Which QM books should I buy?

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In summary: Bransden and Joachain (intro to QM). But, if you want something more modern and up-to-date, I would definitely go for Griffiths.
  • #1
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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?
 
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  • #2
Bransden is very good IMO.
 
  • #3
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
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
Soff said:
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
octol said:
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
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
dextercioby said:
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.
 
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  • #9
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.
 
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  • #10
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
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
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
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
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
But have you used all 3 of the candidates?
 
  • #16
yes, although only parts of Bransden.
 
  • #17
The problem is my lecturer's notes are based on E Merzbacher.
 

1. What are the top recommended quantum mechanics books for beginners?

Some popular options for beginners include "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics" by David J. Griffiths, "Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum" by Leonard Susskind and Art Friedman, and "Quantum Physics for Dummies" by Steven Holzner. These books provide a solid foundation in the principles and concepts of quantum mechanics without overwhelming the reader with too much mathematical rigor.

2. Which QM book is best for someone with a background in mathematics?

For someone with a strong background in mathematics, "Quantum Mechanics" by Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, Bernard Diu, and Franck Laloë is a highly recommended choice. This book is known for its comprehensive and rigorous treatment of quantum mechanics, and it includes many mathematical derivations and proofs.

3. Are there any QM books that are suitable for self-study?

Yes, there are several QM books that are suitable for self-study. Some popular options include "Quantum Mechanics: A Conceptual Approach" by Hendrik F. Hameka, "Understanding Quantum Mechanics" by Roland Omnes, and "Quantum Mechanics Demystified" by David McMahon. These books are written in a clear and accessible style, making them ideal for self-study.

4. Can you recommend a QM book with a focus on applications?

If you are interested in the practical applications of quantum mechanics, "Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers" by David A. B. Miller is a great choice. This book covers a wide range of topics, from basic principles to advanced applications in fields such as quantum computing and quantum information theory.

5. Is there a QM book that includes both theory and experiments?

Yes, "Modern Quantum Mechanics" by J.J. Sakurai and Jim Napolitano is a popular choice for its balanced coverage of theoretical concepts and experimental techniques. This book also includes many worked examples and problems to help readers apply the theory to real-world experiments.

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