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Ballentine or Shankar

  1. Apr 15, 2010 #1

    I have a pretty strong background in quantum and I've already gone through sakurai using shankar as a reference for courses and such. However, this summer, I want to go through a comprehensive quantum book cover to cover in preparation for going through Zee's QFT book. Which do people think would be a better book, Ballentine's of Shankar's? Ballentine seems to put a stronger emphasis on the math but Shankar has a chapter on the Dirac equation and coherent state path integrals (i'm interested in QFT in regards to mostly condensed but not exclusively).
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2010 #2


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    Actually, since you already know QM pretty well, I think your time is better spent already reading some QFT. Sakurai+Shankar gives you a strong enough background.

    QFT can be a daunting subject, so studying some of it from another book (or not) in the summer will prepare you better than reviewing QM.

    To answer your question: I think Shankar doesn't really add much to Sakurai. Ballentine has a lot of material and perspectives you won't get from Sakurai.
  4. Apr 17, 2010 #3
    I'm just gonna repeat what Landau said:

    If you've gone through sakurai, and your goal is QFT, then simply start with Zee and don't bother with Ballentine or Shankar. Start with Zee right now, and move on to a different QFT book later on, like Ryder, Tong's lecture notes, or Peskin and Schroeder if you want to torture yourself. If you really want to prepare yourself before starting with QFT: learn classical field theory (e.g. the book by Landau Lifgarbagez).

    Furthermore: don't try to cover everything that is being treated in Zee. The later chapters are great to read, but in the end you will not learn to calculate stuff using Zee. Zee's book tries to cover a lot of different topics, and he does a great job doing so. But you will need to go through those nasty calculations. Stick to the first four chapters or so, and then re-learn that stuff from another book.

    You can also try these online lectures: http://pirsa.org/index.php?p=speaker&name=David_Tong
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