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QM Textbook Recommendation?

  1. Apr 1, 2014 #1
    I am starting to review to go back to grad school. One topic I didn't feel like I did so hot in as an undergrad is QM. I want to go through a text book myself. I was thinking about "Principles of Quantum Mechanics, 2nd Edition" by Ravi Shankar. Are other books that might be good for me or better than this text? I am also going through Mary Boas' "Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences". I am enjoying the challenge and starting chapter three (Linear Algebra). I had never had a linear algebra class before I took QM and I feel like that was a disadvantage.

    Any suggestions?

    Chris Maness
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 1, 2014 #2
    Zettili is an excellent choice for self study in my opinion. The text has a large selection of solved problems that greatly aid independent study.
  4. Apr 1, 2014 #3
    I don't think it's very useful as a physicist to read pure math books. But I always like to make an exception for linear algebra. The pure theory behind mathematics is very powerful and it will actually allow you to understand the physics better. If you know linear algebra well, then the entire mathematical formalism of QM (like bra-kets and operators as observables) becomes a breeze and you can focus on the physics.

    So I recommend you to get a pure math book in linear algebra and work through it. I really like "Linear Algebra Done Wrong" which is freely available here: http://www.math.brown.edu/~treil/papers/LADW/LADW.html
    Especially the later chapters are very useful to physics (inner-product spaces, dual spaces, spectral theory, etc.) The fact that you already know QM in some way or another will help you to figure out the math too.

    I can't really give you much advice on QM textbooks, but Ballentine certainly is a nice choice. The first chapter covers the mathematical prerequisites, and this chapter might be quite rough (certainly if you don't know linear algebra!). But once you're passed that, the book contains quite some beautiful stuff.

    So, what I recommend is to read the "LA done wrong" text, together with perhaps a text like Zettili. And after that, you should be somewhat ready for Ballentine.
  5. Apr 1, 2014 #4
    That is a good point. Especially if I can't find a solution manual for Shankar. I have the SM for Boas. It has helped immensely. I was posting in the homework section for that one constantly until I got the SM.

    Chris Maness
  6. Apr 1, 2014 #5
    Now, I got nothing against Boas. It's a great book. But I get the feeling it's a bit too easy for somebody who is going to grad school. The book is actually meant for freshmen or sophomore in mathematics.

    Now, if you think you can get a lot out of Boas, then fine. But I just think there are other books that are more suitable for you and where you can get even more out of than from Boas.
  7. Apr 2, 2014 #6
    It has been a good work out, and recommended me by the grad advisor. It is recommended for students going from lower devision to upper division. I have been out of school for 15 years. I have been teaching in my subject area and keeping my calculus strong by challenging myself with problem every so often, so I am not totally off my game.

    Chris Maness
  8. Apr 2, 2014 #7
    Well, like I said: if you think you can get a lot out of it, then do continue with the book! Boas is a very well-written text, so no problem there!

    Do check out my linear algebra text. I think it might be very beneficial to you anyway!
  9. Apr 2, 2014 #8


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    Zettilli and Sakurai-you won't need anything else for a while; Zettilli is my most favorite QM text. Don't worry about the math, just focus on the physics and pick up the math you need at each bump in the road.
  10. Apr 17, 2014 #9
    I stumbled on an excellent series of YouTube videos by Brant Carlson for undergrad QM. His method is very clear and concise. It kind of reminds me of Richard Feynman's talks. The only bad thing is he uses Griffith's instead of Zettili. I was planing on using Zettili, but would Griffith's be better with excellently explained videos? I had emailed Brant directly, and he responded. However, he did not seem to want to share his problem set assignments. Any one have selections of the more important problems in Griffith's?

    Chris Maness
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