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Quantum QM Textbooks with Interpretations

  1. Apr 26, 2017 #1

    Demystifier

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    Quantum interpretations is the most controversial aspect of quantum mechanics (QM). Many feel that such controversial stuff should not be thought in general QM textbooks. Nevertheless, a large number of general QM textbooks contain relatively large sections or chapters on such controversial interpretative issues. Here I make a list of all such textbooks I am aware, in a chronological order. I do not list monographs specialized in interpretative issues. I only list general QM textbooks which are supposed to teach all basic aspects of QM which every student of physics is supposed to learn, but, as a part of that general goal, are not ashamed of including a decent discussion of the interpretative issues.

    D. Bohm, Quantum Theory (1951)

    A. Sudbery, Quantum Mechanics and the Particles of Nature (1986)

    A. Galindo, P. Pascual, Quantum Mechanics I (1990)

    P.J.E. Peebles, Quantum Mechanics (1992)

    A. Goswami, Quantum Mechanics (1997)

    L.E. Ballentine, Quntum Mechanics: A Modern Development (1998)

    B.H. Bransden, C.J. Joachain, Quantum Mechanics (2000)

    A.I.M. Rae, Quantum Mechanics (2002)

    J.-L. Basdevant, J. Dalibard, Quantum Mechanics (2002)

    S. Gasiorowicz, Quantum Physics (3rd edition) (2003)

    K. Gottfried, T.-M. Yan, Quantum Mechanics: Fundamentals (2nd edition) (2003)

    D.J. Griffiths, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (2nd edition) (2005)

    F. Schwabl, Quantum Mechanics (2007)

    G.E. Bowman, Essential Quantum Mechanics (2008)

    G. Auletta, M. Fortunato, G. Parisi, Quantum Mechanics (2009)

    V.S. Mathur, S. Singh, Concepts in Quantum Mechanics (2009)

    V. Zelevinsky, Quantum Physics Volume 2 (2011)

    E.D. Commins, Quantum Mechanics: An Experimentalist's Approach (2014)

    J. Pade, Quantum Mechanics for Pedestrians (2 volumes) (2014)
    (Those two books contain several chapters of quantum foundations and interpretations.)

    S. Weinberg, Lectures on Quantum Mechanics (2015)

    J.-L. Basdevant, Lectures on Quantum Mechanics (2016)

    It's interesting to note that most of those books are written in the 21st century, and only two are written before 1990.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
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  3. Apr 26, 2017 #2

    atyy

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    By decent you don't mean correct. Bohm's and Ballentine's books have huge errors.
     
  4. Apr 26, 2017 #3

    Demystifier

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    No, I don't mean correct. I agree that those two books contain conceptual errors, and those two books are certainly not the only ones with errors. But for me, it is better to make mistakes about such difficult issues than to pretend that such issues don't exist. That's why I call them "decent".
     
  5. Apr 26, 2017 #4

    martinbn

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    Interesting, most of them are very recent!
     
  6. Apr 26, 2017 #5

    Demystifier

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    Yes, that's one of my points!
     
  7. Apr 26, 2017 #6

    Andy Resnick

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    You should also be aware of Greiner, "Quantum Mechanics: an Introduction" (1989). Chapter 17 is devoted to "Conceptual and Philosophical Problems of Quantum Mechanics".
     
  8. Apr 26, 2017 #7

    dextercioby

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    It would be nice to know for the reader which interpretation each book uses or favors in case several are compared/judged. Then our distinguished colleague from the beautiful city of Zagreb has a starting point for a necessary insights article. :)

    two things to add from a mathematically minded reader of physics.

    a) The root of all these books is the one by John (Johann, Janos) von Neumann published in German in 1932.
    b) Where does Asher Peres” book stay with respect to this list (after each item is labeled by the interpretation it teaches/favors)?

    Thank you.
     
  9. Apr 26, 2017 #8

    vanhees71

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    The reason is simple. Before Bell's groundbreaking work it was considered not very scientific at all think about the conceptual foundations at all, because it was even more speculative before Bell's theorem, because there was no objective way to decide about something now called local deterministic hidden-variable theory vs. quantum theory, but with Bell's thery showing that certain correlation functions obey an inequality which is predicted to be violated by QT, so one could now at least in principle check by objectiv observations whether the assumption of a local deterministic theory or QT describes the facts. As we know now some decads later by an amazing progress in our experimental abilities to do such Bell tests with various systems and with very high precision, QT gives the right answers.

    In my opinion the case is closed by that, and QT (ripped to the bare physical content, i.e., within the minima statistical interpretation) is the right description as long as there's not either a clear reproducible observation or there's another Bell-like idea inventing a new (then necessarily non-local) deterministic theory in accordance with all findings of QT.
     
  10. Apr 26, 2017 #9

    dextercioby

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    I beg to differ and I'm surprised to read this from you. People paid money to sponsor and invited dozens of famous physicists to the Solvay congresses to discuss the foundations of QM. It was from these fruiful debates that the famous Gedankenexperimente by Schrödinger and Einstein, Podolski, Rosen surfaced, so I would claim all the old era from 1927 to 1950 pretty damn scientific. I don't understand how you can all that work "speculative".
     
  11. Apr 26, 2017 #10

    vanhees71

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    Well, I don't agree with the opinion of the mainstream of physicists in the time before Bell, because I think it has been and important step forward what Bell did, but I think from about 1930 or so on until Bell's work in the 1960ies (or perhaps even only after that with Aspect's first experiments with entangled photons) the Copenhagen doctrine was considered all that's relevant, and it was not a good idea for an untenured physicist to make foundational questions his research topic. Somewhere I read the story that Bell was worried about Aspect's career when he told him about planning the experiments testing the validity or violation of Bell's inequality. It was in some book review for

    O. Freire, The Quantum Dissidents, Springer

    which covers exactly this story about this very research.

    What I'm, however, very critical about is the purely philosophical speculations about these issues, which add unnecessary additions to QT that don't lead to observable consequences or are even contradicting the very fundamental principles making modern QT a successful description of the observable facts like collapse ideas, which violate the basic assumptions of local microcausal QFT.
     
  12. Apr 26, 2017 #11

    atyy

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    I would include

    Landau and Lifshitz - they talk enough about interpretation for one to know there is a measurement problem.

    Johnny Neumann too.

    And Messiah explicitly compares hidden variables with Copenhagen, and says that hidden variables cannot be ruled out.

    So many of the old classics do discuss interpretation. And without errors also. The only thing unknown then was that local hidden variables could be ruled out.
     
  13. Apr 27, 2017 #12

    Demystifier

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    I wouldn't categorize this book as a general QM textbook. It is more like a monograph on quantum foundations. It contains the best explanation of instrumental interpretation of QM.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
  14. Apr 27, 2017 #13

    Demystifier

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    Yes, it definitely should also be on my list. I missed it because, in my book repository, this book lies in the Greiner series, and not in the QM textbooks set.
     
  15. Apr 27, 2017 #14

    Demystifier

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    Johnny is not on my list because it's not a general QM textbook. L&L and Messiah are not on my list because their discussions of interpretations seem too minimalistic.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
  16. Apr 27, 2017 #15

    vanhees71

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    But a very good one, helping the pure people being infected by philosophy, to get back down to earth again ;-)). SCNR.
     
  17. Apr 27, 2017 #16

    vanhees71

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    von Neumann's classic is a math book, and a good one. My advice is to skip reading the part where he tries to get to physics ;-)).
     
  18. Apr 29, 2017 #17
    Quantum interpretation was only a backroom topic in physics after WWII, little talked about by physicists who needed to keep their reputation unblemished. It seems the first discussion of Bell's Theorem in a graduate QM text did not occur until Sakurai's in 1985. Bell published his idea in 1964 in an obscure journal apparently because it was a side project and not part of his appointment. It received no citations until 1971 which gradually increased over the years..
     
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