|About the Book|
This book grew out of an introductory course that I was invited to teach on a number of occasions to senior and graduate level students at the University of Kid. I have cherished these opportunities in part because I was never required to conduct examinations or give grades. For the students, however, my good fortune presented special problems that induced my sympathy: in addition to having to contend with a foreign language, they would eventually have to confront an examiner with his own ideas about what they should have learned. Although I always left a copy of my lecture notes with this person, they were too sketchy to be of much use. The present book is an attempt to solve some of these problems. The content is intended to be as broad as possible within the limitations of an introductory one-semester course. It aims at providing an insightful view of present understanding, emphasizing the methods and the history of their development. In particular I have tried to expose the power of intuitive reasoning - the nature of tensor invariants, the usefulness of dimensional analysis, and the relevance of scales of physical quantities in the inference of relationships. I know of no other subject that has benefited more from these important tools, which seem to be widely neglected in the teaching of more fundamental disciplines.