Travel Guide For Undergraduate EE Students

This page is prepared to suggest some titles to the undergraduate students of our department (METU-EEE).

Travellers carrying the spirit of exploration devour the travel guides before visiting a location. Luckily, it is easy for them to find travel guides with catchy titles such as "Best of Rome", "Must-see-places-in-Istanbul" in the bookstores. I prefer to call these travellers as space travellers, these travellers visit different (x,y,z) coordinates of earth and eventually come back to their origin, which is their home.

Students studying science and engineering are also travellers. (I am not talking about the ones wandering in the classroom.) Students sit in a classroom or in a laboratory and get exposed to several decades or centuries of scientific work at every lecture. It is as if, with the guidance of instructors, students visit the academic topics of concern to, say Newton living in 1750's or Maxwell living 1850's day-after day, lecture-after-lecture until graduation. It is interesting that the physical coordinates of the student stays put, but his or her mind travels through several centuries during each one-hour lecture time. Let's call travellers whose mind navigate back and forth between centuries as time-travellers.

Keeping it brief, the following is the travel guide for the undergraduate students of our department.

1. Before/After Calculus

When Least Is Best: How Mathematicians Discovered Many Clever Ways to Make Things as Small (or as Large) as Possible, by Paul Nahin. link

Comments: This book shows the history of calculus along with several worked out mathematical examples. Some examples, such as the ones related with variational calculus, is beyond the level of our undergraduate education. Yet, this book is a highly recommended read for all students of calculus. (Book should be available as a pdf file or can be purchased at a very low price as a second-hand item from on-line bookstores.)

2. Before/After Physics 105

Fundamental of Physics – Mechanics, Relativity, and Thermodynamics, by R. Shankar. link

Comments: This book is written to uncover the physical concepts that are at times not-accessible by the first-time readers of the topic. There are several textbooks options for Physics 105 courses. This book is not a textbook, on the contrary it can be taken as a leisure time reading. It is full of insightful descriptions on basic physical concepts. Also, this book is compiled from the lectures of the author. You can watch the lectures from this playlist while reading along.


3. Before/After Physics 106 or EMT courses (EE 224 and EE 303)

Fundamentals of Physics II: Electromagnetism, Optics, and Quantum Mechanics, by R. Shankar. link

Comments: This book is the continuation of the earlier one. Topics of this book is of course closely related to the topics covered in our undergraduate EMT courses. Book covers a great variety of EMT topics, some of which is introduced at graduate levels in our department (gauge theories and other advanced topics). Again, there is a playlist to watch and learn directly from the author, playlist. (Available in the METU Bookstore!)


4. Physics Reading (at the level of Physics 105 and 106)

In Praise of Simple Physics: The Science and Mathematics behind Everyday Questions, by P. Nahin. link

Comments: Another Nahin book that you may enjoy. This book shows how to handle some everyday physics problems. For example, whether the stacked books shown on the cover of the book will topple or not is a every day problem. Problem becomes more interesting if you put a cup of coffee on top of the books!


5. Before/After First Signal Processing Course (EE 301)

Dr. Euler's Fabulous Formula: Cures Many Mathematical Ills, by P. Nahin. link

Comments: Yet another Nahin book that you may enjoy. This book covers all the critical issues of signal processing area as delta function, impulse trains, Fourier Series etc. It is indeed a very valuable book for all signal processing students and also professionals. (Available in the METU Bookstore!)


6. After First Probability Course (EE 230)

Duelling Idiots and Other Probability Puzzlers, by P. Nahin. link

Comments: Nahin shows how to apply your EE 230 knowledge to some practical probability problems. Probability theory is difficult to fully grasp. This stems from its abstract nature and also lack of its frequent usage in everyday problems. (Book should be available as a pdf file or can be purchased at a very low price as a second-hand item from on-line bookstores.)


7. General Reading on Complex Variables (Intro to Complex Calculus)

An Imaginary Tale: The Story of sqrt of -1, by P. Nahin. link

Comments: Nahin never surprises, one more Nahin book that you may enjoy. This book discusses the history of complex numbers which are vital to everyday calculations in all fields of electrical engineering. Older generation of our BS graduates (who are around 40+ years old, i.e graduates before 2000) were taking a mandatory course on complex variables introducing not only the complex valued arithmetic but also the calculus, which is differentiation, integration, series expansion with complex valued functions. Readers of this book can also see some topics of this old course.