# What to study?

1. Dec 3, 2003

### Peter Pan

I put a hold on my education, but want to keep studying physics. I left school after finishing SR. Would you kindly point me in a direction to begin with QM. Laymen books and links are would get my appitite wetted, but I would also like to start with the math.

Pan

2. Dec 3, 2003

### chroot

Staff Emeritus
How about Griffith's "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics?"

- Warren

3. Dec 3, 2003

### Peter Pan

is that a text book or a book i can find in barnes and noble?

4. Dec 3, 2003

### chroot

Staff Emeritus
It's a textbook. You're not going to find anything at Barnes & Noble to teach you quantum mechanics. You might be able to pick up a copy of the Feynman Lectures there (Volume III is on quantum), but they might not be the right place to start....

- Warren

5. Dec 3, 2003

Is that a good book? It's the one my current physics class uses, but I don't have anything to compare it to so I don't really know how good it is. And is Griffiths a smart guy, or just another physics guy who wrote a book?

6. Dec 3, 2003

### chroot

Staff Emeritus
Well, it's not the most in-depth QM book, nor the most rigorous. But it's by far the most enjoyable to read of those I've gone through, and that's important to me, since I do a lot of self-study. I like it. I'd say a combination of several books, the shotgun approach, is probably best:

1) A rigorous book like Sakurai. This book is IMO very hard to read, leaving large, important parts of the discussion to the reader. Also, the problems are generally much more difficult than anything in the text. It's really a pretty obstinate goddamn book.

2) A rather fun, easy to read book like Griffiths. This book was the focus of my concerted self-study program.

3) A book like the Schaum's outline for a large body of solved example problems.

4) A very high-level, almost oppositely-structured book, like Vol III of the Feynman lectures, to help see "the big picture" of it all.

Your mileage, of course, will vary.

- Warren

7. Dec 3, 2003

### jcsd

What about Path Integrals in Physics volumes I and II, are they any good? (I'm just about to buy them as their prices have gone right down)

8. Dec 5, 2003

### suyver

I learned quantum mechanics using Bransden & Joachim - Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. I found this a nice book, which is not too hard (as indeed Sakurai can be!) but still treating all the required basics.

9. Dec 5, 2003

### Stingray

I'm not a fan of Griffiths. I think its too wishy-washy. Liboff is a fairly good start I think. Personally, I find almost all QM textbooks start in basically the same way. Its possibly the most efficient way to learn the theory (and you need to know it at some point), but I doubt it will keep you awake for long.

I liked Feynman's "Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals," but I don't remember if it would be useful as an introduction. It has a much better perspective than most books IMO. The problem is that nobody else uses his concepts.

10. Dec 6, 2003

### BigRedDot

Could you be specific in your critcism? I'd agree that Griffiths is very chatty, but I would not agree that he equivocates or misleads. I really like both Sakurai and Ballentine but I would not describe these as introductory texts. I think Griffiths is fine, especially for self-study.

11. Dec 6, 2003

### Stingray

My problem with Griffiths (as far as I remember) was that it was not very rigorous. It developed things out of order with statements that some crucial step would make sense later. It also never went into much depth I think. It covered a lot of points, but only thinly. Much of the presentation seemed to be more focused on how to calculate things rather than understanding why the calculations go the way they do.

I tend to like more precise explanations, but that sort of thing is of course a matter of personal preference.

To be honest, I never really involved myself in this book, so take the above with that disclaimer. I looked at it a little, and didn't like it. My friends who had read it in detail agreed with my first impression (the more theoretical ones at least), so I didn't give it any more of my time.

12. Dec 8, 2003

### slyboy

I like Rae's book as a first introduction to QM, but it sounds like the same sort of criticism applies to it as to Griffith's book.

13. Dec 8, 2003

### lethe

i don t agree with this sentiment at all.

Griffiths takes great pains, i think, to make sure you see the big picture, and understand what it really means.

its true, that he doesn t start with bra-kets for a while, but that is because the beginning student often has a lot of difficulty with the more abstract notation. his treatment of the harmonic oscillator is great, his discussion of interpretations of quantum mechanics is the kind of thing that you can t find in a lot of introductory books, and gives you the feeling that he wants you to understand what quantum mechanics "really means".

he has some great problems, which can teach you things about e.g. neutrino oscillation, and non-hermitean observables, those are things i remember off the top of my head, at least.

i dunno... i am surprised that you don t like griffiths, because as far as beginning texts go, i don t think you can beat it.

14. Dec 12, 2003

### TillEulenspiegel

15. Dec 17, 2003

- Warren