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Choosing a good book in QM?

  1. Oct 15, 2012 #1

    I have been told that Zettili's book is the best.
    How much is that true?
    And can I follow it and still be capable of solving problems posted in exams (knowing that my Prof is working in other books.. )

    I want to be able to solve ANY exercise at the end of the semester.
    Your advice - your detailed advice please.
    (what about griffiths, J.J Sakurai, Ramarmuti?)

    I will count on you on this one, so please only who know best, answer.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 15, 2012 #2
    I actually worked through a little over half of Zettili (2nd edition) earlier this year. To be honest, I really don't have anything bad to say about it. Well, other than a few typos. It's one of the most well written textbooks that I have ever used. The one caveat being that you need to have some mathematical maturity; you need to be at least competent in vector calculus, ODEs and linear algebra.

    When I took a QM course last year, it was all basically computational (i.e. Griffiths). We weren't really presented with any of the Hilbert Space formalism, which ended up deeply confusing me because I didn't know how to derive any of the equations. After the course, I bought Zettili.

    So, after a quick review of the experiments that paved the way for quantum mechanics, Zettili starts right in with the Hilbert Space formalism (bra's, ket's, operators etc.) Immediately, everything started to make sense! There are hundreds of worked problems and I was able to do most all of them without looking at the solution. The text is that clear!

    I'm not sure if it will let you solve any exercise, but it's definitely a start! I recommended this book to most everyone in my QM class and all of them found it invaluable.
  4. Oct 15, 2012 #3

    George Jones

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    There is no such thing as "best". One size does not fit all.
    This question is impossible to answer.
    Again, there is no "best". Don't try to shift responsibility from you to the people that post in this thread.

    Answers can vary considerably, particularly between posters in Europe and posters in North America.

    Are you trying to learn quantum mechanics, or are you just trying to ace a test?

    There are too many unknowns to answer your questions.

    1) On what what continent do you live?

    2) At what level is the course pitched?

    3) What is the exact course content? (For example, does your course cover Bell's inequality and quantum entanglement? Griffiths and Sakurai both treat these, but Zettili does not.)

    4) What style of learning best suits you?
  5. Oct 15, 2012 #4
    Thank you CJ2116,
    I liked your answer. I posted this thread to hear as many opinions as possible.

    And George, I thank your reply - would help me clear out a point.
    I meant by "any" as much as possible. Don't take many dimensions. It is just a phrase.
    I just am running out of time and want a fast trustworthy answer.

    M. next
  6. Oct 15, 2012 #5
    A question about Zettili, CJ2116, please:
    Can we begin directly with chapter two and cross over chapter one (historical review).
    Is chapter two, .. self contained and independent from chapter one??
    I don't need the historical review, what do u think?
  7. Oct 15, 2012 #6
    Yeah, you could skip most of chapter 1. It's interesting, but I don't think strictly necessary. The one big exception, though, would be section 1.8 on wave packets. It's kind of tough, mathematically speaking, but I think the conceptual understanding that it gave was invaluable. The idea that a particle can be described by wave packet comes up again and again later on!
  8. Oct 15, 2012 #7
    Thank you loads CJ2116, you have been a great help!
    Best Regards,
    M. next
  9. Oct 15, 2012 #8
    His first chapter is not all historical. His using the historical pov to introduce some very fundamental and difficult to grasp concepts.

    That being said, Zettili is now my favorite quantum book but there are so many great quantum texts - Sakurai being another.
  10. Oct 17, 2012 #9
    Thank you Jorriss! You second CJ2116, I will read it.
    Sakurai is good but I guess not for a first timer!
  11. Oct 17, 2012 #10
    Sakurai's Modern Quantum Mechanics is outstanding but isn't, in my opinion, all that suitable as a first text; Griffiths' "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics" is much more appropriate for that.
  12. Oct 17, 2012 #11


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    Sakurai is an excellent book, I am currently using it for my quantum mechanics course this semester. However, I would recommend becoming comfortable with wave mechanics before you read it. You could do this reading an undergraduate textbook like Griffiths or Townsend. Shankar is a good intermediate between these books and Sakurai. I haven't read the later chapters of Shankar but I've heard that the advanced topics and path integral sections are great. Interestingly enough I actually went to talk by him recently, it was very enjoyable.
  13. Oct 18, 2012 #12
    I see, now I have started reading Zettili's hoping it was a good step for my first course.
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