Favorite Integral Tables?
September 5, 2007 2:15 PM   Subscribe

What's your favorite math reference book, specifically for integrals?

I need a book of integrals for an undergrad quantum mechanics class (and for the rest of my physics career, too). I'm thinking something like Gradsheteyn and Rhyzhik, but I'd like to hear what other books people like or dislike.
posted by kiltedtaco to Science & Nature (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Are you looking for methods or just a honkin' table 'o' indefinite and definite integrals? If it's the latter, you're almost as well off with software. Mathematica/maple are very good at these IMHO. I'd typically just sit in the physics library, go to the LoC section for tables of integrals, then get the biggest multivolume set that they have.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 2:23 PM on September 5, 2007

I agree with my fellow robot-mind. Mathematica is very good for evaluating Integrals.
posted by Comrade_robot at 2:26 PM on September 5, 2007

Response by poster: I have two issues with mathematica. One is that I just find it easier sometimes to have a book to look through, which also keeps me from being tied to a computer. The second issue is that I need a book to use on exams. Can't use a computer for that.
posted by kiltedtaco at 2:34 PM on September 5, 2007

You should ask the people creating your exams then. It'd be dumb of them to require an integral which isn't in the library of standard techniques, and they're the ones defining what that is. Are they really going to let you take in whatever math book that you want? How much money are you willing to shell out, because it's happened before that I found the integral I wanted in the 5 volume set and nowhere else. Then again, I was doing that problem "the hard way" and didn't need that integral. After I learned contour integration I didn't have many look ups needed.

Or are you teaching? In that case, the money question still applies.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 2:45 PM on September 5, 2007

Search for "pocketbook of integrals and mathematical formulas" by Tallarida. I cannot find online the exact edition I have but there seem to be newer editions. Has been very useful to me and always in my purse during grad school (applied phys line of research). A nice and more plush book is definitely Abramowitz's Handbook of mathematical functions.
posted by carmina at 3:14 PM on September 5, 2007

I have used Schaum's Calculus for my undergraduate engineering courses. It appears that there's an Advanced Calculus Edition as well. There is all kinds of other practical information in there, which may be undesirable for your exams. They were allowed in exams in my classes, the premise being that if you didn't have a complete understanding the book wouldn't be much help anyway.
posted by KevCed at 3:46 PM on September 5, 2007

Not a lot of integrals in it, but it's got a fair chunk of other useful stuff in it too and is compact to boot, so Gieck's Technical Formulae keeps a spot on my desk.
posted by edd at 4:34 PM on September 5, 2007

And you can't forget the CRC Handbook of Mathematics . It served me well from high school through engineering grad school.
posted by schrodycat at 4:46 PM on September 5, 2007

Abramowitz has never let me down---when Schaum's and the CRC books aren't enough, Abramowitz will see you through. Schaum's isn't bad for exams though, because it's so simple, and the big rubber book is valuable for lots of other things.
posted by bonehead at 5:10 PM on September 5, 2007

Another vote for Abramowitz, which is available online, so you could maybe print out the integral pages, staple 'em together, and there ya go!

Abramowitz is also worth just thumbing through; it contains all sorts of knowledge that has been forgotten but it worth knowing.
posted by wittgenstein at 5:19 PM on September 5, 2007

If it's just integration you want, instead of mathematica try The Integrator, which is powered by mathematica.
posted by monkeymadness at 5:22 PM on September 5, 2007

I went through my entire undergraduate physics career and my first couple years of graduate school using Schaum's Mathematical Handbook of Formulas and Tables. In addition to having integrals, it has trig identities, moments of inertia, solutions to simple ODEs, well-known special functions (Legendre, Bessel, Hermite) and their orthogonality relations (which are essential to quantum mechanics), power series, and much much much more. Seriously, it's impressive how much information is packed into that 3/4"-thick book.
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:25 PM on September 5, 2007

That's the Schaum's I have too. It's good, and very handy for the open-book exam because it's so well organized, but Abramowitz is more useful as a general reference, I found.
posted by bonehead at 6:51 AM on September 6, 2007

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