Review: Fundamental Laws of Mechanics by I. E. Irodov
Lets look at his book on Mechanics in this review.
- From the standpoint of a bachelor’s or master’s student in Physics, this book is an excellent introduction to Mechanics. It does not have the same level of detail as an engineering mechanics textbook may have. But at the same time, it has a much more detailed and different exposition of mechanics than most text books of Physics. Thus, as a college level text book, this is not a bad book to understand Mechanics. One can probably do all the problems of Ch 1 of Irodov’s Problems in General Physics after studying mechanics from this book.
- From the point of view of the JEE however, things look a bit different. Although the book covers most of the important topics in mechanics very well, the language is too “terse” for an average JEE candidate (even a ranker). Prof. Irodov always speaks in the language of vectors and calculus – which is very enjoyable but can also be very difficult to grasp. He also uses a bit of vector calculus (a mathematical tool one learns in 1st year engineering courses) but explains the use pretty well, so even the high-school student may follow. But still, even an extremely brilliant high-school student will find it difficult to follow this book, in our opinion.
- The author of this post simply loves the book. But the author of this post has studied advanced mechanics in engineering and thus can appreciate this book much better than a typical reasonably bright high school student might.
As a book for JEE preparation, the following are the pros and cons of the book
- Covers a lot of mechanics concepts that you will not find in a lot of texts, including texts like H. C. Verma, D. C. Pandey, Resnick & Halliday etc.
- Covers most of mechanics in just five chapters – Kinematics, Dynamics, Conservation of Energy, Conservation of Momentum, Conservation of Angular Momentum
- Has solved problems as examples at end of each chapter. Most of the problems are from Prof. Irodov’s book on problems in general physics
- The language of the book is very “terse”. It assumes a lot of intelligence, It also assumes a lot of familiarity with Mathematics from the reader.
- It applies calculus to vectors and requires a geometrical understanding of the meaning of differential vector quantities like dr, dv
- It does not cover collisions too much in depth. Rigid body dynamics (rotational dynamics) is not really covered either, except for conservation of angular momentum.
- It has two chapters on Special Relativity which, though an important part of Mechanics, is not relevant to JEE syllabus
- The text has limited diagrams and illustrations. Print and type-setting is from the 80s.
Does not have end of chapter exercises. The chapter ends after 10 – 12 tough examples.
We love this book for the insights it gives into a lot of concepts in mechanics – especially on the role of inertial forces in dynamics and even in energy, momentum and angular momentum conservation relationships for a single particle and for a system of particles.
It covers the whole of mechanics (almost but not fully – because treatment of the rigid body and systems of rigid bodies is not adequate) in a neat and concise book.
But as a JEE preparation book, we think one should probably give this book a pass.
The likelihood that the book will unnerve and confuse even a top level candidate is very high.
So, with a heavy heart, we recommend that you not use this book for JEE preparations.
(Do read it when you reach first year engineering and are struggling with Engineering Mechanics!)
The author is reminded of Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia – a set of 3 books that Newton wrote in a language so Mathematical and terse that only the very best of minds of Newton’s time understood it.
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