Reference Book, Way Off Topic


Now that you guys have graciously answered my plea for Calculator Collection questions, I wonder if you could indulge me one more time. If you found yourself needing a formula or value or algorithm you have (temporarily, I'm sure!) forgotten, what is your go to reference work? Keep in mind you do NOT have access to the web (your ISP crashed or something) and you have to resort to the antiquated book format. I myself bought my first CRC Handbook of Mathematical Tables and Formulae (26th edition) back in 1981 I believe. I now have 23 editions in this wonderful series. I was wondering in particular if the Burlington series was as good? Thanks in advance for the great answers.


Abramowitz and Stegun, Handbook of Mathematical Functions. it's a monster, over a thousand pages, but there's a PDF version out there somewhere.




The pdf is available here.


After 3 or 4 mentions for Abramowitz and Stegun I found the pdf at This looks like a very thorough source, so I ordered a hard copy of of, 10.40 for used Very Good copy, 1008 pages, should be here in a week.


Here's the link: Handbook of Mathematical Functions



The one I often refer to is a small booklet: "Lefax Data Sheets On Mathematics No. 613". It contains a section on volumes & surface areas of geometrical solids as well as curve formulae and a table of integrals that is beyond my limited mathematical abilities.


I'd second Abramowitz and Stegun, Handbook of Mathematical Functions. Quite simply a fantastic reference.

The NIST Library of Mathematical Functions complements it well.

For simple stuff I go to Schaum's Mathematical Handbook of Formulas and Tables by Spielgel.

- Pauli


Reference Data for Radio Engineers, published by Howard W. Sams & Co., sixth edition, fourth printing, 1981. I have a couple of CRC books too, but have hardly used them.


I love the CRC format, and I finally got a First Edition of that series, so I might stop obtaining more. I didn't know when I started but there once were 2 series going at once...the Handbook of Mathematical Tables and Formulae, and the Handbook of Mathematical Sciences. Then I found the Tables and Formulae series has a Standard, Student, Abridged editions in 2 or 3 different colors each depending on printing. I have 23 of them, time to stop I suppose. Unless I get them really cheap! I won a 5th Edition from eBay that was delivered today, just 99 cents. Excellent condition. If I see more like that at that price I'll probably snap 'em up.


For almost everything I find some solid material in Bronstein / Semendjajew, "Taschenbuch der Mathematic" (~ Math Pocket Encyclopedia) of 1973. Nearly 600 pages, very compact format. Brought me through my studies.


I had to use that as well - but I think it's a pretty tough choice for a non-math pro. At least I had my troubles with it :)


Ich fürchte, ich würde mehr Probleme mit dem Deutsch als die Mathematik zu haben!



I suggest you get this excellent and comprehensive reference: detailed state-of-the-art algorithms, lots of examples, and working C code as a bonus (free download, 1018-page PDF document [7.8 Mb]):

Numerical Recipes in C - The Art of Scientif Computing 2nd Edition

If you won't have access to the web in some foreseeable future, just download it now, stuff it to your preferred e-ink reader or tablet, and there you go, instant web-less access on the go. Beats a thick, hefty paper book hands down.




These books do not have a good reputation in numerical analysis circles. Glossing over things, poor implementations....

- Pauli


These books do not have a good reputation in numerical analysis circles. Glossing over things, poor implementations....

- Pauli

You mean all of the books mentioned here?


Only the various Numerical Recipies books.

A&S and the NIST handbook are both top rate reference books.

I've posted a list of other books here: Message #24 in this thread.

- Pauli


Copied the list, Paul. Thanks! Looks like some powerful reading there!


Very powerful reading.
Very hard reading.
Very worthwhile reading if you're implementing numerical code.

- Pauli


I teach Algebra 2 for 11th graders. As such, I really have no "need" for numerical coding. Also, I practically have NO "use" for the HP calculators, because the school I teach at (probably most schools) require the TI-84 calculator. I do love to work problems at Euler Project web site. I currently have on the order of 300 math books (from pre-school to complex analysis). I love to work through these books, and I always have my HP50G close at hand. None of my friends really understand me I feel, but I enjoy math and HP calculators very much...I call it gaining "knowledge for knowledge's sake". At 50 years old now, I doubt I'll ever "need" any of the mathematics I know and love learning about. But, I'll never put it down either.


But better "free" than "nothing" I guess :)

And since CPU power is hardly an issue nowadays, the secondbest solution will likely perform as well as the best available algorithm.


I keep a copy of "Mathematics Handbook for Science and Engineering" (Rade/Westergren) within arm's length at the office.

Handy small format book with lots of room for notes.


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