Book Recommendations?

For the discussion of the sciences. Physics problems, chemistry equations, biology weirdness, it all goes here.

Moderators: gmalivuk, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
EnderSword
Posts: 1060
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:11 pm UTC

Book Recommendations?

Postby EnderSword » Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:29 pm UTC

Someone (I believe Setzer777) recommended 'Searching for Schroedinger's Cat' to me as a good starting point for Quantum Physics reading.
I've gone through that and found it really interesting, and have always found physics in general cool, but only took it academically up to Honours physics in High School.

I was wondering if there was any good book or books I could read possibly explaining more of the math or notation side of things involved so I can get caught up a bit in the actual academics side instead of just the basic concepts.
Any recommendations for something along those lines? Interested in both the relativitistic and quantum side of things, not exclusively quantum.
WWSD?*
*what would Sheldon do?

User avatar
cpt
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:02 am UTC
Location: Boston/Cambridge

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby cpt » Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:44 pm UTC

Sounds to me that what you're looking for is any first year modern physics (university) text.

User avatar
EnderSword
Posts: 1060
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:11 pm UTC

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby EnderSword » Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:55 pm UTC

I suppose that might be exactly what I'm looking for, was hoping to find something that's at least good at explaining what I should be learning, almost more conversational or instructive in tone, since I obviously won't have a professor to go along with it.
WWSD?*
*what would Sheldon do?

User avatar
cpt
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:02 am UTC
Location: Boston/Cambridge

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby cpt » Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:38 am UTC

I used Introduction to the Structure of Matter, by Brehm and Mullins. I can't compare it to anything else, because it did a good job teaching me the first time through, so that's a pro I guess. Also, I didn't listen to a prof much, so it might be up your alley.

User avatar
antonfire
Posts: 1772
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:31 pm UTC

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby antonfire » Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:47 am UTC

I used Giffiths's Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, which I liked quite a bit. Griffiths has a pretty informal tone, and the book is quite readable overall. I can't really compare it to anything else either, though.
Jerry Bona wrote:The Axiom of Choice is obviously true; the Well Ordering Principle is obviously false; and who can tell about Zorn's Lemma?

User avatar
cpt
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:02 am UTC
Location: Boston/Cambridge

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby cpt » Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:48 pm UTC

I like Griffiths as well (from other subjects). In fact, I think it's just the tone that OP was looking for.

User avatar
EnderSword
Posts: 1060
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:11 pm UTC

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby EnderSword » Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:51 pm UTC

Looks good, It even has a kitty on the cover!

Hopefully can find a used copy somewhere since it's Textbook priced :)
WWSD?*
*what would Sheldon do?

User avatar
doogly
Dr. The Juggernaut of Touching Himself
Posts: 5532
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:31 am UTC
Location: Lexington, MA
Contact:

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby doogly » Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:07 pm UTC

Davies' quantum mechanics book is also really good for a first one, but I'd say with either of these if you don't have into college level physics you will need some.
LE4dGOLEM: What's a Doug?
Noc: A larval Doogly. They grow the tail and stinger upon reaching adulthood.

Keep waggling your butt brows Brothers.
Or; Is that your eye butthairs?

gnunesjr
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:27 pm UTC

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby gnunesjr » Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:51 pm UTC

Eisberg and Resnick, "Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei, and Particles".

User avatar
EnderSword
Posts: 1060
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:11 pm UTC

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby EnderSword » Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:12 pm UTC

but I'd say with either of these if you don't have into college level physics you will need some


Will any of these make sense with only a High School level of it, or should I be reading something else first?
I'm really only as far on the math or academic side as grade 12 honours would take me.
I understand concepts beyond that, but wouldn't have the actual academic backing to it.
WWSD?*
*what would Sheldon do?

User avatar
doogly
Dr. The Juggernaut of Touching Himself
Posts: 5532
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:31 am UTC
Location: Lexington, MA
Contact:

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby doogly » Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:25 pm UTC

Eisberg & Resnick is also really good. It is full of physics!

You may be best off starting with mechanics and e&m, particularly since any book aimed at a student will assume these courses have been taken. Getting up to a diff eq level in math, maybe some linear alg, also quite helpful. But this can be a question of personal style. You might rather pick up all the books and just backtrack when you hit something in the qm book you don't understand, rather than progressing slowly and carefully. Your study of 'boring stuff' is thereby better motivated. This is not at all something that works for me, but ymmv.
LE4dGOLEM: What's a Doug?
Noc: A larval Doogly. They grow the tail and stinger upon reaching adulthood.

Keep waggling your butt brows Brothers.
Or; Is that your eye butthairs?

User avatar
cpt
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:02 am UTC
Location: Boston/Cambridge

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby cpt » Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:43 pm UTC

doogly wrote:You may be best off starting with mechanics and e&m, particularly since any book aimed at a student will assume these courses have been taken. Getting up to a diff eq level in math, maybe some linear alg, also quite helpful. But this can be a question of personal style. You might rather pick up all the books and just backtrack when you hit something in the qm book you don't understand, rather than progressing slowly and carefully. Your study of 'boring stuff' is thereby better motivated. This is not at all something that works for me, but ymmv.



word

opsomath
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 1:58 pm UTC

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby opsomath » Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:13 pm UTC

Once you can handle matrices, run, do not walk to buy Sakurai's Modern Quantum Mechanics. It is a relatively advanced text, but the maths are essentially "college calculus plus linear algebra." And it is a beautiful, first-principles development of the subject without skipping over important stuff.

Also available in paperback. But you shouldn't buy the developing-country version for $30 on half. com unless you're from a developing country, of course. :wink:

User avatar
doogly
Dr. The Juggernaut of Touching Himself
Posts: 5532
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:31 am UTC
Location: Lexington, MA
Contact:

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby doogly » Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:24 am UTC

I would anti-recommend Sakurai's book for a first QM book.
Also, the second half of it sucks. This is totally not his fault though; he was dead at the time. Writing even a shitty book while dead is an achievement. The first half is indeed great, but not for a first look at those things.
LE4dGOLEM: What's a Doug?
Noc: A larval Doogly. They grow the tail and stinger upon reaching adulthood.

Keep waggling your butt brows Brothers.
Or; Is that your eye butthairs?

User avatar
RogerMurdock
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:35 pm UTC

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby RogerMurdock » Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:42 am UTC

I'm going to a be a senior in High School next year and I was looking to pick up the Griffiths Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, but I don't want to get it if I'm not going to be able to understand most of it without serious background study. I've taken Calculus AB, and the basics physics course offered by my high school (taking Calc BC and AP Physics this year...). I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of these concepts and have done a lot of reading about Quantum Mechanics and understand the basic concepts of that as well (just not from an academic perspective, like the OP said).

So would you recommend this book based on my background?

User avatar
Lancashire McGee
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:13 pm UTC

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby Lancashire McGee » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:57 pm UTC

As a general recommendation, I suggest anything written by Richard Feynman on the subjects of Relativity or Quantum Physics. In particular, QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, and his recorded lectures on Relativity are some of his most illuminating works.

User avatar
antonfire
Posts: 1772
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:31 pm UTC

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby antonfire » Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:02 pm UTC

RogerMurdock, unless you're in a terrible hurry, I would recommend learning more classical mechanics (Lagrangians, Hamiltonians, principle of least action, Noether's theorem, etc.) first. Also, some linear algebra. However, you can start with Griffiths and work your way backwards to learn what you need, if that sort of thing works for you.
Jerry Bona wrote:The Axiom of Choice is obviously true; the Well Ordering Principle is obviously false; and who can tell about Zorn's Lemma?

User avatar
RogerMurdock
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:35 pm UTC

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby RogerMurdock » Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:50 pm UTC

What books would you recommend for those subjects? With a tone similar to Griffiths preferably.

User avatar
doogly
Dr. The Juggernaut of Touching Himself
Posts: 5532
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:31 am UTC
Location: Lexington, MA
Contact:

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby doogly » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:31 pm UTC

Usually the advanced hs e&m is done a notch simpler than is best to be satisfied with. I'd go maybe give Purcell's E&M a look, I really enjoyed that one. It does have a nice explainy tone.
LE4dGOLEM: What's a Doug?
Noc: A larval Doogly. They grow the tail and stinger upon reaching adulthood.

Keep waggling your butt brows Brothers.
Or; Is that your eye butthairs?

rflrob
Posts: 235
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:45 pm UTC
Location: Berkeley, CA, USA, Terra, Sol
Contact:

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby rflrob » Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:49 pm UTC

doogly wrote:Getting up to a diff eq level in math, maybe some linear alg, also quite helpful. But this can be a question of personal style. You might rather pick up all the books and just backtrack when you hit something in the qm book you don't understand, rather than progressing slowly and carefully. Your study of 'boring stuff' is thereby better motivated. This is not at all something that works for me, but ymmv.


I would highly recommend learning linear algebra first. Quantum Mechanics can sometimes be done without it, but will generally suck. Linear Algebra (and especially things like eigenvalues, infinite dimensional function spaces, etc) is really the core of the math in quantum mechanics, with calculus rolled in (often to make sure things come out to 1 when they should). I was taught out of Strang's Linear Algebra and Its Applications, but I also didn't a) read the book much, b) go to lectures that much, or c) really grok the core ideas of linear algebra (until I'd had some really good physics classes). It's unclear to me how much those facts are related, and which way the causation flows (but I was doing reasonably well on the problem sets) :wink: . If I had to sum up the core idea of linear algebra, I'd go with something like "lots of things can be thought of as a simple ('linear') sum of fundamentally different 'vectors', and if you have the original thing, you can figure out what the important vectors are". These "vectors" can be directions, like "up" "north" "east", or functions, like "cos(0x)" "cos(x)" "cos(2x)" "cos(3x)" "...". I suspect I'm explaining it poorly (trying to compress 496 pages into a few sentences is bound to fail), but to really get it, I needed to do some examples where you just can't do the regular old algebra any more. I got my first of those in a sophomore level classical mechanics class, but a semester of intro QM really drilled it into me.

The diffs between regular calculus that you probably learned in AP Calc and what you need to do QM (assuming you're okay with looking up some complex integrals) are:
* "i" (the square root of -1) is a plain old number. Differentiating with respect to it doesn't make sense in much the same sense that d/d3 f(x) doesn't make sense. On the other hand, d/dx (i x) = i, etc.
* [imath]e^{i * \theta}[/imath], as you vary theta, describes a circle in the complex plane. This won't matter too terribly much, since everything you can measure will be real-valued (i.e. will have either [imath]e^0 = 1[/imath] or e^{i * \pi} = -1 in it.
It does take some creativity to actually apply these facts at the right time, and consistently, but I didnt' find it too conceptually difficult.
Ten is approximately infinity (It's very large)
Ten is approximately zero (It's very small)

User avatar
RogerMurdock
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:35 pm UTC

Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby RogerMurdock » Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:16 pm UTC

Alright, you guys have thoroughly convinced me that I need to learn some more math/physics before I attempt to introduce myself to Quantum Mechanics, but I'm up for the challenge. This is the book the previous poster recommended as an intro to E&M: http://www.amazon.com/Electricity-Magnetism-Vol-Edward-Purcell/dp/0070049084/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1249924046&sr=8-1. However, the comments mention that very few solutions are given and there is no published solutions guide, which I'm pretty sure would be a major problem while working it alone. Does anyone have any recommendations or know where I could find online solutions?

I have virtually no knowledge of linear algebra except...you know...linear equations and basic stuff I learned years ago. I don't know anything about what you were attempting to describe. What is a good place to start with this subject as far as books?


Return to “Science”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests