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Good reading material for quantum physics?

  1. Aug 16, 2012 #1
    I am fairly new to quantum physics, I don't know much more than the double slit experiment and schrodinger's cat paradox. Can anyone tell me what would be a good subject to read about to be able to "understand" quantum physics? Superposition? Entanglement? Also, if anyone has any good suggestions for books, that would be appreciated.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2012 #2

    Matterwave

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    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think a knowledge of your mathematical and physics background would help in determining what kind of book to suggest.
     
  4. Aug 17, 2012 #3
    The textbook Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by David J. Griffiths is extremely popular with physics majors. It's certainly not perfect, but it's my favorite introductory book.

    Even an "introductory" QM book still requires linear algebra, multivariable calculus, some Fourier analysis, some partial differential equations, and a tiny bit of probability & statistics. This book does a decent job reviewing that stuff.

    My most useful advice to anyone trying to understand QM is: learn abstract linear algebra! In particular, know what an inner product is and why anyone would care about the eigenvalues of a self-adjoint matrix.

    Practically all of the axioms of QM are written in the language of Hilbert spaces and linear operators. If you have a solid intuition about those things, then QM is very confusing. If you don't, then QM is hopelessly confusing; it basically looks like mystical numerology.
     
  5. Aug 17, 2012 #4
    I have only taken up to alg 2 and trig. Im still in high school
     
  6. Aug 17, 2012 #5
    Well, i guess it looks like i am going to be reading some math books!
     
  7. Aug 17, 2012 #6

    bhobba

    Staff: Mentor

    In that case I recommend Hughs - The structure And Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics:
    https://www.amazon.com/The-Structur...hanics/dp/0674843924/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

    It explains the Linear Algebra and all the math you need as it goes along. You simply need a smattering of Calculus for which I recommend Quick Calculus:
    https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Calculus-Self-Teaching-Guide-Edition/dp/0471827223

    After that you are set to go for a regular QM textbook. At your level I would recommend QM Demystified:
    https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Mechanics-Demystified-David-McMahon/dp/0071455469

    Once you have done that you will be prepared for pretty much any QM book.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  8. Aug 17, 2012 #7
    For the record: you don't have to be a linear algebra expert, you just have to be able to answer questions like "What is a complex vector space?" and "What is an orthonormal basis?" and "How do I know if a matrix is unitary?" A good introductory QM book will try to explain these things and give simple examples.
     
  9. Aug 17, 2012 #8
    Thank you so much! I will take a look at these books right away!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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