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Whats the best intro quantum mechanics out there?

  1. Oct 11, 2006 #1
    Hi, Im currently a student in a university... my teacher is going over quantum physics which i dont understand a bit... i mean i understand the uncertainty principle but i want a book with more mathematical (not too complicated math) and physics treatments, explainations without using calc 4 math....

    what is the best intro quantum physics book out there?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2006 #2


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    Well, you're not going to find a quantum mechanics textbook without "complicated math," simply because the subject demands a certain level of mathematical sophistication.

    That said, the gentlest undergraduate quantum mechanics book, in my opinion, is Griffiths' Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. It's a USD $100+ book, however. The much cheaper Schaum's Outline of Quantum Mechanics is less readable, but is also very good at showing the tricks of the trade.

    - Warren
  4. Oct 11, 2006 #3
    What's calc 4 math? The series I took only went up to 3.

    I haven't read this book, but it seems highly thought of.

    I think most textbooks are going to require at least some familiarity with Fourier series and ODEs.
  5. Oct 11, 2006 #4
    I used Liboff for my introduction. I like it because it uses a healthy mix of wave mechanics and dirac notation (which are best taught simultaneously, IMHO). After that, I went to Shankar's "Principles of QM", which is very heavy on the linear algebra (read: awesome!).
  6. Oct 11, 2006 #5

    Dr Transport

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    French and Taylor isn't a bad book to start with, I used it as a 2nd year student a long time ago. McGervey is out of print, but still a decent intro to Modern Physics/QM. Used Liboff as a first course in graduate school when I went back for my PhD, there wasn't anything I saw in it I hadn't already seen before at a higher level.
  7. Oct 11, 2006 #6
    thx for the help, i'll try to check out the books recommanded... but juse one more question, i heard that there are two approaches to quantum mechanics, one with matrix and the other with... something else. which one would be best for beginners to learn? which is more useful in general?
  8. Oct 12, 2006 #7
    The other approach is Schroedinger's wave mechanics. This is the approach that undergrads are usually started on (e.g. in Resnick and Eisberg's Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei, and Particles). Most books use both approaches. Matrix methods are usually encountered in the discussion of angular momentum and spin. Dirac integrated the approaches in his bra-ket formalism.

    A nice book that starts with the Dirac formalism is Marvin Chester Primer of Quantum Mechanics. He emphasises the physical meaning of the formalism in terms of measurement. Feynman also uses Dirac notation in volume 3 of his Lectures on Physics. And the first chapter of Shankar, Principles of Quantum Mechanics has a very deliberate and pedagogical introduction.
  9. Oct 12, 2006 #8
    By the way, if you can find it in a library, the prologue (about 28 pages) of Schwinger's Quantum Mechanics: Symbolism of Atomic Measurements is a non-mathematical lecture on the fundamentals of quantum mechanics which is very inspiring and enlightening. I think anyone studying QM should read this.
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