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Monday, July 26, 2010

Group Theory tutorial using Mathematica

Today I got particularly excited about a book. The book is meant for physicists who need a LOT more group theory than what is covered in M208. The book covers Group Theory from M208 + M336 and beyond (i.e. Group Representations, Character Tables, Lie Groups). All this math is presented in tutorial form with a massive amount of examples programmed in Mathematica. ( Most introductory group theory books seem written in a weekend. Aren't they basically a reshuffle of the same set of definitions and theorems? You don't have to do original research to write a math book. ) This book however is extremely original and must have tons of work in it.

William Martin McClain
Symmetry Theory in Molecular Physics with Mathematica
'A new kind of tutorial book'
ISBN 978-0-387-73469-9 e-ISBN 978-0-387-73470-5
706 pages


  1. Wow that looks an amazing book pity about the price though

  2. As a percentage of net-income of an average worker the book is indeed expensive. ( How rich are you if you can't buy the books you want? ) - For the poor ( 99.99% of the world population if I am correct ) there is always the library. Books published by Springer find their way to all ( university ) libraries in the world.

  3. Fair comment its just that I've shelled out quite a lot recently so when I've recovered I'll probably buy it. I don't really have time to visit a university library or even my local library, preferring to use the wonderful OU library for original papers. As an ex physicist I do have a few books on molecular spectroscopy and group theory anyway so its not a priority.

  4. A somewhat similar book but based on SAGE, free and Open Source(!) is Abstract Algebra: Theory and Applications. (I'll might blog about it in the next couple of days. - I am not sure but it seems SAGE has its own distinctive cult-following. It is possible to use Mathematica within the SAGE environment. )

    I may be wrong but I have this idea that libraries are the same wherever you go. From scholars to people who love to dream away in a novel. I like to go to the library just to study. Being around other students motivates, the silence improves concentration. The libraries here facilitate WiFi and electricity for laptops. And there are still zillions of books to borrow of course. Modern air-conditioned buildings in the centre of the city. Studying at home is an entirely different experience than doing so in the public space, I experienced.

  5. My home is effectively a library anyway. I do like visiting libraries when I get the chance but a lot of university libraries in Britain are closed to the public. You have to have a pass to enter them. Also our public libraries in Edinburgh are only open on Saturday morning at the Weekend. As for borromwing books I'm notoriously bad at renewing them. At home I can also get a coffee when I want and listen to classical music at the same time as working through a set of problems

  6. I think Hercule Poirot would agree that the noise produced by an ear- or headphone qualifies as much as music as the dark fluid people carry in thermos bottles, qualifies as coffee. - I listen to configurable atmospherics instead (via headphone), and drink energy-drinks containing massive amounts of coffeine and other stimulants like Ginseng. - Fresh coffee is a treat for when the studying is done.


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