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QM book

  1. Sep 3, 2008 #1
    I'll take a quantum mechanics course this semester. I am a so-called advanced undergraduate (3rd year). This is the second course of quantum mechanics for me. The first was "the basics" (no bra and kets, a bit of linear algebra).

    I have read a couple of reviews of books on advanced undergraduate books, like Griffiths, Shankar and Sakurai but I coudn't make my decision yet.

    I'm ready about the math (linear algebra, differential equations) but not Dirac's notation.

    Thank you!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 3, 2008 #2

    George Jones

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    Are you looking something to use for self-study before the semester begins, or something to study while taking the course? Is there a text for the course?
     
  4. Sep 3, 2008 #3
    For self-study
     
  5. Sep 3, 2008 #4

    George Jones

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    All the books you listed are good, but, for self-study, I would go with Griffiths. Since all the books are good, I expect that other posters will make different recommendations.
     
  6. Sep 3, 2008 #5

    xristy

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  7. Sep 8, 2008 #6
    SAKURAI is a really good introductory book. I'm onto the excercises if you want to feel some company throught your pain :).
    Another good one is Griffiths, he is pretty good in explaining the angular momenta and that kind of stuff... GOOD LUCK WITH IT!
     
  8. Sep 8, 2008 #7
  9. Sep 8, 2008 #8

    malawi_glenn

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    There are many old threads about this topic, and all my answers in those have been "SAKURAI: Modern Quantum mechanics" ;-)

    Also try to find the tutorials we have on that section here on PF, they are very good.
     
  10. Sep 8, 2008 #9

    Fra

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    For my 2nd QM course I remember that Glenn's recommended Sakurai above was the recommended course book so that's what I had. But I do remember that I personally never liked his writing style though, I personally found the book a bit uninspiring, but that's just me. But other than that there was nothing wrong with it.

    Otherwise an option is to buy several books (unless you think it's a waste of money). I find that sometimes the differences in writing style and personal emphasis originating from the authors perspective can make some books better than others on some topics.

    I think an inspiring combination could be to combine some modern standard book, with some of the old classics like Diracs Principles of QM. It's not a "modern" book, nor is it the best single choice, but I still find it inspirational to read some of the books from one of the early founders of the theory. In particular found Diracs introduction interesting, not because one can't disagree with it from a modernt viewpoint, but because after all he was around forming the theory and it has a historical value I think.

    Sometimes the different views of different authors helps building a better perspective, even though the basics is all the same. A writing style that is inspiring doesn't hurt either.

    /Fredrik
     
  11. Sep 8, 2008 #10
    I like Griffiths as an introductory book, but my opinion of it changed alot when I had to study for my QM quals. It is not comprehensive enough by any means. Without the solution manuel it is almost useless. I used Richard Liboff's book to study for the qual. It's more comprehensive, but I think his treatment is a bit more advanced then Griffiths though, I'm not sure I would have been able to follow some of the stuff if I hadn't already had 3 semesters of QM. I've never read Sakuri so I cannot comment on it. My favorite QM book is Cohen-Tannouji, but its not a good starting place for someone with no QM backround because of the breadth of the material. You won't know whats important and whats not unless your taking a class or something.
     
  12. Sep 9, 2008 #11
    I absolutely despised Liboff's book.

    Shankar has a solid mathematical introduction and uses Dirac notation throughout - it's not a difficult beast at all. It's a solid introduction to the principles, but I think Griffiths can be a better first book (or the two can be read together!) since the approach is very applied and you learn a lot of calculation techniques. It's not useless without the solution manual; you just need to be able to solve the problems! (Which, granted, you might not be able to do after a first reading, which is why I recommend reading Shankar at the same time to fill the holes Griffiths leaves for his problems. A benefit of this, though, is that Griffiths is a short book, comparatively, and if you skip the really hard problems, it can be worked through entirely by a dedicated student in a semester.)
     
  13. Sep 9, 2008 #12
    Griffiths without solutions is painful. He makes you derive standard facts, which is not a route I reccommend. Ofcourse, you can easily get solutions online. Griffiths is a useful supplement in that it is short & sweet. I don't think you can get through the entire book in a semester, but usually the first half of Griffiths is what it taught in a junior course. Shankar is solid too, and should appeal to a mathematician with all its rigour. Don't know anything about Sakurai, but its usually a grad book so I think you should stay away.
     
  14. Sep 9, 2008 #13
    I meant that Griffiths was almost useless for studying for QM quals. There's a ton of stuff left only in problems (or not even covered) that is in a standard undergrad QM book, and trying to do every relevant problem just based on the material he presents would be a massively time-consuming task when most undergrad books many of them out in the book (not to mention you would have no idea if you're doing it correctly). I still think Griffiths is the best book for an introduction, but if you want a comprehensive overview of what's expected an undergrad physics student to know, you have to look at other books.
     
  15. Sep 10, 2008 #14

    Fra

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    Sakurai has two books.

    "Modern quantum mechanics" - this is the book we talked about in this thread, and this is a basic QM book, not a graduate book.
    -- http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Quantum-Mechanics-Revised-Sakurai/dp/0201539292

    "Advanced quantum mechanics" - this is a more advanced book, fields, QED etc. This is a different book that Glenn recommended.
    -- http://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Quantum-Mechanics-J-Sakurai/dp/0201067102

    /Fredrik
     
  16. Sep 10, 2008 #15

    George Jones

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  17. Sep 10, 2008 #16

    Fra

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    Thanks for the correction, I had no idea. I guess what topics count as graduate and what doesn't is partly a matter of custom. The school systems are different in many respects. I don't think we have clean correspondence to your high school / college system either.

    /Fredrik
     
  18. Sep 11, 2008 #17
    I would not recommend any of Griffiths books for self-study. He gives few, trivial examples, makes you slog through details other sensible authors explain, and no solutions. If, somehow, you could nick a copy of the solutions manual (I'm not advocating you do it, merely making a point) then this book would be a good introduction.

    It's better to use Griffiths if you're using it for a course, where other examples, and some solutions are given, and you can get help from a lecturer or tutor.
     
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