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Best Textbook for Quantum Mechanics

  1. Feb 6, 2004 #1
    I am taking a quantum mechanics course in my third year and find that the book by Brehm and Mullin is not at all very good. Are there any books that are known to be good and useful for studying Quantum Mechanics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 6, 2004 #2
    Well I'm self-studying quantum mechanics with The Feynman Lectures in Physics, volume III. I think it's a good book, but it might be too easy for you if you're a physics student (I'm a mechanical engineering student so it's perfect for me), so then perhaps Landau's Nonrelativistic Quantum Mechanics book might be more at your level. I think if you haven't looked at The Feynman Lectures, you really ought to. The way he teaches it, by showing you the electron double slit experiment, really gets at the heart of quantum mechanics. Most books begin with Schrodinger's equation, but that doesn't offer any physical insight into the heart of quantum mechanics and restricts yourself to the cooridinate representation. I mean when you 1st learn math you learn the integers, and then you go on to learn rationals and irrationals. I think it's appropriate to begin learning systems which can be described with a finite number of base states, and then go on to continuous base states. Anyway that's just my opinion.
  4. Feb 7, 2004 #3


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    Liboff is good for the usual intro QM stuff.

    Cohen-Tannoudji (sp?) et al. is the standard for a more thorough treatment.

    There are more interesting theoretical books out there, but I think this is what you're looking for.

    A very good book of interesting solved problems (not the usual homework garbage) that shows you how the ideas are actually used is Flugge's "Practical Quantum Mechanics"
  5. Feb 7, 2004 #4
    I have "Quantum mechanics" of Schaum's Outlines. The explanations are direct and quite clear, and there are a lot of worked exercises
    It's also very cheap. There's no QFT though
  6. Feb 7, 2004 #5
    Griffith' s text

    How about the Griffiths text..is that any good? I didn' t find his E&M book good at all so if the QM book is like that, then it might not be worth it......... for me anyhow!
  7. Feb 7, 2004 #6


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    I haven't read any of Griffiths' books in detail, but I didn't like what I've seen of his QM book. I tend to prefer more mathematically rigorous books than most people, so I don't know if my opinion is relevent to you. What didn't you like about his EM book?
  8. Feb 7, 2004 #7
    I found that the EM book was not too good either...lot of stuff left incomplete for my liking. Some people would have been able to fill in the missing steps...I was able to do that for some of them but not for all of them. I too like books that have more mathematics than perhaps necessary....helps me see things more clearer!
  9. Feb 7, 2004 #8
    Cohen-Tannoudji et al. is a good upper division / intro graduate level text (I learned from it, and used it for the last quantum class I taught). The good thing is that uses a modern approach, Dirac Notation, group theory, etc... I tend to shy away from adopting texts that want to teach quantum without the proper notation (Liboff is guilty of this).

    Another good undergraduate text is by Townsend ("A Modern Approach To Quantum Mechanics"). He also chooses to go with Dirac Notation from the first page, but does so via angular momentum (which can be confusing if it's the first introduction to QM). However, it's a excellent upper div. text.
  10. Feb 8, 2004 #9
    if you don't like to figure out on your own things that are left undone, then griffith is not at all good for you! because almost the entire book is work out the problems yourself type!

    but the book is a damn good book, since it explains so many things correctly and clearly !
  11. Feb 9, 2004 #10


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    I'll throw in my vote for Griffiths. Liboff is also good, but not as fun to read.

    - Warren
  12. Feb 9, 2004 #11
    I think Shankar's book is the best. It is larger and has more topics than Griffiths and I think the exposition is just as good. Plus it introduces path integrals.
  13. Feb 10, 2004 #12
    Slightly more advanced, but very thourough, is J. J. Sakurai's "Modern Quantum Mechanics". I like this book a lot.
  14. Feb 10, 2004 #13
    I like Schiff's book. A little old but very good
  15. Feb 10, 2004 #14


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    QM books...

    3 books come to mind:
    As people said, Cohen-Tannoudji is a kind of bible and reads very easily. In fact, the main problem I have with it is that it reads too easily ! In fact, it is too verbose, and that's why the two volumes are over 1500 pages.

    I learned QM from an old book which is also, in my mind, a good introduction: Messiah. It is now available as a cheap Dover edition.

    The best book I know about QM, but which is not an introduction, is, as somebody already said: Sakurai. If you only study QM for QM sake, there's a lot of non-essential material in it, but in fact it is a perfect preparation for QFT.
    In fact, I'm leading a study group for this book right now, and you can find some material (solutions to exercises for instance) on a web page I set up for the purpose:


  16. Feb 10, 2004 #15
  17. Feb 10, 2004 #16
    I've always liked Griffiths best, followed by Shankar. These books do leave out some higher level physics, but on the most part they explain the material very well.
  18. Feb 10, 2004 #17

    Am I the only one who likes the Feynman Lectures in Physics Vol 3 Quantum Mechanics? That's the only book I know. Is Griffith's or Sakurai's better?
  19. Feb 10, 2004 #18


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    Re: waaaaahh

    Feynman's Vol III is pretty odd. It presents everything in the reverse manner as all other texts, and doesn't really have, IMO, enough detail to really learn how to solve any problems. His treatment is entertaining, but not very useful.

    - Warren
  20. Feb 10, 2004 #19
    By reverse manner I'm assuming you don't mean introducing the Dirac notation first, because from what I've gathered from everyone here that's the proper way to do things. I like how he doesn't introduce the Schrodinger equation until chapter 16 and works with simpler 2-state systems before chapter 16. I know many QM books choose the Schrodinger equation as their starting point. It's true in chapter 5 he deals with a spin 1 particle, but that chapter gave physical motivation for one of the fundamental quantum rules, that: <psi2|psi1>=Sum(<psi2|j><j|psi1>). Anyway, I am wondering what exactly is out of order. I kind of feel bad because I've been recommending the Feynman Lectures to people thinking that it is not only entertaining but good.

    There is a lack of problems and you can purchase a book of problems which goes with the Feynman lectures - those problems came from Feynman himself.
  21. Feb 11, 2004 #20
    Re: waaaaahh

    The problem I have with the Feynman lectures is that they make awful introductory texts. While they're very complete and well-written, I've found they're more the type of books that you use to review prior knowledge, and reinforce it better.

    That is -- they work best if you're already familiar with the topics and are seeking a more thorough treatment.
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