Re: poly: canonical texts

From: Amara Graps <>
Date: Mon Jun 14 1999 - 14:11:17 PDT

Hi Polymaths..

Some thoughts on this topic.

>What are the canonical texts which define a subject area? Having a
>structured list of such texts would be of great use to those interested in
>self-education, and could form part of the core of any good library.

Some other texts to add (discussion welcomed)

Graphical Display of Data: Edward Tufte: _The Visual Display of
Quantitative Information_

Fractals: Mandelbrot, Benoit. _The Fractal Geometry of Nature_

Anthropic Principle: J.D. Barrow and F.J. Tipler, _The Anthropic
Cosmological Principle_

Stellar Evolution/Nucleosynthesis: Clayton, D. _Principles of Stellar
Evolution and Nucleosynthesis_

Complex Variables: Churchill, _Complex Variables and Applications_

Solid State Physics: C. Kittel, _Introduction to Solid State Physics_

Celestial Mechanics: J.M.A. Danby: Fundamentals of Celestial Mehanics_

Quantum Mechanics: Cohen-Tannoudji, _Quantum Mechanics_ (vols 1&2)

Intermediate-level classical mechanics: Marion, Classical Dynamics

Time-Frequency Analysis: L. Cohen, _Time-Frequency Analysis_

Also, what if a book isn't great.. but "good enough", and used for a
long time as a standard textbook (over books that may be a little
bit better)?

Here's two examples:

upper div/graduate classical electrodynamics: J.D. Jackson: _Classical

upper div/graduate classical electrodynamics: Goldstein: _Classical Mechanics_

One could extend your idea to key "papers" in a field as well, especially
if particular papers originated the field.

For example,

Chaos: Lorenz, Edward: "Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow," Jour.
Atmospheric Sciences 20 (1976): 69.

And one could go back in time probably too. Some of the classic
works from one or more hundred years ago are a bit too strange to
read, but there are some that are clear and elegant to this day.


Amara Graps | Max-Planck-Institut fuer Kernphysik
Interplanetary Dust Group | Saupfercheckweg 1
+49-6221-516-543 | 69117 Heidelberg, GERMANY *
      "Never fight an inanimate object." - P. J. O'Rourke
Received on Mon Jun 14 13:47:55 1999

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Mar 07 2006 - 14:45:30 PST