User Review - Flag as inappropriate
Although the above course is comprehensive, it is anything but easy. The intractability stems from the often very succinct derivation of expressions that require very advanced mathematical background to obtain. In rare cases there are some red flags in the text, like ... after a long calculation, we obtain ... . As often as not, however, the whoppers come out of the blue and stop the poor student in his tracks wondering whether his long night hours over the math textbook have been worth it. Not surprisingly, the only thing that can be born in the head of the desperate student in such a moment, is an anecdote. Here is one, exactly to the point:
Landau and Lifschitz are writing their ... let's say 137th physics textbook. Trying to prove some complex theorem, they've been sweating the proof all of the past week. Monday morning in runs Lifschitz, his clothes mismatched, his face red, his hands shaking...
Landau: My, you look horrible. What's going on?..
Lifschitz:Well, last night I (finally!) finished the proof, put all of the pages into a folder, and ... and I lost it in the subway! On my way here!..
Landau: Hmm ... I guess we'll have to do the same as last time – we'll just write "obviously, it follows that ... "
I think that the problems for the readers/students come from the mathematical genius of Landau. Mentally making all the intermediate calculations, he expects from his readers to follow him easily with the help of pen and paper. Very few of us justify these expectations.
For some notes that expand the intermediate calculations, see: