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Lectures on Quantum Mechanics Paperback – March 22, 2001

31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0486417134 ISBN-10: 0486417131

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The Physics of Pretty Mathematics
One of the founders of quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics, Paul A. M. Dirac shared the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics with Erwin Schrödinger, "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory."

In the Author's Own Words:
"A good deal of my research in physics has consisted in not setting out to solve some particular problem, but simply examining mathematical equations of a kind that physicists use and trying to fit them together in an interesting way, regardless of any application that the work may have. It is simply a search for pretty mathematics. It may turn out later to have an application. Then one has good luck."

"The mathematician plays a game in which he himself invents the rules while the physicist plays a game in which the rules are provided by nature, but as time goes on it becomes increasingly evident that the rules which the mathematician finds interesting are the same as those which nature has chosen." — Paul A. M. Dirac

Critical Acclaim for Lectures on Quantum Mechanics:
"Dirac's lovely little book represents a set of lectures Dirac gave in 1964 at Yeshiva University, at a time when the great master could take advantage of hindsight. The Dover edition didn't appear until 2001. The clarity of Dirac's presentation is truly compelling (no mystery at all!). Very little background is required on the part of the reader. Dirac begins with the Hamiltonian method, and then passes to quantization in terms of physics. The mathematics of quantization on curved (and flat) surfaces is clearly presented in the second part of the book." — Palle E.T. Jorgensen, author of Operators and Representation Theory: Canonical Models for Algebras of Operators Arising in Quantum Mechanics, which Dover reprinted in 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 87 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (March 22, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486417131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486417134
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By henrique fleming on December 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a very important book. In it Dirac reviews his modified Hamiltonian formalism, including constraints, so that systems which do not have a proper hamiltonian can be canonically quantized anyway. For Dirac sustains that one only knows how to quantize a system when it has a Hamiltonian. So, if the system doesn't have one, what is a guy to do? He teaches how to generalize the canonical formalism and construct an effective Hamiltonian which is sufficient to do the job. These ideas gave origin to a flow of papers dealing with the matter, and to several good books. Still, Dirac's original lectures are the best introduction, in my opinion. Not to be confused with the famous "Principles of Quantum Mechanics" , the great expository classic. This book I am reviewing is more of a research document.
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62 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Palle E T Jorgensen VINE VOICE on July 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
The concept of 'quantization' has acquired multiple meanings in mathematical physics, since the foundation of quantum mechanics in the 1920ties. I refer to the papers of Heisenberg, Schrodinger, and Dirac which made precise the variables: states, observables, probabilities, the uncertainty principle, dual variables, and the equations of motion. This was also when the wave-particle question received a more precise mathematical formulation, and resolution. Perhaps best known are the equation of Schrodinger, giving the dynamics of systems of quantum mechanical particles, and Dirac's equation for the electron. All three of the pioneers won the Nobel Prize at a young age;-- Schrodinger was a little older than the other two (Heisenberg and Dirac were both born in 1902.) In 1932, John von Neumann showed, surprisingly at the time, that Schrodinger's formulation is equivalent to Heisenbergs matrix mechanics, and von Neumann turned quantization into a field of mathematics. Von Neumann was a contemporary, but trained in mathemetics. His 1932 book "Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics" was reprinted by Princeton University Press in 1996. Occasionally the link to the foundations of physics have been missed: Reed and Simon quote Edward Nelson: "First quantization is a mystery, and second quantization is a functor." Dirac's lovely little book represents a set of lectures Dirac gave in 1964 at Yeshiva University, at a time when the great master could take advantage of hindsight. The Dover edition didn't appear until 2001. The clarity of Dirac's presentation is truely compelling (no mystery at all!). Very little background is required on the part of the reader. Dirac begins with the Hamilonian method, and then passes to quantization in terms of physics.Read more ›
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48 of 67 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
My three star review is no criticism of Dirac - after all, he is the pioneer of the theory of Hamiltonians with constraints and as such deserves all the credit that is due. However I would like to redirect you to Henneaux and Teitelboim's book on quantization of gauge systems since they have done much to clarify the mathematics behind the theory and I think give a better introduction to the field than Dirac's dated book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eva on January 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
a magnificent and original analysis of basic elements of physical nature,which has become classical and everlasting contribution for human-being's endless effort to understand the comprehensiveness of reality.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Edoardo Angeloni on June 24, 2011
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The famous author talks about the difference between Hamilton and Lagrange equations. That is a non-linear model, but with a certain approximation we can linearize it. That likes useful with the Brackets of Poisson. In this way the mathematical problem achieves a significative thecnics. When we transfer those conditions on a surface, it is very important to consider the flat case. Today because the string theory is hard to proof, we must return to the old physics of 70 years.
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Second semester Dynamics at the college level is required. Presumes knowledge of the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulation of dynamic systems. Working through the equations with the author reveals numerous places were transference of "equivalent models" occur that are often as much based upon the author's metaphysics as they are of physics. The Copenhagen crew were all highly versed in philosophy and it bleed readily into their guiding assumptions.
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"Lectures on Quantum Mechanics" by P A M Dirac is not a book to learn about quantum mechanics. This book is based on the four lectures given by Dirac at Yeshiva on some of the work he has done. Dirac is well known for being concise and precise in his writings, and this book is no exception.This is a welcome addition to anyone who is interested in quantum mechanics as it was being developed, by one of the pillars of the field.
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By Pegasus-rtf on March 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting topics and good presentation. The classic work by Dirac The Principles of Quantum Mechanics is certainly more thorough and is adequate for my purposes. Lectures gives you something to think about with some applications.
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