A good quantum mechanics book for the self-learner?

  1. Hi,
    I am sure the topic of quantum mechanics books has been discussed many times, so excuse me if I am asking questions that already have been answered. I am trying to teach myself quantum mechanics so I am looking for a book that would take me through the subject step by step, kinda like John R Taylor's Classical Mechanics if anyone heard of it. I bought "quantum mechanics demystified" a book from the "Demystified" series because I thought it would approach the subject in a slower pace but it was very frustrating because the author made a lot of assumptions and skipped a lot of things, it is more of a review book for those who already know QM.
    Any ideas?
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. How much mathematics do you know?
  4. Moneer81,

    I am currently on the same quest as you, I am trying to teach myself quantum mechanics. Inha has a very important question as mathematics is the core of the subject we are attempting to teach ourselves.

    What I am currently doing is learning mathematics from the "Schaum's Outline" series first reviewing college algebra, then trigonometry, then I am going to move onto calculus.

    I have a few web resources that are currently helping me along as well:


    I don't know if you already know introductory physics, if so then these links obviously aren't for you. I am going from scratch :) Hope this helps.
  5. griffiths.
  6. I know enough mathematics I think (Calculus I, II, III, Diff eq, linear algebra) and I've had all the introductory physics and some advanced physics too.

    Is Griffiths the same author of Introduction to Electrodynamics? because I wasn't a big fan of that book. Or is it written differently with more explanations and step by step instructions? I also heard that he is on the GRE committee so it might be worthwhile to get used to his questions and read his book.
  7. I'd have to say that my favourite so far has been "Principles of Quantum Mechanics" by Shankar.
    It reads like an up to date version of Dirac's old monograph of the same name.
  8. I prefer sakurai 'modern quantum mechanics'
  9. chroot

    chroot 10,351
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    Another vote for Griffiths.

    - Warren
  10. Quantum Theory: Concepts and Methods by Asher Peres will help you, I think.
  11. I highly doubt that - it's a graduate level textbook that explores foundational issues in QM, it's not even comprehensive. I just ordered it yesterday in fact - it keeps getting cited by papers on entanglement, I believe it has a lot of very recent stuff in it.

  12. Typical introductory texts on QM are -

    D. Griffiths
    A.P. French & E.F. Taylor
    R. Shankar
    S. Gasiorowicz
    H. Ohanian

    All are available at Amazon, or any half-decent university library.
  13. I also vote for Griffiths.
  14. I'm currently enrolled in the 3rd quarter of a year-long upper division QM sequence, we used Liboff. I do not reccomend that book. I've had a chance to read through some of Griffiths and Gasiorowicz, both of them are better than Liboff in my opinion although I prefer Griffiths. I also used Griffiths' E&M book for upper division E&M, I find his QM book to be more likable than the E&M one.

    I also have a copy of Shankar, although I consider that to be more graduate level than any of the three I mentioned above. I like what I've read in it though, I'm planning on working through it over the summer.
  15. I have a strong background in mathematics. For this reason, my tastes may differ from yours. I read Dirac and liked it the best. However, it contains no exercises. I read Liboff, and liked it the least. It seems to have no unifying theme. I am currently reading Shankar and I like it very much. As Son Goku pointed out, it seems heavily influenced by Dirac's book. One theme that runs through Shankar's book is that of the propagator. Liboff mentions it on one page, but doesn't use it for anything. Also, Shankar has chapters on Feynman path integrals. I believe these two concepts are valuable for future learning. On the other hand, Liboff covers more topics. I never looked at Griffiths' book, but I gather it is more to the explaination side than the math side. Perhaps if you have time to read more than one, it would be good to start with Griffiths.

    Visit my web page www.erratapage.com for errata pages on any book.
  16. Well.. i got 3 personal favorites.
    Before attempting to even start the subject, one can read "Alice in quantumland". It gives one a feel of the subject... an awesome read!
    After reading that, now i have started really teaching myself the subject. My method of studying is - reading schiff, keeping Feynman lectures at side.
  17. robphy

    robphy 4,472
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  18. changing my opinion...
    sakurai and shankar now!
  19. G01

    G01 2,698
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    I vote for Griffiths. I'm currently teaching myself out of that book and I like the way its written, though you may want to get a book of problems with solutions as well, if your looking for walkthroughs for alot of problems. The only problem with Griffith's is that he has a less than average amount of examples.
  20. Which of the above have good exercises (with answers). Just reading the stuff makes my eyes cross. I need to work through problems to really get it.
  21. I'd recommend Quantum Physics by Eisberg and Resnick. The discussions of the theory are very readable and don't assume much, and there's quite a few examples incorporated into the text. I don't know exactly how far it goes as I'm only a 1st yr undergrad myself, but it extends comfortably beyond my course in volume and depth. As far as I can tell from course handbooks etc. it covers up to about 2nd year work in good detail, with appendices extending into more advanced work like peturbation theory. Answers are provided to about half the problems (they miss out ones where e.g. the answer is a sketch.)
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