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Quantum Thoughts on Sakurai's Quantum Mechanics textbook

  1. Jul 1, 2017 #1
    I have taken a couple of graduate level courses in quantum mechanics and I have decided to read Sakurai's Modern Quantum Mechanics from cover to cover, partly because I liked his style and I have heard a lot of people talk highly of it. But I recently realised that the second edition of the same textbook is quite different from the original (revised edition). The second author wrote a whole new chapter on relativistic quantum mechanics and rewrote several parts of the book (a complete list of changes can be found in the preface to the second edition). Comparing, it with the original, I found the original a lot less uncluttered and better organised. Is it a good idea to ignore the second edition and stick to the original? I am very curious to know the community's opinion.
     
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  3. Jul 1, 2017 #2

    Orodruin

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    I have not read the second edition, but my colleagues that have been teaching from Sakurai were of the opinion that the book was essentially ruined in the second edition.
     
  4. Jul 2, 2017 #3
    It should be noted that Sakurai himself wrote only the first three or four chapters and the book was finished by several other people. But I feel that they went too far with the second edition. Reading list of changes made to the text makes one very uneasy. I'll include a few pages from the preface for a quick reference.
     
  5. Jul 2, 2017 #4

    blue_leaf77

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    I learned a lot about QM that I previously had not realized it was there from the 1st edition. I used the second edition only for its relativistic QM chapter but never read the rest of the book, so I can't give any impression whether the overall quality has downgraded from the first edition. But IMO the first one actually already places this series among the best QM books.
     
  6. Jul 2, 2017 #5

    vanhees71

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    I'd suggest the "revised edition", because it contains a lot of great additions like the Aharonov-Bohm effect etc. I always refer to the book

    J. J. Sakurai, S. F. Tuan, Modern Quantum Mechanics Revised Edition, Addison Wesley 1994

    This book does not contain "relativistic quantum mechanics". If so, I'd no longer recommend it since I consider it misleading students to teach them old-fashioned and cumbersome outdated formulations of the past!

    There is another book authored by Sakurai and Napolitano, which contains large parts of the original books written by Tuan, who is no longer on the author list. To make the confusion complete, they call this the "2nd edition" (I'd label it "3rd edition").

    Another sad example that supposed to be modern revisions of classical textbooks spoil their value is the famous book on mathematical physics by Courant and Hilbert. Always read the original!
     
  7. Jul 2, 2017 #6
    Yes, I am trying to compare the revised edition and the so-called second edition! I am considering studying the revised edition.
     
  8. Jul 3, 2017 #7

    vanhees71

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    I've now the chance to look into the 2nd edition. It's more or less the same book but with some additions, which make the book more complete rather than in any way worse than the revised edition. As I said, I'd not introduce relativistic QM as a way to relativistic QT at all but right away stress that it should be formulated as QFT. Napolitano himself gives this view at the end of this chapter. So I don't think that the 2nd edition is in any way worse than the revised edition.
     
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