What is a good intro to atomic physics book that gives a good physical picture of whats going on.
Atomic (what happens primarily with the electrons or between atoms) or nuclear (what happens with the nucleus, e.g., radioactivity)?
If the former, then try Atomic Physics (Oxford Master Series in Atomic, Optical and Laser Physics) [Paperback] by Christopher J. Foot
If the latter, then Introductory Nuclear Physics [Hardcover] by Kenneth S. Krane
There are several other texts.
Search here for Nuclear Physics
I don't think there's a book on atomic physics that gives any physical picture of what's going on written since 1926.
Thank you very much Astronuc. I was also looking for an atomic physics book (not nuclear yet).
If one is actually interested in Atomic physics, which is primarily concerned with the atomic electrons, moreso than the physics within the nucleus, then perhaps in addition to searching for 'Atomic Physics', one should consider 'Solid State Physics' or 'Condensed Matter Physics'.
Introduction to Solid State Physics [Hardcover] by Charles Kittel (1995, 2005)
See also some course notes - http://www.physics.udel.edu/~bnikolic/teaching/phys624/lectures.html (unrelated to text)
Condensed Matter Physics [Hardcover] by Michael P. Marder
http://220.127.116.11/djhuang/lectures_2009.html (uses text as reference)
See also - http://web.mit.edu/redingtn/www/netadv/biblio2.html
thanks for your posts
The common theme and requirement for all that stuff is mathematics and quantum mechanics. The best introduction to quantum physics of which I am aware is Max Born's, "Atomic Physics": It doesn't get too much into the mathematics (although it has quite a lot), and gets into a lot of detail about the actual phenomena, which gives a more concrete feel for what is going on.
Any area of atomic/nuclear/elementary-particle physics will rely on this material, so it's a good start.
I second the reccomendation on Max Born. The book he wrote is very good and not too strict with the mathematical prerequisites. The appendices make up for the sometimes lack of rigor/proofs.
The classic book is Bransden and Joachain, Physics of Atoms and Molecules.
Bransden should go after Born, because Born has insights and elementary examples, while Bransden has a lot of examples, more like an encyclopedia. If only one book is an option, then either should do it.
Separate names with a comma.