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Self-study, foundations of QM

  1. Sep 8, 2008 #1
    I'm interested in understanding foundational issues in QM more deeply. For example, I'd like to be able to read and understand the literature on the Transactional Interpretation of QM and the Many-Worlds Interpretation, as well as the literature on decoherence. What can you recommend for a study program? I'm looking both for reading material and worked problem sets. I'm more interested in foundational issues than computational techniques. Here's my background:

    - B.S. physics (applied), Ph.D. computer science

    - I had one undergrad QM course (for the applied physics program) and one quarter of grad-level QM... but that was 24 years ago, and I haven't done any physics since. I've had very little exposure to quantum field theory, apart from the layman's treatment in Feynmann's book _QED_.

    - I'm good with linear algebra, probability theory / statistics, and calculus at the level used in undergraduate physics. Mathematical formalism doesn't scare me. I've had some exposure to the calculus of variations and complex analysis, but not a lot.

    What do you recommend?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 8, 2008 #2
    Quantum Princples by Shankar for review. Sakurai is a popular book afterwards - though I haven't read it.

    After this, you can rock and roll with "An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory" by Peskin&Schroeder. I suppose you cab check MIT opencourseware for problem sets.
  4. Sep 9, 2008 #3
    Speakable and unspeakable in quantum mechanics by John Stewart Bell. The other good books on foundational issues of quantum mechanics are the ones by Chris Isham and the Omnes book (I don't remember the name of this one, let me search for it and post it later). There also some small but very accesible chapters on this issues: Griffiths book last chapter and also in David Park introduction to quantum theory, a very nice exposition (which unfortunately is in german) of some of the basic theorems of foundational issues like Neumman's theorem or Bell's inequalities is at the end of the quantum mechanics book by Reebahn.
  5. Sep 21, 2008 #4
    Thanks. These look like useful suggestions.
  6. Oct 5, 2008 #5
    Shankar- Principles of Quantum Mechanics is nice. The Quantum Challenge by Greenstein is decent as well.

    For an intro book, I (and what seems like many others) am using Intro to QM by Griffiths.

    Sakurai is good once you've got the basics down.
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