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Books on quantum mechanics with intuition

  1. May 23, 2015 #1
    So, I know that there are a lot of questions about good books on quantum mechanics and I have read each one of them, and I go on and bought Griffiths' Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. But the fact is that it did not build me a very good intuition as it emphasized the computational part of it.

    So, I want a book that emphasizes on both intuition and mathematical rigor in the same way.
    I am thinking about the books of Dirac, Shankar, Zettili, Landau and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (with Frank Laboe).

    So what are your opinions about them and which one strikes the balance on intuition and mathematical rigor?

    If you know other books that emphasize on both, tell me.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2015 #2
    I enjoyed Garry Bowman's 'Essential quantum mechanics' for developing intuition. QM by Shakurai is my favorite which is mathematically rigorous, also helps to develop intuition.
  4. May 23, 2015 #3
    I will try it!
    As for Sakurai's text,it is for graduate studies..
  5. May 25, 2015 #4


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  6. May 25, 2015 #5
    I agree, Sakurai's text is for grad studies.
  7. Jun 4, 2015 #6
    I would recommend Morrison "Understanding Quantum Physics". It is very clear on the (basic) maths and full of good and detailedly discussed examples. It also discusses interpretations of QM.
  8. Jun 4, 2015 #7
    I think Ben Schumacher and Mike Westmoreland "Quantum Processes, Systems & Information" (Quantum PSI) is very good on intuition, as far as intuition can be used in quantum mechanics. The overarching theme of the book is that a system is described by quantum mechanics (EDIT: by that they mean unitary evolution via Schrödinger's equation) when information about the system does not leak into the environment, and this lead directly to the understanding of measurements, decoherence and theorems in quantum information like the no-cloning theorem later on in the book. This is often not presented in standard introductory books which makes quantum mechanics appears more mysterious then it actually is.

    Schumacher and Westmoreland start by describing systems like interferometer, spin, and systems with many energy levels and note that they all share the same mathematical structure of Hilbert spaces and proceed to study them in general in finite dimensions first, in which you can prove necessary things without a fuss (It's just linear algebra) and only later take a continuous limit to get to an infinite dimensional Hilbert space. Some introductory books like Griffiths just jumps into the infinite dimensional case and associate the finite dimensional case with a special system like spins and uses jargons like spinors, which I think obfuscate the simple linear algebraic machinery at work.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
  9. Jun 4, 2015 #8


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    Note that of the books you mentioned, Dirac, Landau-Lifshiz and Cohen-Tannoudji have the same level as Sakurai (Shankar is easier and I don't know Zettili). In my opinion, Sakurai is the most intuitive of them.

    I don't know much about undergrad books but maybe you could try the Theoretical Minimum book on QM by Leonard Susskind. It is aimed at laymen who want the real stuff and who are willing to learn some mathematics and not only pop sci phrases. It puts the focus strongly on the conceptual side and should be not very difficult to read for you.

    I also want to mention "Visual Quantum Mechanics" by Bernd Thaller which tries to teach QM by using lots of animations. It sounds interesting but I haven't had the chance to look at it yet.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
  10. Jun 5, 2015 #9


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    I am also a fan of Schumacher and Westmoreland! :smile:
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