. David Morin Introduction to classical mehcanics

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Morin's book is a terrible grocery list of ambiguous problems. His "worked solutions" and "proofs" have gaps you could drive a truck through. The only good thing I can say about it is this: it ends. – Alex Nelson Mar 15 '13 at 20:23
+1: the context is so so, as David Morin already wrote in his book - his book is intended to be just an reference, but the problem sets are excellent, especially useful solutions are provided. – Shing Jul 15 '15 at 6:02

I learnt mechanics as an undergrad with John R. Taylors's "Classical Mechanics", and found it interesting and straightforward. The presentation is wonderful, but most exercises are quite difficult for an undergrad.

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Go for Concepts of Physics by H.C Verma.
It's a two volume series and has very good conceptual exercise, problems and objective type questions.

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I would recommend

  • L.D. Landau, E.M. Lifshitz (1976). Mechanics. Vol. 1 (3rd ed.)

Also a very nice approach (at least from my point of view) you can find in Walter Greiner's books:

  • Classical Mechanics, Point Particles and Relativity 1st English Ed.(2004)


  • Classical Mechanics, Systems of Particles and Hamiltonian Dynamics 1st English Ed. (2003)

(The second part of the last book might go beyond the scope of your question)

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While I think personally that Landau Vol. 1 is the best book that I have read on Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Mechanics, I downvoted because I don't think it fits with the request for "learning the concepts of Kinematics, Newton laws, 2D Motion of Object etc". This should definitely not be a first book on Classical Mechanics. – Flint72 Apr 13 '14 at 22:45

I guess this was too basic for the Physicists here to answer so this lurking Computer Science guy will take a shot. I read those things in High School using the book by Resnik & Halliday.

If you were taught in the Russian tradition (like me) with emphasis on math and lot of problem solving, you might like the book by Irodov. Learning Physics by solving problems is IMHO the best way to do it.

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And after you get familiar with the basics, you should read Landau and Lifshitz 10 volume series on physics (at least take a look on the first 3 most important volumes) to get familiar with the real word physics, not the simplified version of it.

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Mathematical Methods of Classical Mechanics - V.I. Arnol’d

It is a graduate book, more focused on the mathematical and modern aspects. If you like to see Classical Mechanics and learn about Manifolds, Differential Forms ... this is for you.

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Best book ever! It contains one of my favourite quotes ever: "Hamiltonian mechanics is geometry in phase space" – Alex A May 10 '13 at 20:32
The OP wants something on "the concepts of Kinematics, Newton laws, 2D Motion of Object etc" – user7757 May 25 '13 at 11:38
@ramanujan_dirac This topics are covered in this book. – ungerade May 25 '13 at 23:29
@ungerade While I agree that V. Arnold is a great book, I downvoted because I don't think it fits with the request for "learning the concepts of Kinematics, Newton laws, 2D Motion of Object etc". This should not be a first book on Classical Mechanics. – Flint72 Apr 13 '14 at 22:42

I recommend "Thinking Physics" by Lewis Carroll Epstein. It's a long accumulation of conceptual problems in introductory physics, for example, "Suppose you drop a ball out a window and it hits the ground at 3 m/s. Now you throw a ball out the same window straight down at 4 m/s. How fast will it hit the ground?" The answer is 5 m/s, and the book illustrates how these numbers are related to the Pythagorean theorem due to kinetic energy depending on the square of velocity. I learned a lot by working through this book as a supplemental text when I was a college freshman.

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Fundamental Laws of Mechanics

Paired with: Problems in General Physics

There is something very efficient about the economy of Soviet authors, who use very few words to say a whole lot.

I read from these books and learnt well :)

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These two, by Jacob Pieter Den Hartog, are excellent. Classical applied mechanics (a.k.a. engineering). Wonderful introductions, easy to read and pedagogical!


Mecahnical vibrations

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The Best book: Fundamentals of Physics by Resnick and Halliday

Wiley site

enter image description here

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Jewett and Serway "Physics for Scientists and Engineers with Modern Physics" 8th edition.

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Assuming you are asking undergraduate mechanics book. I found the one used by Caltech is unbelievably awesome.

The Mechanical Universe: Mechanics and Heat, Advanced Edition

by Steven C. Frautschi, Richard P. Olenick, Tom M. Apostol, David L. Goodstein

(pick the advanced edition intead of introduction edition)

enter image description here

The good parts of this book:

  • It teaches you scientific reasoning (unlikely other text books mostly solely on problem solving).
  • Focus on the (real stuffs) physics, instead of math (the math part is easy once you learned the math independently anyway.)
  • Very entertaining and enlightening problem sets (another book with totally different style, but good problem set is David Morin)
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The book was written by Caltech profs, but when I was there a few years ago David Goodstein himself taught physics from a different book entirely. Still this book is probably better than the one they replaced it with. – Chris White Jul 15 '15 at 8:08

protected by Qmechanic May 25 '13 at 13:11

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