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Books on quantum and plasma physics

  1. Dec 23, 2004 #1
    I have read Fundamentals of Physics by Resnick and Halliday. My goal currently is to delve into quantum and plasma physics.
    Can you suggest any good, comprehensive books.

    My Math knowledge is pretty basic (just done some integral calculus 12th grade level)
    Can you suggest books for maths to go along with my physics studies?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 23, 2004 #2
    I just finished reading one called " Quantum, a guide for the perplexed" I highly suggest this book, it clealry states basic principles and ideas gathering quantum mechanics, including all the different fields of it, and how it plays a huge role in todays modern world. It also goes into all the different sub-particles and theories on that topic, with a ton of awesome collored images to help clarify any misleadings. I bought it at Barnes and Nobles... im sure it can be bought anywhere though. I also just ordered two more books called " quantum field theory in a nuthsell" and " the quantum quark", wich i cant wait to read.

    hope this helped....
  4. Dec 23, 2004 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Try these:

    Introduction to Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion: Volume 1 - Plasma Physics
    by Francis F. Chen

    Introduction to Plasma Physics
    R. J. Goldston, P. H. Rutherford

    The type of book may depend on whether you are looking for plasma physics in general or plasma physics from a fusion engineering standpoint. The physics is the same, but emphasis on certain points will differ.

    Edward Teller has a monograph entitled: "Fusion", and Vol 1 (in parts A and B) cover magnetic confinement.

    See http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/PlasmaPhysics.html for a comprehensive list of books on plasma physics and related topics.

    The book by Hannes Alfvén is a classic, but doesn't cover everything. He is also usually regarded as the father of the branch of plasma physics known as magnetohydrodynamics. See - http://public.lanl.gov/alp/plasma/people/alfven.html

    You might want to check a good technical library first before you buy.

    As for math - see for example - http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/PlasmaFrequency.html. This will give examples of the type of math - e.g. partial differential equations and multivariable calculus.

    Please also see - PHY380L Introduction to Plasma Physics http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teachi...s/lectures.html, which I posted in response to question on "Plasma Control".
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2004
  5. Dec 23, 2004 #4
    Thank for the reply.

    I see in your profile that you are a nuclear engineer.

    Could you tell me the job prospects in the field especially in fusion research and the pay as I am considering the field.
  6. Dec 25, 2004 #5
    It's interesting you mention QM and Plasmas, mainly because they are about as far apart as two subfields of physics can be.

    That said, the recommended books are good but may be a bit above your current level. Pick up a book on vector calculus ( http://www.wwnorton.com/college/titles/math/div3/ ) and then an e/m book if you want to go further into plasmas. From there you'll be suited to tackle the listed books.
  7. Dec 25, 2004 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    Fusion research is still pretty fundamental. There are some opportunities, but they are somewhat limited.

    Check - http://www.iter.org/ - for the International Toroidal Experimental Reactor program and The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) - http://www.pppl.gov/.

    These programs are funded by government grants, and there are a few critics who would like to see the programs terminated.

    It still looks like energy generation from controlled fusion is down the road - some say 35 to 50 years.

    It is definitely a challenging field in need of bright and resourceful minds.

    As for salaries, you would have to contact the programs to see what job openings are avaliable or what salaries are like.
  8. Dec 26, 2004 #7


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I guess this phrase denotes that u and physics are very much apart,almost like two disjoint sets.U haven't read too much into plasma physics,have you??Do you think it's fair to consider interactions between particles (ions,electrons,protons,atoms,molecules) as "classical"??? :wink: I guess you do,else u would have realized that any plasma interactions deserve a quantum description...Besides,the degree of "complication" implied by the quantum description is nonexistent,as Kubo's theory is very much similar classically and quantum.
    My advice is:document yourself and try to sustain every assertion with proof.

    P.S.I wonder whether solar plasma (for example) can be studied without QM effects... :rolleyes:
  9. Dec 26, 2004 #8
    I don't think you understood quite what I was getting at. Obviously there is a lot of overlap but in physics of the main subfields today plasma does not involve a lot of QM when compared to other fields that are almost exclusively QM. MHD is pretty much a classical model and it's working wel. It's clear that a QM model is necessary as your brought up, but there are few fields of research in physics today where you are able to seperate yourself so much from QM.

    As my QM professor kept saying this semester, "If you hate this stuff, there's always plasmas."
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