Questions asking "What is a good book about X?" or more generally, "What should I read to learn about X?", typically where there is not a single authoritative reference. Please READ THE GUIDANCE IN META (http://meta.physics.stackexchange.com/questions/4697 or click Learn More) before asking.

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139
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1answer
16k views

Book recommendations [closed]

Every once in a while, we get a question asking for a book or other educational reference on a particular topic at a particular level. This is a meta-question that collects all those links together. ...
48
votes
13answers
12k views

Best books for mathematical background?

What are the best textbooks to read for the mathematical background you need for modern physics, such as, string theory? Some subjects off the top of my head that probably need covering: ...
45
votes
11answers
6k views

Quantum Field Theory from a mathematical point of view

I'm a student of mathematics with not much background in physics. I'm interested in learning Quantum field theory from a mathematical point of view. Are there any good books or other reference ...
32
votes
3answers
4k views

A No-Nonsense Introduction to Quantum Field Theory

I found Sean Carroll's "A No Nonsense Introduction to General Relativity" (about page here. pdf here), a 24-page overview of the topic, very helpful for beginning study. It all got me over the hump ...
31
votes
10answers
1k views

Readable books on advanced topics [closed]

I realise that there are already a few questions looking for general book recommendations, but the motivation and type of book I'm looking for here is a little different, so I hope you can indulge me. ...
30
votes
16answers
8k views

Getting started general relativity

What are some good books, videos, websites for getting started with general relativity? Mathematically rigorous preferred!
27
votes
8answers
3k views

Classical mechanics without coordinates book

I am a graduate student in mathematics who would like to learn some classical mechanics. However, there is one caveat: I am not interested in the standard coordinate approach. I can't help but think ...
26
votes
13answers
3k views

Suggested reading for renormalization (not only in QFT)

What papers/books/reviews can you suggest to learn what Renormalization "really" is? Standard QFT textbooks are usually computation-heavy and provide little physical insight in this regard - after my ...
26
votes
14answers
6k views

Comprehensive book on group theory for physicists?

I am looking for a good source on group theory aimed at physicists. I'd prefer one with a good general introduction to group theory, not just focusing on Lie groups or crystal groups but one that ...
26
votes
6answers
2k views

Formalizing Quantum Field Theory

I'm wondering about current efforts to provide mathematical foundations and more solid definition for quantum field theories. I am aware of such efforts in the context of the simpler topological or ...
25
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1answer
637 views

Sigma Models on Riemann Surfaces

I'm interested in knowing whether sigma models with an $n$-sheeted Riemann surface as the target space have been considered in the literature. To be explicit, these would have the action ...
22
votes
4answers
3k views

Mathematically-oriented Treatment of General Relativity

Can someone suggest a textbook that treats general relativity from a rigorous mathematical perspective? Ideally, such a book would Prove all theorems used. Use modern "mathematical notation" as ...
22
votes
4answers
2k views

Physical and Geometrical interpretation of Differential Forms

I have a doubt about the physical and geometrical interpretation of differential forms. I've been studying differential forms on Spivak's Calculus on Manifolds, but my real intent is to use those ...
21
votes
14answers
32k views

What is a good introductory book on quantum mechanics?

I'm really interested in quantum theory and would like to learn all that I can about it. I've followed a few tutorials and read a few books but none satisfied me completely. I'm looking for ...
21
votes
3answers
3k views

Good reading on the Keldysh formalism

I'd like some suggestions for good reading materials on the Keldysh formalism in a condensed matter context. I'm familiar with the imaginary time, coherent state, and path integral formalisms, but ...
18
votes
5answers
8k views

Online QFT video lectures

I'm aware of Sidney Coleman's 1975/76 sequence of 54 lectures on Quantum Field Theory. Are there any other high-quality QFT lecture series available online?
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Ising model for dummies

I am looking for some literature on the Ising model, but I'm having a hard time doing so. All the documentation I seem to find is way over my knowledge. Can you direct me to some documentation on it ...
17
votes
9answers
3k views

Books that develop interest & critical thinking among high school students

I heard about Yakov Perelman and his books. I just finished reading his two volumes of Physics for Entertainment. What a delightful read! What a splendid author. This is the exact book I've been ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

Elegant approaches to quantum field theory

I have been reading Quantum Mechanics: A Modern Development by L. Ballentine. I like the way everything is deduced starting from symmetry principles. I was wondering if anyone familiar with the book ...
16
votes
2answers
302 views

Recommend good book(s) about the “scientific method” as it relates to astronomy/astrophysics?

I am interested in astronomy/astrophysics, but I am not science major (I am a computer science graduate). Facts and results of the field are presented to the public without showing how these ...
15
votes
4answers
685 views

What is a good introduction to integrable models in physics?

I would be interested in a good mathematician-friendly introduction to integrable models in physics, either a book or expository article. Related MathOverflow question: what-is-an-integrable-system.
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Good introductory text for matrix string theory

Where can I find a good introductory text for matrix string theory? Most textbooks don't cover it, or only cover it very superficially. What is the basic idea behind matrix string theory? How can ...
15
votes
6answers
3k views

Where should a physicist go to learn chemistry?

I took an introductory chemistry course long ago, but the rules seemed arbitrary, and I've forgotten most of what I learned. Now that I have an undergraduate education in physics, I should be able to ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Introduction to AdS/CFT

AdS/CFT seems like a really hot topic and I'd like to start reading about. I am looking for the best introduction at my level, i.e. I have a background in QFT, CFT and general relativity at the level ...
15
votes
1answer
276 views

Soliton Moduli Spaces and Homotopy Theory

The four-dimensional $SU(N)$ Yang-Mills Lagrangian is given by $$\mathcal{L}=\frac{1}{2e^2}\mathrm{Tr}F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu}$$ and gives rise to the Euclidean equations of motion $\mathcal{D}_\mu ...
14
votes
5answers
644 views

Applications of Geometric Topology to Theoretical Physics

Geometric topology is the study of manifolds, maps between manifolds, and embeddings of manifolds in one another. Included in this sub-branch of Pure Mathematics; knot theory, homotopy, manifold ...
14
votes
8answers
3k views

Crash course on algebraic geometry with view to applications in physics

Could you please recommend any good texts on algebraic geometry (just over the complex numbers rather than arbitrary fields) and on complex geometry including Kahler manifolds that could serve as an ...
14
votes
6answers
2k views

Good book on the history of Quantum Mechanics?

Can anyone recommend a good book on the history of Quantum Mechanics, preferably one that is technical and not afraid to explain the maths (I did a degree in Physics many years ago) and also that ...
14
votes
1answer
359 views

Positivity of Total Gravitational Energy in GR

I read the following statement in the introduction to an article: Over the last 30 years, one of the greatest achievements in classical general relativity has certainly been the proof of the ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Reading list in topological QFT

I'm interested in learning about topological QFT including Chern Simons theory, Jones polynomial, Donaldson theory and Floer homology - basically the kind of things Witten worked on in the 80s. I'm ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

Best Sets of Physics Lecture Notes and Articles [closed]

This post is inspired by this math.se post. Let me start by apologizing if there is another thread on phys.se that subsumes this. I often find that I learn best from sets of lecture notes and short ...
12
votes
9answers
5k views

Book about classical mechanics

I am looking for a book about "advanced" classical mechanics. By advanced I mean a book considering directly Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulation, and also providing a firm basis in the geometrical ...
12
votes
2answers
296 views

Searching books and papers with equations

Sometimes I may come up with an equation in mind, so I want to search for the related material. It may be the case that I learn it before but forget the name, or, there is no name for the equation ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

Where can I find public domain astronomical pictures?

Where can I find public domain astronomical pictures of nebulae, stars, etc. that can be freely used?
11
votes
7answers
2k views

References about rigorous thermodynamics

Can you suggest some references for rigorous treatment of thermodynamics? I want things like reversibility, equilibrium to be clearly defined in terms of the basic assumptions of the framework.
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Gentle introduction to twistors

When reading about the twistor uprising or trying to follow a corresponding Nima talk, it always annoys me that I have no clue about how twistor space, the twistor formalism, or twistor theory works. ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Introduction to string theory

I am in the last year of MSc. and would like to read string theory. I have the Zwiebach Book, but along with it what other advanced book can be followed, which can be a complimentary to Zwiebach. I ...
11
votes
1answer
330 views

Suggested reading for quantum field theory in curved spacetime

I want to learn some QFT in curved spacetime. What papers/books/reviews can you suggest to learn this area? Are there any good books or other reference material which can help in learning about QFT ...
11
votes
3answers
824 views

Mathematical Physics Book Recommendation [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Best books for mathematical background? I want to learn contemporary mathematical physics, so that, for example, I can read Witten's latest paper without checking other ...
10
votes
6answers
814 views

Recommended books for undergraduate electrodynamics

What books are recommended for an advanced undergraduate course in electrodynamics?
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there books on Regularization and Renormalization in QFT at an Introductory level?

Are there books on Regularization and Renormalization, in the context of quantum field theory at an Introductory level? Could you suggest one? Added: I posted at math.SE the question Reference ...
9
votes
10answers
3k views

Physics for mathematicians

How and from where does a mathematician learn physics from a mathematical stand point? I am reading the book by Spivak Elementary Mechanics from a mathematicians view point. The first couple of pages ...
9
votes
2answers
414 views

Old Russian Physics Papers?

Where can one find old Russian scientific papers in physics, say, in the Proceedings of the Russian Academy of Sciences or Zhurnal Eksperimentalnoy i Teoreticheskoy Fiziki? Can they be found online ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Does there exist a free good molecule / atom simulation software?

I'm looking for a software or software package (for example C/C++) that can simulate a lot (say thousands at least) of molecules in action (ie. in movement or attached to say static walls). I have ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

A book on quantum mechanics supported by the high-level mathematics

I'm interested in quantum mechanics book that uses high level mathematics (not only the usual functional analysis and the theory of generalised functions but the theory of pseudodifferential operators ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Introduction to Anderson localization

I find Anderson's original paper too terse. I am looking for something that introduces me gently to the subject so that I can understand Anderson's paper and other literature. What references are out ...
9
votes
5answers
844 views

Simple applications of group theory which can be understood by a senior undergrad

I am looking for references (books or web links) which have "simple" examples on the use of group theory in physics or science in general. I have looked at many books on the subject unfortunately ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Crash course in classical thermodynamics

I've been working on some projects lately where it would be very handy to know more about thermodynamics than I do, but sadly I never had a chance to take a proper thermodynamics course in college. ...
8
votes
4answers
13k views

What is the math knowledge necessary for starting Quantum Mechanics?

Could someone experienced in the field tell me what the minimal math knowledge one must obtain in order to grasp the introductory Quantum Mechanics book/course? I do have math knowledge but I must ...
8
votes
8answers
9k views

Which Mechanics book is the best for beginner in math major?

I'm a bachelor student majoring in math, and pretty interested in physics. I would like a book to study for classical mechanics, that will prepare me to work through Goldstein's Classical Mechanics. ...