Quantum Theory Book Recommendations

In summary, the conversation discusses a student's struggles with Schrödinger's equations in their Modern Physics course and their request for supplementary reading recommendations on quantum physics. Several book recommendations are provided, including "Introductory Quantum Mechanics" by Griffiths and Shankar, "Messiah" by Messiah, "Lectures on Quantum Theory" by Chris Isham, and "Quantum Mechanics" by Zettili. The conversation also mentions the books "Eisberg & Resnick" and "Beiser and Taylor/Zafiratos/Dubson" as potential options for further reading.
  • #1
I wasn't really sure if here was where I should be posting such a question, but all the same;

I'm currently taking a Modern Physics course and find myself struggling immensely with some of the problems and derivations, particularly when it comes to Schrödinger's equations.

I was wondering if someone may recommend some supplementary reading I could do on my own that was a good introduction to quantum physics. I am really just starting this year so it would be nice if the concepts were still quite basic.

Thanks so much in advance for helping me with my dilemma.

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  • #2
Which books do you use right now?
Introductory Quantum Mechanics book is Griffits for undergrads, Shankar for Grad level.
A classical textbook Messiah, and my favorite for the multitude of solved problems:

Hope this helps
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  • #3
Thanks so much! This helps a lot. I'll definitely be looking at all of your suggestions.
The book I'm using now is Modern Physics 3rd edition by Serway, Moses and Moyer. I did want something aimed a little more specifically at quantum physics though

Thank you again for your suggestion!
  • #5
Fredrik said:
I recommend "Lectures on quantum theory: mathematical and structural foundations", by Chris Isham. It's short, cheap, and easy to read. It focuses more on what the theory actually is, than what you can do with it. I think it's the perfect "supplementary" book.

I really doubt that Isham's book would be of much use as an introduction, rather something to read after finishing a graduate course in QM.

My personal favorite (though I am not sure how introductory you need it to be) is Zettili's:


It is recent (& uses Dirac's notation), affordable (paperback) & suitable for both undergrad & grad courses (it is short a few topics for a graudate course, e.g. relativstic QM).
It also has tons of solved problems at the end of every chapter.
You can preview it here:

Shankar is good as well (grad level).
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  • #6
physiker_192 said:
I really doubt that Isham's book would be of much use as an introduction, rather something to read after finishing a graduate course in QM.
I think the perfect time to read it is during a first course in QM which is based on one of the standard introductory texts. I find the end of your sentence really odd, but then "graduate" seems to mean very different things in different countries. I would consider any text on QM to be undergraduate material, including e.g. Ballentine (which many think is the best advanced book, and no one would like as an introductory text). I think Isham is still worth reading even after finishing an advanced course, but then you can probably read it cover to cover in less than a week.
  • #7
Isham's book has an emphasis that is not going to be much help with "problems and derivations, particularly when it comes to Schrödinger's equations."

I'd recommend Eisberg & Resnick.
  • #8
Koshi said:
The book I'm using now is Modern Physics 3rd edition by Serway, Moses and Moyer.

I haven't used that book myself, but based on the table of contents at amazon.com, it looks like a typical second-year "intro modern physics" book. I've used Beiser and Taylor/Zafiratos/Dubson, which have pretty much the same sequence of topics. As a category, they're about as basic as you can get in their treatment of QM. Any "real" QM textbook (e.g. Griffiths) is a step up in sophistication.

You might look at some other books at the same level, because they do differ in style and emphasis on various topics, and you might benefit from the different viewpoints. Of the two that I mention above, Beiser is slimmer and more "basic" whereas Taylor/Zafiratos/Dubson is thicker and a bit "wordier".

I consider Eisberg and Resnick to be physically difficult to read because of its layout: wide single-column pages of smallish text, with long paragraphs. It can be a real slog at times. At least that's the case with my copy, which must be twenty years old now. Maybe newer printings have a more user-friendly layout. It does go into more detail than most "intro modern physics" books, which is why I keep it around as a reference. It even has a fair amount of detail on the Bohr-Sommerfeld "old quantum mechanics" which preceded Schrödinger et al.
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1. What is the best book to learn about quantum theory?

The best book to learn about quantum theory will vary depending on your level of understanding and personal learning style. A popular choice for beginners is "Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum" by Leonard Susskind and Art Friedman, which presents the key concepts in a clear and accessible manner. For a more in-depth understanding, "Quantum Mechanics" by Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, Bernard Diu, and Frank Laloë is a comprehensive textbook used in many university courses.

2. Are there any books that explain quantum theory without using complex math?

Yes, there are several books that aim to explain quantum theory without relying heavily on math. "In Search of Schrödinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality" by John Gribbin and "The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen" by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw are both highly recommended for their engaging and easy-to-understand explanations of quantum concepts.

3. Are there any books that explore the philosophical implications of quantum theory?

Yes, there are many books that delve into the philosophical implications of quantum theory, such as "The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics" by Gary Zukav and "Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness" by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner. These books explore how quantum theory challenges our understanding of reality and the role of consciousness in the universe.

4. Can you recommend a book that discusses the history of quantum theory?

For a comprehensive history of quantum theory, "Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality" by Manjit Kumar is a highly recommended read. It covers the key figures and events that shaped our current understanding of quantum theory, including the famous debates between Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr.

5. Are there any books that bridge the gap between quantum theory and everyday life?

Yes, "The Quantum World: The Disturbing Theory at the Heart of Reality" by New Scientist explores the strange and counterintuitive world of quantum theory and its potential impact on our everyday lives. "Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed" by Jim Al-Khalili also offers a fascinating exploration of how quantum theory has influenced technology, philosophy, and our understanding of the universe.

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