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Quantum Textbook for QM

  • Thread starter Erwin25
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I have a Physics degree, 1970, Durham University, England.
I am semi- retired and have been re-studying using a modern text:
Sears and Zemansky's University Physics updated by Young & Freedman.
This has been brilliant. Plenty examples, questions and answers , ideal for self-study.
I want to move on with QM and the best book I've reviewed , but yet to buy, seems to be D. Griffiths Introduction to QM.
But it seems to not have many questions or answers in it and they are essential for me. What would you fellows out there recommend ? What have you used ?
I would appreciate your feedback. Multiple Thanks.
 

PeroK

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I have a Physics degree, 1970, Durham University, England.
I am semi- retired and have been re-studying using a modern text:
Sears and Zemansky's University Physics updated by Young & Freedman.
This has been brilliant. Plenty examples, questions and answers , ideal for self-study.
I want to move on with QM and the best book I've reviewed , but yet to buy, seems to be D. Griffiths Introduction to QM.
But it seems to not have many questions or answers in it and they are essential for me. What would you fellows out there recommend ? What have you used ?
I would appreciate your feedback. Multiple Thanks.
I learned from Griffiths and like his style. I thought there were enough exercises although perhaps my approach is different from yours in that I often make up my own exercises from the material.

In terms of solutions to the problems, you can find these here:


Griffiths has a bit of a bad press on here. I think this is because a lot of people use it and a lot of people struggle with QM. It's a false logic that if those people chose another book then their struggles would be resolved!

The new edition from CUP is excellent and reasonably priced. Do not get the Pearson International Edition, which is a shocking print and almost unusable.

PS I have the 2nd edition, but I see there is now a more recent 3rd edition out.
 
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DrClaude

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The textbook by Cohen-Tannoudji et al. has always been one of my favorites.

I would also recommend the textbook by David H. McIntyre which has a states-first approach instead of the wave-function-first approach of Griffiths (and many others), which I think is getting a bit old fashioned.

 

PeroK

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The textbook by Cohen-Tannoudji et al. has always been one of my favorites.

I would also recommend the textbook by David H. McIntyre which has a states-first approach instead of the wave-function-first approach of Griffiths (and many others), which I think is getting a bit old fashioned.

In general many of these books are hard to find in the UK. Especially if you want to avoid the butchered Pearson editions.

I got a copy of Sakurai from the USA, but it's potentially expensive with the UK Customs and Excise ready to pounce with their eye-watering import duty!
 

DarMM

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My two favourites are:
J.-L. Basdevant, Lectures on Quantum Mechanics (2016)
G. Auletta, M. Fortunato, G. Parisi, Quantum Mechanics (2009)

The first one is a nice introduction that covers all the basis, but also includes the historical context of many results and takes time to give a nice physical picture of what is going on.

The second is in a similar style, but includes somewhat more advanced topics.
 
My two favourites are:
J.-L. Basdevant, Lectures on Quantum Mechanics (2016)
G. Auletta, M. Fortunato, G. Parisi, Quantum Mechanics (2009)

The first one is a nice introduction that covers all the basis, but also includes the historical context of many results and takes time to give a nice physical picture of what is going on.

The second is in a similar style, but includes somewhat more advanced topics.
Thank you.
 
In general many of these books are hard to find in the UK. Especially if you want to avoid the butchered Pearson editions.

I got a copy of Sakurai from the USA, but it's potentially expensive with the UK Customs and Excise ready to pounce with their eye-watering import duty!
Thank you.
 

vanhees71

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Griffiths has a bit of a bad press on here. I think this is because a lot of people use it and a lot of people struggle with QM. It's a false logic that if those people chose another book then their struggles would be resolved!

The new edition from CUP is excellent and reasonably priced. Do not get the Pearson International Edition, which is a shocking print and almost unusable.

PS I have the 2nd edition, but I see there is now a more recent 3rd edition out.
That's not the whole truth: (a) Griffiths's textbook on electromagnetism is excellent and (b) the criticism against his QM textbook (at least my criticism) is that it is simply too sloppy to help you to understand QM. QM is difficult enough. It's not necessary to make it even more difficult by trying to simplify it to a degree, where it becomes blurred.

My favorite for introductory QM is

J. J. Sakurai, Modern quantum mechanics, revised edition

(the newer edition revised by Napolitano is also good, but you should ignore anything what's titled "relativistic quantum mechanics", because that's also something more confusing than helping; relativistic QT is anyway best formulated as relativistic QFT, and to learn an outdated historical form of it, doesn't help in understanding, although Dirac's hole theoretical formulation of QED is in fact mathematically equivalent to the modern formulation of QED in terms of a relativistic QFT, but it's more confusing than the QFT formulation).
 
The textbook by Cohen-Tannoudji et al. has always been one of my favorites.

I would also recommend the textbook by David H. McIntyre which has a states-first approach instead of the wave-function-first approach of Griffiths (and many others), which I think is getting a bit old fashioned.

Thanks. I agree.
 
That's not the whole truth: (a) Griffiths's textbook on electromagnetism is excellent and (b) the criticism against his QM textbook (at least my criticism) is that it is simply too sloppy to help you to understand QM. QM is difficult enough. It's not necessary to make it even more difficult by trying to simplify it to a degree, where it becomes blurred.

My favorite for introductory QM is

J. J. Sakurai, Modern quantum mechanics, revised edition

(the newer edition revised by Napolitano is also good, but you should ignore anything what's titled "relativistic quantum mechanics", because that's also something more confusing than helping; relativistic QT is anyway best formulated as relativistic QFT, and to learn an outdated historical form of it, doesn't help in understanding, although Dirac's hole theoretical formulation of QED is in fact mathematically equivalent to the modern formulation of QED in terms of a relativistic QFT, but it's more confusing than the QFT formulation).
Thanks. Are there plenty exercises with answers in Sakurai?
 

PeroK

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That's not the whole truth: (a) Griffiths's textbook on electromagnetism is excellent and (b) the criticism against his QM textbook (at least my criticism) is that it is simply too sloppy to help you to understand QM. QM is difficult enough. It's not necessary to make it even more difficult by trying to simplify it to a degree, where it becomes blurred.

My favorite for introductory QM is

J. J. Sakurai, Modern quantum mechanics, revised edition
I'm speaking as someone who learned QM entirely on my own. Sakurai is brilliant, but if that had been my first exposure to QM? I'd say the online reviews bear this out. In fact, I believe that Sakurai actually assumes a familiarity with wave mechanics.

CUP are also publishing Sakurai now, so that's good news.
 

vanhees71

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Ok, if you prefer a "wavemechanics first" introduction (which is however dangerous, because then people, including myself, are also easily getting some misconceptions like that there's always a wave function describing a quantum state), then I'd refer to the masterpiece by Pauli. Although written around 1930, it's still the best wave-mechanics treatment of QM I've ever seen. Very good wave-mechanics books are of course also Landau&Lifshitz vol. 3 or Messiah.
 

PeroK

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Ok, if you prefer a "wavemechanics first" introduction (which is however dangerous, because then people, including myself, are also easily getting some misconceptions like that there's always a wave function describing a quantum state), then I'd refer to the masterpiece by Pauli. Although written around 1930, it's still the best wave-mechanics treatment of QM I've ever seen. Very good wave-mechanics books are of course also Landau&Lifshitz vol. 3 or Messiah.
Here's an example of what I am talking about. This is a typical question on Griffiths:


The student is confused by primed and unprimed variables. Now, I ask you, how far is that student going to get with Sakurai? It would be impossible. Griffiths gives those students a chance at least!
 

atyy

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vanhees71

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Well, I didn't dare to suggest Landau Lifshitz vol. III and Weinberg's excellent textbooks on quantum mechanics. Now I learn from #13 that even Sakurai is too complicated. Well, then I'm a bit lost, why one considers Griffiths to be easier although it's more sloppy.

If all these books are too advanced, then I'd rather suggest to have a look at the Feynman Lectures vol. III which is, of course, also excellent using the wave-mechanics-first approach.

For the Dirac-formalism-first approach (which I still consider to be easier, because to start with a finite-dimensional Hilbert space, where even one q-bit as the two-level system is called today, is much easier than unbound operators in a full-fledged Hilbert space) the most elementary introduction which is not too sloppy is Susskind's "Theoretical Minimum" vol. 2.
 

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I like Griffiths, supplemented by online notes which comment on or fill in mathematical details.
 

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