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Modern Quantum Mechanics (2nd Edition) Hardcover – July 14, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0805382914 ISBN-10: 0805382917 Edition: 2nd
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

This best-selling classic provides a graduate-level, non-historical, modern introduction of quantum mechanical concepts. The author, J. J. Sakurai, was a renowned theorist in particle theory. This revision by Jim Napolitano retains the original material and adds topics that extend the book's usefulness into the 21st century. The introduction of new material, and modification of existing material, appears in a way that better prepares readers for the next course in quantum field theory. Readerse will still find such classic developments as neutron interferometer experiments, Feynman path integrals, correlation measurements, and Bell's inequality. The style and treatment of topics is now more consistent across chapters. TheSecond Editionhas been updated for currency and consistency across all topics and has been checked for the right amount of mathematical rigor. Fundamental Concepts, Quantum Dynamics,  Theory of Angular Momentum, Symmetry in Quantum Mechanics,  Approximation Methods, Scattering Theory, Identical Particles, Relativistic Quantum Mechanics, Appendices, Brief Summary of Elementary Solutions to Shr¨odinger's Wave Eqation.Intended for those interested in gaining a basic knowledge of quantum mechanics

About the Author

The late J.J. Sakurai, noted theorist in particle physics, was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1933. He received his B.A. from Harvard University in 1955 and his PhD from Cornell University in 1958. He was appointed as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago, where he worked until he became a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1970. Sakurai died in 1982 while he was visiting a professor at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

Jim Napolitano earned an undergraduate Physics degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1977, and a PhD in Physics from Stanford University in 1982. Since that time, he has conducted research in experimental nuclear and particle physics, with an emphasis on studying fundamental interactions and symmetries. He joined the faculty at Rensselaer in 1992 after working as a member of the scientific staff at two different national laboratories. He is author and co-author of over 150 scientific papers in refereed journals.


Professor Napolitano maintains a keen interest in science education in general, and in particular physics education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has published a textbook, co-authored with Adrian Melissinos, on Experiments in Modern Physics. Prior to his work on Modern Quantum Mechanics ,Second Edition, he has taught both graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses in Quantum Mechanics, as well as an advanced graduate course in Quantum Field Theory.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 550 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley; 2 edition (July 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805382917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805382914
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Russell J. Barry on October 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sakurai's book is not an introductory text. If you have covered Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by David J. Griffiths this book should not be a problem. Sakurai's book is really a refinement on Griffiths book. Sakaurai goes heavy into the use of Dirac notation. The basic difference between the two books is that Sakurai goes into the detail of QM. When you are finished with Sakurai's book you will understand where things came from up to the point where it takes Quantum Field Theory to understand things. For example in QM the Pauli exclusion principle is given as a rule, in QFT it is proven.

Sakurai starts out showing you how to think of the measurement problem with the use of spin. This is a great way to do this because he uses spin of one half and it has only two states. He uses this to get you into what he calls the "Quantum way of thinking". When people ask me what is wrong with QM I use this example to explain it to them. You do not know the state of system until a measurement is made, also called the collapse of the wave function. He not only teaching the math but also the general ideas behind QM.

He shows how Schroedinger's equation comes about. By doing this he is teaching you how to use Dirac notation. In quantum field theory it is assumed that you know <x|p> = exp(ipx/h). A simple example but with completeness this is used to get path integrals. Sakurai assumes you know about the Hydrogen Atom, which any undergrad text covers such as Griffiths. Sakurai has been critized for not covering the Hydrogen Atom, when it is covered in Griffiths Introduction to QM book and covered very completely.

In his angular momentum section he does rotations using the SO(3) and SU(2) group. This is where the book becomes more mature.
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49 of 57 people found the following review helpful By john lollard on July 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Apparently, this book was published posthumously, patched together from Sakurai's notes after his demise. You can tell. Also apparently, this book exists and is so popular more as a tribute to Sakurai's memory than for any other reason. I waited until a year after taking a course using this book as its text, to make sure I was sufficiently calmed down. This is a terrible textbook. t is not a terrible textbook in the way a student might complain about Jackson. This book is poorly arranged and much of the material is poorly explained, if it's explained at all.

You will notice that every five-star reviewer, after what a superb and elegant book this is, go on to tell you that you need to supplement it. That is because this book is not sufficient to properly cover all of the material of graduate-level quantum mechanics. This book does not contain all - or even most - of the mathematical and physical material that a student of physics would need access to in order to master quantum mechanics. Viz, it is not a good textbook.

My professor also felt it necessary to supplement this book. Which basically meant that he used two much better and stronger and *cheaper* texts - the Dover reprints of Messiah and Byron and Fuller - writing up his own summaries of functional analysis and symmetry operators and everything in between enough while keeping the terrible notation of Sakurai. If you want to do that much work, then instead assign the texts you are going to reference - it isn't like Sakurai is the Jackson of QM. If you don't want to do that much work, then instead assign a different book, otherwise your students will not learn these crucial concepts.

Take for example the first chapter. This is often praised as a particularly brilliant piece of pedagogy.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By S. Melmoth on September 6, 2010
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I first learnt QM (or wave mechanics) from Griffith's text, and it made an excellent introduction. But I noticed when rereading Griffith's book to get an overview and to get a more abstract sense of how QM worked, it felt both slightly sloppy (a by-effect of the author's lovable informality, no doubt) and chaotic.

This is where Sakurai's text comes in. I've used the most recent edition of Modern Quantum Mechanics and I'm absolutely loving it. It starts off with a brief experiment, and shows how QM has to be invoked to describe the observations. From there, the book has postulates, axioms, and theorems all following neatly. But the text has also some very nice, thoroughly physical examples of how the theory is applied. The book also goes beyond the basics by for example introducing group theory for generators of rotation groups, and discusses the time-reversal operator (for T-symmetry).

Make no mistake, however: Sakurai assumes the reader knows some basics of wave mechanics, and lets you know it right away. This is not a book for a first course in QM (for which I warmly recommend Griffith's Introduction to Quantum Mechanics). But the mathematical rigor and crystal clear outline makes it an ideal text for a second or third course.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Adoniram on December 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Simply useless to learn from. This book is full of unnecessary lingo like "obviously... clearly... easily obtained... the proof is trivial..." There are seldom few proofs, and the ones that are included are usually math proofs that you've likely covered in other courses (i.e. Reimann Zeta functions, Hermite polynomials, etc). Why would a QM book skip the proof for the physics, but show you detailed work in math proofs? Because this book isn't about physics. It was an incomplete book left unfinished by a man who died too early. His friends picked up the work and filled out the parts they didn't understand with things like "easy... trivial... " etc.

As a result, this book is utter garbage as a learning tool. Others (i.e. Cohen et al) are much, much more thorough. This book simply blasts through the physics to get to the next topic. If you have a poor instructor teaching you grad QM with this book, God help you.

If you are trying to LEARN grad QM for the first time, don't bother with this book. Get Cohen or some other book. This one is severely lacking in fundamental material for a learning tool. It's quite honestly the worst textbook I've ever read.
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