• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

Which QM books should I buy?

  • Thread starter pivoxa15
  • Start date
  • #1
2,255
1

Main Question or Discussion Point

I am doing an upper undergrad class in QM and the lecturer recommands one of two books

Here is the course content
"Topics covered include the probability interpretation, time evolution and the Schrödinger equation, Fourier transforms, Hermitian operators, the eigenvalue problem, expectation values, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and commutation relations, symmetries and conservation laws, the Dirac delta-function. The quantum mechanics of angular momentum is developed and then applied to central force systems such as the hydrogen atom. The energy eigenstates of the one-dimensional harmonic oscillator are also analysed. The physics of spin-1/2 particles is developed using the matrix theory of spin. The Hilbert space or state vector formulation of quantum mechanics is developed and Dirac bra-ket notation introduced. Time-independent perturbation theory is introduced."


B H Bransden and C J Joachain, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. Longmans.

or

E Merzbacher, Quantum Mechanics. Wiley.


Which should I buy?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
61
0
Bransden is very good IMO.
 
  • #3
dextercioby
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
12,981
540
I don't have either of the 2 books, but the course content is to be found in any QM text. Therefore, let's say that you could also include D.J. Griffiths text on the list from which you choose.
 
  • #4
35
0
I haven't heard about this two books. However, I strongly recommend the book of J.J. Sakurai "Modern Quantum Mechanics" or the book of R.Shankar "Principles of Quantum Mechanics".

The book of Sakurai is a standard introduction to the quantum mechanical concepts. If you want to go more into detail, I would buy the book of Shankar. I think the text of this book goes into further details of the quantum mechanical topic.
 
  • #5
61
0
I haven't heard about this two books. However, I strongly recommend the book of J.J. Sakurai "Modern Quantum Mechanics" or the book of R.Shankar "Principles of Quantum Mechanics".

The book of Sakurai is a standard introduction to the quantum mechanical concepts. If you want to go more into detail, I would buy the book of Shankar. I think the text of this book goes into further details of the quantum mechanical topic.
Isn't Sakurai "Modern Quantum Mechanics" more for a grad course in QM? I think it even states that in the introduction...but I could be wrong
 
  • #6
35
0
Isn't Sakurai "Modern Quantum Mechanics" more for a grad course in QM? I think it even states that in the introduction...but I could be wrong
Yes, that's true. But I think the text is also appropriate for an upper undergrad level.
 
  • #7
230
0
I would recommend against using Merzbacher at the undergrad level. I used the most recent edition in a graduate-level course in quantum mechanics, and I would say that it's not suitable for use at the undergrad level. Once one masters QM at an undergrad level, it may be useful for developing a more sophisticated understanding of QM.
 
  • #8
2,255
1
I don't have either of the 2 books, but the course content is to be found in any QM text. Therefore, let's say that you could also include D.J. Griffiths text on the list from which you choose.
I had a look at Griffiths, it's thinner and seems easier then both books which is good for me. E Merzbacher, Quantum Mechanics. Wiley. seems nearly impossible for me.

B H Bransden and C J Joachain, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. Longmans. seemed to get good reviews at Amazon (5 out of 5) although only 4 were made. While Griffiths received 88 reviews. Griffiths sure seems widely used.
 
Last edited:
  • #9
quasar987
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
4,773
8
I personally like Cohen-Tannoudji because he is very lengthy about everything. But this is my personal strange taste. Gotta love Reif for thermodynamics too. He is equally lengthy.
 
  • #10
vanesch
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
5,028
16
Books are like socks: they are dependent on a personal taste, and not every sock fits every foot :smile:

Of the books that have been mentioned here, I will make a few comments.

I love JJ Sakurai's "Modern quantum mechanics", but as someone says, it is not an intro book. In other words, this book picks up where the content of the course by the OP ends! That said, I think it is a brilliant book, not too difficult, not too long, and very insightful.

Cohen-Tannoudji is also a good book. It is very verbose (and monstruously thick!), which has a good and a bad side to it. The good side is that 1) everything is explained in detail, so you normally, after you read about a topic, not much (technical) questions will remain: everything is covered, well explained etc...
2) that about any reasonable topic touched upon in an intro QM course has been treated somewhere in the book. So it is a quite complete "bible".
The downside is that you will never read it. It's simply too much, too thick, too many pages. It is the book to have on one's shelf, and to look into it from time to time, especially when there's a technical part one doesn't quite get.

The book I learned initially QM from is a very old book, but I think it keeps the right middle between too verbose and too succinct, it also tries to give some explanations and so on. It is Messiah.
The last part of Messiah (in the second volume) is outdated. You shouldn't read the last part on radiation quantization. But all the rest is, I think, a very good treatment of standard intro QM material.

And the good thing is that you can obtain it as a cheap Dover edition.
 
  • #11
2,255
1
We are recommended to buy

Physics of Atoms and Molecules, Second Edition (Paperback)
by B.H. Bransden (Author), C.J. Joachain

in second semester for a second course on QM called "Atomic, molecular and solid state physics". So it might be good to use the QM book written by the same authors in the first semester?
 
  • #12
990
57
Well, as long as we are just recommending our favorite QM books, I'll put in a vote for Shankar. He covers most of what Sakurai does, but at a more elementary level, with more background material (for example, a chapter on Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics), and he's pleasant to read.

However, Bransden & Joachain, which I haven't seen, seems to be highly rated on Amazon.
 
  • #13
2,255
1
Shanker seems to have good reviews (4.5/5) at Amazon as well with 45 reviews.

The candidates for me might be Shanker, Bransden and Griffiths.
 
  • #14
61
0
I vote for Shankar then. For me it is by far the best text on QM. Easy to read yet more advanced than the standard introductory texts such as Griffiths. If you work through Shankar and understand it all I say you get a very good understanding of QM, including an introduction to path integrals and relativistic QM.
 
  • #15
2,255
1
But have you used all 3 of the candidates?
 
  • #16
61
0
yes, although only parts of Bransden.
 
  • #17
2,255
1
The problem is my lecturer's notes are based on E Merzbacher.
 

Related Threads on Which QM books should I buy?

Replies
2
Views
566
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
1K
Replies
2
Views
4K
Replies
7
Views
6K
Replies
6
Views
838
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
23K
Replies
2
Views
2K
Top