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Quantum Intermediate QM textbook

  1. Nov 22, 2015 #1
    I just finished a first course in quantum mechanics based on Griffiths' textbook. I have to take an advanced qm course next sem which starts in Feb. I was planning to do some reading by then mostly on some specific topics like mathematical formalism of QM, spin and angular momenta, and identical particles. I am thinking of buying a book (or two) for this and for the next sem. The prescribed textbooks for this course are
    1. J. J. Sakurai : Modern Quantum Mechanics (Addison Wesley)
    2. L. I. Schiff : Quantum Mechanics (Mcgraw-Hill)
    3. Cohen-Tannoudji : Quantum Mechanics (John Wiley and Sons)
    4. E. Merzbacher : Quantum Mechanics (John Wiley and Sons)
    5. K. Gottfried and T-M Yan: Quantum Mechanics : Fundamentals (Springer)
    And I am familiar with a few other books like Shankar and Ballentine.
    So I would like to know which of these books have a good exposition of the topics I mentioned? I need a book which is precise yet comprehensible, has commonly used notation and at least a few exercise problems. They need not be from the list I mentioned, but at least at the same level.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 22, 2015 #2


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    Your class has five textbooks? Your professor must get kickbacks from every publisher!

    I didn't care for Merzbacher because of its circular nature. Each topic is done two or three times before you finish the book (first in wave mechanics then using bra-ket notation, for example). I liked Schiff. Though dated by now, his writing is clear and he is fairly terse (no long rambling discussions). Since a common criticism of Schiff is that he is too mathematical, it might suit you. If you are really good at math and formalism (and enjoy pain), take a look at Dirac.

    Book selection is personal and what works best for me may not work for you (that's why there are so many texts with so many styles). I suggest that you pull a few from your library shelves and browse until you find one that speaks to you.
  4. Nov 23, 2015 #3
    Well these are textbooks recommended in the syllabus as given in the institute website. When the course starts, the professor may recommend one or two of these textbooks for the course. From what I heard, it is usually Sakurai. But I have heard my friends and seniors say bad things about the book. I have been asking around and most people here recommend Cohen- Tannoudji. So I guess i'll give it a try.
  5. Nov 23, 2015 #4
    Why not send the professor a mail?
    It shows you're interested but more important you won't waste money/time on an obsolete book.
  6. Nov 25, 2015 #5
    Most grad schools these days that I am familiar with use Sakurai. I used Sakurai, but 30 years ago we used Merzbacher or Cohen Tannoudji. I recently examined and am currently studying from Shankar. I think Shankar is slower than Sakurai (This I feel is a good thing), but it is also more complete. Sakurai does not even treat particle in a box problems. Sakurai seems to think students are already exposed and know this. Shankar does a good treatment. I think Sakurai also does a good job of going through the free particle more completely than Sakurai.

    The first time I was in graduate QM, the professor suggested a selection of various texts that you mention. I used mostly Merzbacher/Schiff and a book by Powell and Craseman. Usually, when I got stuck with a topic in one text, I would change to another. I do like Schiff, but it is dated. It was once widely used
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