Recommend Quantum Mechanics texts

  • Thread starter Jmmergens
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  • #1
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Hi all,

I graduated a few years ago with a Bachelors in Civil Engineering and now work as a structural engineer. I have an interest in learning about Quantum Mechanics, more or less because I am a nerd and I like learning these kinds of things. As a part of my degree I took Mulivariable Calculus, the typical undergrad Calc based physics series, linear algebra, differential equations, statics, dynamics, and mechanics of materials.

I don't know if this is enough pre reqs to begin study on the topic of Quantum Mechanics, but if it is would anyone be able to recommend a text book to order? Or additional topics that need to be studied prior? Older editions would be preferred as they can be acquired cheaper.

Thanks for the advice!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by David J Griffiths
Modern Quantum Mechanics by J. J. Sakurai

Personally I do not recommend Weinberg's book as a textbook... because the notation is so hard to handle..... it may better to serve as an important reference...
 
  • #3
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Aworrystudent, thank you for the recommendations, I will check them out.

ZeroPivot, throughout my college career I have heard tid bits of information on the subject from instructors and other students, typically the information they gave me was always fascinating. Although I'm sure the whole subject is not fun facts about space and time and how things behave at the sub atomic level, I am still interested. Additionally, when you start deciding your career Quantum Mechanics sounds like the most complicated field you could choose. Although I would never apply it as a career, having some knowledge of the subject would satisfy some curiosity and in some ways feel like reaching the summit of one of the many academic mountains, in a sense. In short, it sounds fun.
 
  • #4
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Brush up on your linear algebra first if it's been a while.

I took an honors class that previously used Shankar for years and switched to McIntyre, a new book, when I took it. The teacher said test scores (for the same types of tests) were up drastically and he credited it to the book.

I recommend reading a little about Hamiltonian mechanics, and some basic e&m (Halliday and Resnick level) first.
 
  • #6
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Sorry for the bump, however, I was wondering if Griffiths goes over the required statistics for the book?
 
  • #7
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Sorry for the bump, however, I was wondering if Griffiths goes over the required statistics for the book?
I don't know about Griffiths specifically, but there's actually surprisingly little probability/statistics required for an intro QM course. Basically, you just need to have some sense of what the words "probability," "average (expected value)," and "standard deviation (uncertainty)" mean (like even just a high school level understanding). You might come across some unfamiliar terms/ideas, but they should be pretty easy to pick up just by doing a quick Google search. If you want to beef up your math skills before jumping into intro QM, your time is probably much better spent improving your linear algebra (especially stuff centred around Hilbert spaces), because that's used a lot more heavily.

To answer the OP question, if you're an engineer you might want to check out Miller's QM book. I've been going through it in the last little while, and I think he's struck a really good balance between rigor and applications. He teaches you QM properly so that you could move on to a more advanced physics text without much trouble, but he also takes the time to give you some sense of how you can use the theory to design devices, which is really nice to see as an engineer.
 

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