Monday, April 06, 2009

Books for QM?

Hi there, my name is Alvin. I'm a 17 year old student from Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia. I have a great deal of interest in physics especially concerning Quantum Mechanics. I had been reading many physics books like Richard Feynman's the character of physical law, Fabric Of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, A brief history of time and so on. But I can only dream about all this without knowing all of the stuffs like QM and Relativity. So I would want to take the initiative to learn. I would like to ask if you have any suggestions of textbooks on the most basic and fundamentals of QM ? And afterwards the kind of books proceding from that ? And also what are the preparation on the knowledge that I must have before learning QM ? Something like Pre-QM. (form 5 work ?)

Thank you.

Here I believe the three books in this website are useful. After you finished them off, you'll be as knowledgable in QM as most physics undergrad in their 4th year. Well to tell the truth, you'll find them boring and totally unrelated to what you read on those popular books. The maths will be unfamilar to you and hard too unless you learn linear algebra.

And for your Pre-QM stuffs, I would recommend "30 years that shook physics" by George Gamov as a begining popular text (since you're fond of them) to get you familar with the history of QM. Then I can only say, read form 6 text book, the part that you'll know is important from your QM history background. Then read a University Physics Textbook. These kind of text books are thick and only usable for 1st years. However, to save some money, don't buy the thick University textbook, go for modern physics, the front few pages describes relativity and the rest are QM and it's implications.

So now I have provided some guidelines and key words. To show your initiative to learn, it's up to you to be resourceful enough to google them and find those books. And I think there are ebooks too, so try looking for the free books online before spending most of your savings buying a book.

And don't give up too soon if you find that you're stuck. Go slower and give yourself time to learn. Hope to see you in this field in the future. Meanwhile keep me posted if you got any difficulty.

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