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Quantum Is Sakurai's book a good one?

  1. Feb 26, 2017 #1
    Hi everyone. I'm currently at the second year to get a bachelor degree in physics. I'm not getting quantum mechanics classes yet, but I love physics since I was about 12 years old, so I started studying it on my own. I already know those things on introductory QM, like solving the Schrodinger equation for different situations. I'm actually reading (when I have enough time) Sakurai, Modern Quantum Mechanics and I'm finding that book very interesting. I find the theory easier to understand than it's in other books. The book don't have a indication of what it's intended for (undergraduate students or graduate, etc..). My questions are

    1 - what level the book may be considered? And
    2 - will I need more books on the theory of QM throughout my academic life? if so, could you list some of them (i.e. some of the most common books that are used in universities for graduate courses)

    Please excuse my poor English.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2017 #2


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    I think, Sakurai is one of the best introductory textbooks on QM. Our professor used it in our QM 1 lecture. Of course, there many more good QM textbooks. A complementary reading I'd recommend is Ballentine, because it provides (a) an introduction to the rigged-Hilbert space formulation, which teaches you how to understand "generalized eigenfunctions and eigenvectors" of self-adjoint operators better and (b) it uses the minimal statistical interpretation and critically discusses some other interpretations of QM. Another brilliant textbook is S. Weinberg, Lectures on Quantum Mechanics, where also various interpretations are discussed (with the conclusion that today there's no really satisfactory interpretation, which I personally find not justified since the minimal statistical interpretation is in accordance with all observations).
  4. Feb 26, 2017 #3
    Unfortunately this book is not avaiable at the university library. Is it a old book? I have an interest in reading Weinberg's books because I've read his book on General Relativity and learned much from that book.
  5. Feb 26, 2017 #4
    Sakurai is a fantastic book. However,I would advise you to start with McIntyre which follows the same approach as Sakurai but much easier to read. After you read McIntyre, Sakurai would make much more sense and would be a valuable read. You can in fact read McIntyre as a companion to Sakurai as well - basically read both side by side.
  6. Feb 26, 2017 #5
    @smodak I've read McIntyre some time ago. Indeed it is an excelent book. It has a very detailed derivation of the solutions for the hydrogen atom.
  7. Feb 26, 2017 #6
    Ok, after Sakurai, reading Weinberg makes sense. Don't forget to read Landau Lifshitz and Dirac's books on the subject as well.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2017
  8. Feb 26, 2017 #7
    I do not feel Sakurai is a very good introductory textbook for QM. it is a very good textbook used in the graduate QM course in many universities for students with a undergraduate semester or two of introductory QM. Shankar has a good textbook that is also graduate level, and it is more discursive. It has a better discussion of the postulates of QM and better sections on how classical mechanics relates to QM and the correspondence between poisson brackets and the commutator. I think Shankar is better, if your preparation in classical mechanics is very good. However, you have to be patient as he does not get to QM as fast as Sakurai. The first chapter is on mathematical preliminaries and the second is on classical mechanics. Shankar ensures the reader not only has seen these subjects before, but sees them in the context of QM.

    I used Sakurai in graduate courses, but I now read Shankar because I have more time. Sakurai assumes the reader already has experience solving particle in a box and square well problems and does not treat the problem at all. He relies on the readers previous QM

    As to whether it will be the reader's last book on QM, probably not. Good QM books come out about once a decade or two, and I and I assume most physicists have several.

    I like Shankar, but I have read Messiah, many years ago my professor taught out of Merzbacher. Before that professors often taught out of Schiff. All of these authors have their own treatments of the subject.
  9. Feb 27, 2017 #8


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    This is pretty new. There's a 2nd somewhat extended edition printed in 2015.
  10. Feb 27, 2017 #9


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    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  11. Feb 27, 2017 #10
    @mpresic Thanks for your reply and review.
    @vanhees71 Ah, ok

    Probably most people still search for the older version.
  12. Feb 27, 2017 #11
    I thought Weinberg is often used as a secondary reading, following from the standard course in undergraduate QM. If I am not mistaken, the book is geared toward his book in the QFT. I always thought Shankar is a best introductory book.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  13. Feb 28, 2017 #12
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
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