Linked bibliography for the SEP article "Quantum Mechanics" by Jenann Ismael

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Quantum Mechanics Textbooks

There are a great many textbooks available for studying quantum mechanics. Here are a few especially important ones with some notes to guide choices among them. It is good to work with two or three texts when learning QM. No text is perfect and differences in approach can illuminate the subject from different angles.

  • Ballentine, L., 1998, Quantum Mechanics: A Modern Approach, Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Company.
    This book is not recommended for beginners, and not recommended as a textbook. It is recommended once one has some technical background to deepen understanding of the fundamental concepts of quantum mechanics.
  • Basdevant, J.L., and J. Dalibard, 2005, Quantum Mechanics, Berlin: Springer.
    This is a brief, but elegant introduction. There aren't a great many problems, but detailed solutions are provided for those that are included. The book comes with a CD-ROM that is very helpful for visualization.
  • Cohen-Tannoudji, C., 2006, Quantum Mechanics, New York: Wiley-Interscience.
    This is a comprehensive, encyclopedic text. It's not the best to learn from, but is a good reference book.
  • Gasiorowicz, S., 1995, Quantum Physics (3rd edition), New York: Wiley.
    This is a decent text, relatively well-written.
  • Griffiths, D., 1995, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (2nd edition), Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
    This is a standard undergraduate text for a first course in QM, and I would recommend it as a starting point for beginners. It is concise and very easy to read. There is an emphasis on conceptual development. Unfortunately, there are no worked examples in the book, and the answers to the problems are available only to instructors. It is easy to find and has recently been updated.
  • Liboff, R., 1998, Introductory Quantum Mechanics (4th edition), San Francisco: Addison-Wesley.
    This is a nicely designed book, relatively well-written. It is a good starting point for beginners, but not at comprehensive as Shankar.
  • Merzbacher, E., 1997, Quantum Mechanics (3rd edition), New York: Wiley.
    This is a standard graduate text in the US, not recommended for beginners, but quite good at an advanced level.
  • Sakurai, J.J., 1993, Modern Quantum Mechanics (revised edition), Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.
    This is generally used as a graduate text. It is well-written and there is emphasis on experimental phenomena and important questions like Bell's Inequality. The material is introduced at a higher level than Griffiths and Shankar, with lots of mathematics. There is a wealth of problems, but unfortunately few solutions are provided, making it most useful in a classroom setting or in conjunction with a book that contains worked examples and derivations.
  • Schwinger, J., 2003, Quantum Mechanics (corrected edition), Berlin: Springer.
    This book is extremely mathematical in emphasis. There is less emphasis on conceptual development, and it is best used after one has acquired a conceptual understanding of QM and wants to see the mathematical development. The approach is very revealing. It is a difficult text, in part because some of the formalism is abstract and unconventional, but it is well worth the effort to comprehend. The problems throughout are excellent, but again unfortunately, solutions are not included in the text.
  • Shankar, R., 1994, Principles of Quantum Mechanics (2nd edition), Berlin: Springer.
    This book is highly recommended as a starting point. It starts from ground zero, developing the mathematical tools needed to understand quantum mechanics. It is well written, and friendlier than Griffiths for students who are learning the subject on their own. QM is not introduced until page 115. 
The introductory chapter on linear algebra is very good. At 676 pages, it is comprehensive. It covers Feynman path integrals more thoroughly than other books, and contains solved problems. If you buy one book on QM, this is a good choice.
  • Zettili, N., 2009, Quantum Mechanics: Concepts and Applications, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    This is a very good book as well. It covers theory and problem solving in an integrated way. It is easy to follow and full of problems and solutions that are related to the experimental basis of the theory.

Useful General Texts in Mathematics and Physics

Whether studying quantum mechanics on one’s own, or in a classroom setting, it is useful to have these books on hand as accompaniments. Even a seasoned teacher will find himself from time to time reaching for them:

  • Benenson, W., J. Harris, H. Stoecker, , and H. Lutz, 2006, Handbook of Physics (2nd edition), Berlin: Springer. (Scholar)
  • Bronshtein, I.N., and K.A. Semendyayev, 2007, Handbook of Mathematics (5th edition), Berlin: Springer. (Scholar)
  • Halliday, D., R. Resnick, and J. Walker, 2008, Fundamentals of Physics (8th edition), Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. (Scholar)
  • Halmos, P., 1957, Introduction to Hilbert Space (2nd edition), Providence: AMS Chelsea Publishing. (Scholar)

Books on Philosophy of QM

Here are some general texts to introduce you to the philosophy of QM. More specialized readings can be found in the bibliographies in entries to follow.

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