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Lectures on Quantum Mechanics [Paperback]

Paul A. M. Dirac , Physics
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 22, 2001 0486417131 978-0486417134

The author of this concise, brilliant series of lectures on mathematical methods in quantum mechanics was one of the shining intellects in the field, winning a Nobel prize in 1933 for his pioneering work in the quantum mechanics of the atom. Beyond that, he developed the transformation theory of quantum mechanics (which made it possible to calculate the statistical distribution of certain variables), was one of the major authors of the quantum theory of radiation, codiscovered the Fermi-Dirac statistics, and predicted the existence of the positron.
The four lectures in this book were delivered at Yeshiva University, New York, in 1964. The first, "The Hamiltonian Method," is an introduction to visualizing quantum theory through the use of classical mechanics. The remaining lectures build on that idea. "The Problem of Quantization" shows how one can start with a classical field theory and end up with a quantum field theory. In "Quantization on Curved Surfaces," Dirac examines the possibility of building a relativistic quantum theory on curved surfaces. He deduces that it is not possible, but it should be possible on flat surfaces. In the final lecture, "Quantization on Flat Surfaces," he concludes that "we can set up the basic equations for a quantum theory of the Born-Infeld electrodynamics agreeing with special relativity, but [not] with general relativity." Physics and chemistry students will find this book an invaluable addition to their libraries, as will anyone intrigued by the far-reaching and influential ideas of quantum mechanics.


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Lectures on Quantum Mechanics + Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals: Emended Edition (Dover Books on Physics) + QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter (Princeton Science Library)
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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


Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Physics
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (March 22, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486417131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486417134
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,200 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Quantization with constraints- a very advanced text 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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61 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quantization 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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47 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has been surpassed September 26, 2003
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars a finest piece of deep thoughts from the master January 17, 2013
By Eva
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
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Clear Presentation 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! February 4, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was a great find and helped with a school project. My son liked it so much it's now part of his book collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Very Good May 12, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is amazing I sort of expected something written by Dirac, one of the father's of quantum mechanics, to be impenetrable but instead it was amazing. His deep understanding really shows and he makes the subject more understandable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars How-and-why to build [from classical] relativistic quantized field...
Dirac's slim work is very general ~ but also very concise and precise and therefore the physical mathematics strategy and methods as presented are so direct as to be ever-valid ~... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Kevin Kiersky
5.0 out of 5 stars Einstein number 2, because he was 19
The most elegant mathematical mind of the century, a must read together with "The strangest man". This is why technical and mathematical education is a must.
Published 7 months ago by Valente Souza
5.0 out of 5 stars I wonderful book from one of the leading physicist of the 20th century
Paul Dirac was one of the leading physicists of the first part of the 20th century
and one of the founders of the theory of quantum mechanics. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars book as they just said
I just wanted to give you starts to keep the good work. the book was as good as they just said.
Published 10 months ago by Walid Mohamed Ibrahim Hassan
3.0 out of 5 stars Dirac's Lectures on Quantum Mechanics
I found this book just OK. I bought it for the author's name. It will become a"coffee table" book. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Joseph B. Ennis
3.0 out of 5 stars More or less
The book was new. However, I imagined this book was about a quantum mechanics course, but It is a set of lectures or speeches given by Dirac.
Published 13 months ago by edward q.
5.0 out of 5 stars great math/physics - don't miss this
Great price for a very clear mathematical exposition of certain (narrow) physical ideas. I have no specific knowledge if this contains the most modern or accepted viewpoint.
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
This little book is a great , because it give you a student of how Dr.Paul Dirac would teach his student in lecture.
Published 17 months ago by Eddie Banuelos
4.0 out of 5 stars Title Says It All
Definitely a well written and informative text, heavy on the math.
The only thing that irritated me to know end is Dirac constantly uses the "royal" 'you' instead of... Read more
Published 18 months ago by cacodaemon
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