# Is it ok if I started with

1. Oct 19, 2004

### JasonRox

...an older Quantum Mechanics book?

This is the book:

Fundamentals of Quantum Mechanics - Persico

Fourth Printing - 1959

It is old, and the approaches may be old. In all honesty, I like older books. They don't usually go through long boring examples. I get distracted by the colors of today's texts.

Here is a list of some chapters:

Part 1 (There are 3 parts.)

Chapter 1 - The Atomic Model

Chapter 2 - Energy Quanta and Light Quanta

Chapter 3 - Energy Levels

Chapter 4 - Quantum Mechanics

For more details of these first few chapters, please post if interested.

I will not start reading it until maybe next spring. I have patience of course.

Also, I will most likely get a newer book because of the abundance of questions, and possibly different approaches, but I would probably end up using this one more often if it is acceptable.

I posted before on what I needed to know (https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=41406) and I am still working on it.

Thanks.

Last edited: Oct 19, 2004
2. Oct 19, 2004

### JasonRox

One more question.

How far into complex numbers should I go, or what is recommended?

I plan on doing linear algebra after complex numbers, and I will continue on.

I love doing math, so I am patient about starting Quantum Mechanics, but anxious of course.

Note: The book I'm using for Complex Numbers was printed in 1964.

Last edited: Oct 19, 2004
3. Oct 19, 2004

### JasonRox

It says this in the preface...

"Furthermore, the theoretical interpretation of the periodic system of the elements, the statistical theories, the theory of the chemical bond, and problems of atomic collisions are not included."

Also, it explains that Part 1 is the history and overall view of the evolution of QM.

4. Oct 20, 2004

### JasonRox

5. Oct 20, 2004

### Tom Mattson

Staff Emeritus
IMO, the best book out there is Sakurai, Modern Quantum Mechanics. It's meant for first year grad students, but could easily be taken on by a sufficiently prepared undergrad.

If you aren't ready for that yet, I'd recommend the intro QM books by either Griffiths or Liboff.

Not just that, but the educational goals are old. I've never read Persico, but the date tells me that it is from a time when physics students learned less physics than they do today. Today, it's not unheard of for a senior undergraduate to learn QFT. I've known a few who have done that. Sakurai's book is geared specifically to prepare students for that vital discipline, and Persico's book may not be.

6. Oct 20, 2004

### JasonRox

What do you mean in educational goals?

It might have been a graduate text back in the day, but now it is not, so then how am I learning "less". Are you reffering to added material?

What I am looking for specifically is a well-written book. I don't want a book that goes overboard on examples. I want to be taught the stuff, and maybe very few examples so I can see how this works and wait till the end of the chapter to see what I know.

Like I mentionned earlier, I'm not a fan of today's textbooks. Examples are WAY overboard. Too many colors, and on top of that you get CD's that you never install.

Well, I'll just keep looking for a newer text that fits my style and I'll see what it has to offer.

Question of interest...

Do you happen to know why textbooks of today now have this lame approach?

Note: The post on what is "good" and what is "not" is entirely my opinion. In fact, you may love the texts of today, excluding the material taught and only taking into account the writing style.

7. Oct 20, 2004

### Tom Mattson

Staff Emeritus
I mean that graduate curricula are geared towards training physicists to a higher degree now than they were in the 50's. Textbooks are written with that degree of education in mind.

Well, first of all, I have no idea of what level you are currently at, so this book may be just fine. But if you are looking for a grad-level QM book, I think you'd be hard pressed to beat Sakurai. It doesn't spend time on things that grad students should already know (like solutions to the Schrodinger equation). It goes immediately into the Dirac formalism and develops the subject from there.

Sakurai is well-written, and really doesn't do examples at all. Sometimes the theory is motivated or developed by working out a specific application, but there are no "sample homework problems" in the text.

No, but the approach you describe is typical of most undergraduate books, but modern graduate texts do not have all the bells and whistles. None of mine had excessive colors or examples, and none of them came with a CD.

8. Oct 20, 2004

### vanesch

Staff Emeritus
I think that he meant that the best point of view and the assumed background have evolved over time. For instance, you'd have a hard time reading Newton's Principia to learn mechanics from! I think for instance that students back then knew more classical physics than they do now (in the sense of knowing very well a lot of examples in electromagnetism or so). For instance, chances are that the first time you really need to solve a partial differential equation with spherical geometry is when you're studying the hydrogen atom. When I look at older texts, it seems that they assume that this is a "known problem" from electromagnetism. That's probably because priorities have shifted over time, and now there are many other subjects to be covered, so there's less time for these old classics.
Also older texts may make a whole deal about issues which aren't issues anymore (because now we know more of it).
But ok, you seem to be keen on the book, so why you don't read it ?
I personally think you'd be better off with a more modern text but hey, it's your time.

Ah, you mean those first-year texts in physics, calculus, chemistry of 1500 pages, with pictures everywhere I guess they're a product of educational sciences and marketing strategies of editors.
But after that first year, I don't know of any such books, they seem to evaporate when the material gets serious.

cheers,
Patrick.

EDIT: BTW, if you like old books, I think a good compromise is Messiah. There's now a very cheap reprint available from Dover I think. I learned my QM on (almost) first contact from Messiah. It's old, there are almost no pictures in it, and it is reasonably "modern" in its approach, especially the first part. However, don't get tricked into the "relativistic quantum mechanics" part towards the end.

Last edited: Oct 21, 2004
9. Oct 21, 2004

### Kane O'Donnell

Hi,

If you're going into 3rd year or you're a pretty good 2nd year student you might want to look at Liboff. It's got a fairly hefty mathematical focus in parts but if you love maths and you want to study QM the approach in the book might be very appealing. I'm not a textbook guy, but I've used Liboff as a reference periodically this year.

As for courses, to do QM, complex analysis isn't really necessary (you're almost always considering complex functions of real variables, not complex variables) but linear algebra is a must-have, and it would be a great help to be studying Hilbert spaces concurrently. A pretty good grounding in multivariable calculus and PDEs is of course absolutely necessary to be able to solve problems or do calculations.

Cheerio!

Kane

10. Oct 23, 2004

### Fredrik

Staff Emeritus
I agree with Tom about Sakurai's book. It's the best one I've seen. You should definitely get it.

You don't really need to know any complex analysis (i.e. stuff about functions of a complex variable). The basics about complex numbers is enough.

You must know linear algebra pretty well. As I said in the other thread, when you understand what I wrote in this post you know about half of what you need to know about linear algebra. Actually, I think you could start with my post and use a book to look up what you need to understand it. When you do, the next step is to learn about eigenvalues and eigenvectors.

I don't think you need to know much about differential equations. You have to understand e.g. how to solve the Schrödinger equation by separation of variables

$$\psi(\vec x,t)=u(\vec x)T(t)$$

but this sort of thing is worked out in detail in most QM books, so I don't think you really need to know it in advance.

Of course, you do need to know stuff about Fourier series and Fourier transforms, and that is usually taught in courses about partial differential equations, but you don't need to know everything about it. The stuff about Fourier series is very easy to understand if you understand your linear algebra well. And Fourier transforms...you don't need to know much beyond what I'm going to tell you right now. If a function

$$f:\mathbb R^3\rightarrow\mathbb R$$

is expressed as

$$f(\vec x)=\frac{1}{(2\pi)^{3/2}}\int d^3p\ g(\vec p)e^{-i\vec p\cdot\vec x}$$

The function g is called the Fourier transform of f, and satisfies

$$g(\vec p)=\frac{1}{(2\pi)^{3/2}}\int d^3x\ f(\vec x)e^{i\vec p\cdot\vec x}$$

11. Oct 24, 2004

### JasonRox

I have been thinking that I should just wait until my Physics program gets to Quantum Mechanics, which is third year. I am first year, so you know.

I'll probably just get deep into the maths since I'm riding a train into it right now, so why stop it.

Note: If I read the entire Halliday/Resnick Fundamental Physics textbook, would that cover the physics part of it?

Sorry for all the questions, but I want to make sure that when I go into quantum mechanics that I covered important topics and that the transition should be smooth. I love the feeling of seeing connections.

Last edited: Oct 24, 2004
12. Oct 28, 2004

### bruce2g

For a fairly quick introduction to the main topics, you could try the first few chapters of RIG Hughes's "The Structure and Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics." He covers just about all of the linear algebra you need in about 40 pages, and it's digestible if you really like math -- it's got "just enough" proofs.

He mainly examines electron spin and their Hilbert space representation, although he does delve into position and momentum operators if you want to go that deep.

His goal is more philosophical than practical, so if you like making connections, you should check it out at your library.

Bruce

13. Oct 28, 2004

### JasonRox

I hope it's romance because that's all the library carries. :grumpy:

14. Oct 29, 2004

### pat_connell

Schiff's book is good and so is David Griffiths book

15. Oct 29, 2004

### NEOclassic

What Edition of Halliday doyou have?

Hi Jason,

I have the 5th Ed of Halliday . R . W "Extended Version" that has a Chap 40 that if you read, will be enlightening concerning QM's "facts and fancies". Let me know what edition you have (or is available in your local Library) and I'll be happy to discuss my "proof" that the EPR "thought experiment" leaves a little to be desired. james.osborn2@comcast.net
Cheers, Jim