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Texts for self study

  1. Nov 29, 2009 #1
    I've 2 more classes to go to finish my degree in applied math with a minor in physics. I am retired so will have plenty of time to devote to the study of quantum mechanics. I want to start building the necessary library now. I could use some good solid suggestions. I have an older copy of Shankar's Principles of Quantum Mechanics. Is it useful.

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 30, 2009 #2
    Wow, good for you. I wish my dad would have gotten into something like this when he retired.

    It all depends on what you're interested in and how you think, but my first recommendation would be Essential Quantum Mechanics by Gary Bowman. It's a very concise explanation of things that I consider to be among the most interesting aspects of QM. Also, as a broad and relatively rigorous reference, I'd say Cohen-Tanudji's two volumes.

    But Shankar is also good IMO.
  4. Nov 30, 2009 #3
    'Introduction to Quantum Mechanics' by D. Griffiths is considered one of the best books for begginers.

    Good Luck!
  5. Nov 30, 2009 #4


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    There are lots of threads like this in the science book discussion forum. I usually tell people to get Griffiths and Isham first (and read both at the same time), and then Ballentine, but maybe I should replace Griffiths with something else. Several people have said that it's not that good. I assumed that it was because it got positive comments from several people here and when I used the "search inside" feature at Amazon, I really liked what I saw. Maybe the rest of the book isn't as good as the parts I read.

    In one of these threads, someone suggested the book by Nouredine Zettilli. It looks like a very interesting option. It has 13 reviews at Amazon. The only two who gave it 4 stars instead of 5 said that they did it because it had some typos.

    Isham is a must-have in my opinion. The full name is "Lectures on quantum theory: mathematical and structural foundations". It's cheap, short, easy to read, and focuses on the mathematical formalism (without getting into the heavy stuff). It's more about what the theory actually says, than about how to apply it.

    I also recommend that you get a good book on linear algebra. ("Linear algebra done right" by Sheldon Axler looks very good to me, but I have only read a few pages in it). Some of the QM stuff is impossible to understand without a solid understanding of vector spaces, linear independence, inner products, orthormality, eigenvectors and the relationship between linear operators and matrices.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2009
  6. Nov 30, 2009 #5
  7. Nov 30, 2009 #6


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  8. Nov 30, 2009 #7
    Try archives.com...they have lots of physics books around including quantum mechanics, original Einstein, Newton etc... lectures etc...

    I have a stack of 15 GB ebooks right now and I predict it will grow to 50 GB (almost all scientific subjects including programing, electronics and maths) after the downloads will finish.

    Use Recoll or Kat (for Linux) to keep a track of your books with full text search (it's a Desktop Search Engine)...I use Recoll, but there are many available...however I found Recoll the only one working and accurate.
  9. Nov 30, 2009 #8
    Thanks to all. That's more information than I expected. About the Linear Algebra, I've had a formal course in it and have gotten additional practice in other math and physics courses. I have a good library there. LA is probably the handiest math I've ever learned.
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