Last Revised: 4/6/2012

It's like if you want to be a good pianist,
you have to do a lot of scales and a lot of practice,
and a lot of that is kind of boring, it's work.
But you need to do that before you can really be very expressive and really play beautiful music.
You have to go through that phase of practice and drill.
 Terry Tao
About this article:
 What for?
OK, there is a way to become a good theoretical physicist. Here is a guide to study pure mathematics, or even more. This list is written for those who want to learn mathematics but have no idea how to start. Yup, a list for beginners. I don't claim that this list makes you a good pure mathematician, since I belong to the complement of good pure mathematician. I make no attempt to define what pure mathematics is, but hopefully it will be clear as you proceed. I also highlighted several books that you would really like to keep in your own library. You probably like to read those books again and again in your life. Free material excluded. Note the highlighted list does NOT indicate those books are good for beginners. I shall try to keep this list up to date whenever I exist.  Assumed knowledge.
I assumed you have high school mathematics background (i.e. basic trigonometry, Euclidean geometry, etc). The aim of this page is to introduce what different branches of mathematics are; and recommended a few notes or texts.
Scientists in other fields and engineers may skip first or second stages and begin at later stages, according to their prior knowledge.  Time.
It takes approximately one year for each stage (except for stage 4, I list more material in each field for more advanced studies), for a full time student. Part time students may double the time. But its better for anyone to understand most parts of stage n before proceeding to n+1, for some integer n in {1, 2, 3, 4}. If you decided to attend a class, don't expect the professor can teach, it always happen, especially in higher level courses. What's the order of courses to study within a stage doesn't really matter, usually. One doesn't need to read every listed book within a subject to master the subject. I listed more than enough so that you can scout around to find one that you feel comfortable with. Some people like to consult a few books, beware of the symbols from different books in such cases.
Moreover, it often happens that you couldn't solve a problem within an hour. It's not surprise to spend a week or more to tackle one problem. Things may come to your head suddenly. Shouting eureka is the high point of a mathematician.  "Axiom of choice".
My selection will not be bounded by any publication press, author's nationality or religion. It relies on two factors: well written or cheap. These two factors are not mutually exclusive. I treat "free" as an element in "cheap". Note the price factor may by irrelevant, sometimes I get a HK $2xx book and Amazon says its US $1xx (~HK $7xx)...... with the only difference is, perhaps, I got the international edition. Moreover, some Chinese press in mainland China published photocopied of English text with a relatively cheap price.
Bear in mind that, just because one is a good mathematician doesn't imply he's a good author or educator. Perhaps Terry Tao is an exceptional case. To study science, reading the classics (the Elements, Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo, the Principia, Disquisitiones Arithmeticae, Principia Mathematica, etc) is optional. While for literature or philosophy, I wonder if any well educated student has never study Shakespeare or Plato.
To view [.pdf] get Adobe Reader, to view [.ps] download this and this, or visit this page, to view [.djvu] get this. Get WinRAR for [.rar] files.  Comments.
Links to Amazon for most of the listed book are included, so that you have an easy access to other users' comments. Note that the comments are sometimes quite extreme: for the same book, one rated it with 5 star (with dozens of people supporting) and at the same time another rated 1 star (with dozens of people supporting again), especially for introductory discrete mathematics, probability and statistics books. It seemed to me that lots of people study these subjects because they need to, they want to apply mathematics. Large proportion of these readers are lack of mathematical maturity. If they can't pass the exam, you know... In contrast, most pure mathematics students study because they like the subject and enjoy it. So, ask yourself, why do you study?  Other resources.
Although I'm not into reading books online, I should remind you that MIT's open recourse, the Archimedeans and Wikibooks provide another great sources of materials. These are excluded in the following list. The list below aimed to recommend books or (usually) printable notes. Google books allow you to preview sections from a book. Schaum's Outlines series are cheap, but I seldom include them, you may search the relevant if you like.  Me.
A product of School of Mathematics and Statistics, UNSW, Sydney, Australia. I've taken all undergraduate core pure mathematics and statistics courses there, with all pure mathematics courses in higher level (perhaps equivalent to Honors Courses in the US which focus on theory), whenever they exist. Also, I was Terry Tao's teacher's student, Michael Artin's student's student, Gottfried Leibniz's student Jacob Bernoulli's student Johann Bernoulli's student Leonhard Euler's student Joseph Lagrange's student Simeon Poisson's student's student's student's student's student's student's student's student's student, Max Planck's student's student's student's student and Thomas Kuhn's student's student. Just feel like I'm an idiot.  Disclaimer.
I'm not responsible for any external link.  Comments/suggestion for a book, etc. Either make comment in the blog http://hbpms.blogspot.com/ or email me: mathphyweb@yahoo.com.hk .
27 則留言:
The blog is very nice. If you want more info on statistics there is this site that contains tons of links leading to notes, applets e.t.c. statlink.tripod.com
Hey, are you a graduate student?
I used to be, what's up?
Hey, do you happen to have errata file to kolmogorov and Fomin's Intro to real analysis?
The link on your page is broken
thanks in advance
thanks alot!
Awesome list of texts/resources. btw what sort of career are you having now?
I quited when I was halfway through my postgrad. study. I am currently seeking a job.
btw, what's really awesome is that I found over 90% books in the list can be downloaded from Internet, though illegally.
Thanks for making this blog!! its helped me on many occasions it has every course i could possibly want!
never take this blog down its a legend!!
Thanks for your support, mate.
Hi, I have been hunting wellwritten maths textbooks for a while, and I find this blog very useful. However I have seen something even better, try this link:
http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~abhishek/chicmath.htm
Some nice stuff! I'm a physics student, (In September 2nd year) and I want to study theoretical physics, so this is my time to get a strong math background.
Thinking in doing Stage 1 in fourfive months. As long as I "know" some of that stuff, I just want to keep it formal, and learn how to prove things, just take the mathematical point of view, not just the physical one.
Thanks so much for this blog!
Thank you so much
I would like to thank Héctor M. Pinzón Mejía from México for picking up an error. Appreciated.
even though I am an agnostic the only thing I have to say is "May god bless you!". I loved mathematics till my class 10 (India) after that I could not understand why the fuck was I studying what I was studying...school text books did not provide me any help...after that I studied electrical engineering where I sucked in mathematics up till the point that I thought that I cannot do it anymore. This was around 5 years ago. About a few days back I have decided to study maths again. I don't think I will die peacefully unless I understand things on my own.
and again I thank you and may you live a happy life and thanks for creating this list.
I hope you enjoy maths and your life.
I am currently revising my math and your article will be very helpful. Thank you for posting it!
What more could I say, YOU ROCK!!!
This is really great, keep on adding more good textbooks, notes, solutions etc.
I was quite weak in maths, but I rediscover my interest in the subject, and your blog will definitely be a great source of information and inspiration, Thank you, Buddy!
I found this book excellent for Abstract Algebra undergrad
大學基礎代數
李華介
國立台灣師範大學數學系
I can read in Chinese (traditional), so can translate for my son in 3rd year University Math Major.
Thanks for this great blog !
Actually, I have visited your blog for several times, and every time I found it useful.
I just want to leave a message to encourage you, and hope that you will keep updating the blog from time to time.
Hi man, I am 23 years old. I studied ChEng. I was depressed for having such bad teachers that I became a selflerner.
Your blog changed my life, now I am in Stage 3. Thanks a lot.
Best Regards from Mexico
This is very helpful.
Please keep this intact as I'm not going to save books and will be downloading as I progress stagetostage.
I've been looking for months for such a help. This is great.
Thank you very much.
Just wanted to say that the year is 2014, almost 2015 and This website is still very used by me and friends. Please never ever delete this site, or if by any reason you need to, just don't :)
blog Wordpress themes
Recommended Math Books from Amazon for Self Learners: http://mathtuition88.com/2014/10/19/undergraduatelevelmathbookrecommendations/
I'm a Mathematics graduate (2014) at University College London. But right after I finished my graduation exam, I fell down in my room. And I was diagnosed with brain AVM. Although I received a uppersecond class honour degree (bachelor), I almost forgot all the Maths.
Now I'm planning to start again, aiming at Physics. But I've never studied Physics beyond F3 level (I'm an Art stream student when in HK). I've studied analytical dynamics though (and forgotten).
Can you give me some advice? Thank you so much!
And I'm from Hong Kong
Thank you for sharing such a informative information with us. Keep on sharing the blog like this.
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