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Quantum Mechanics: Concepts and Applications
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2010
I am a graduate student of materials science and engineering and used this book as textbook in an undergraduate QM course last semester. My comments next go first to its content level and readability, followed by a summary of its key contents and end with its strengths and weaknesses comparing to other QM books I have read.

This book is an intermediate level treatise aimed at audiences of undergraduates of physics and astronomy and graduate students of non-physics majors (e.g., chemistry and engineering), with a prerequisite of at least university general physics, linear algebra and differential equation. Some topics in it require advanced knowledge of classical mechanics and classical electrodynamics, for example wave packet and Zeeman effect, but one can easily pick them up through self-study of relevant chapters in classical undergraduate physics textbooks like the Berkeley Physics Course Series and the MIT Introductory Physics Series. Except the above, the book is self-contained and very easy to read, even for me!

It starts with experiments that historically invalidated classical mechanics in the microscopic world and presents key concepts which differentiates quantum mechanics from its classical counterpart (chapter 1), proceeds with fundamental postulates that the whole quantum formalism is based on and develops it with Dirac notation (chapter 2 and 3). These fundamentals are applied in one dimensional problems of potential step, barrier, well and harmonic oscillator (chapter 4), and further extends to three dimensional in both Cartesian and spherical coordinates, especially, the hydrogen atom QM model is developed and solved exactly(chapter 6). Chapter 5 and 7 treat angular momentum and its addition separately. All these applications are essentially for the single particle case, which is followed by quantum statistics for many identical particles in chapter 8. Since only harmonic oscillator model can be solved exactly, approximation methods are introduced in chapter 9 and 10 with emphasis on time independent and time independent perturbation theory. The whole book ends with the advanced topic of quantum mechanical description of scattering.

As mentioned in my comment title, the major strength of the book is that it has many worked examples. Besides, it is self-contained and very easy to read. The contents are just right, neither too redundant, nor does it skip major derivation steps that affect the ease of reading. I would definitely recommend it to everyone that needs a more or less rigorous introduction to QM!

With all the above being said, I want to point out several problems I had using it. Note my point is totally from a non-physics majored engineering grad. First, the book could treat the connection between quantum mechanics (QM) and classical mechanics (QM) better. I mean the author could mention how the Lagrangian and the Hamiltonian formalisms could be applied to both mechanics and their only difference is that CM assumes the fundamental elements of matter is particle while QM assumes it is wave (called matter wave) subject to uncertainty principle and the macroscopic particle-like behavior is only a statistical result. Both the physical concept and the mathematical theory could be brought more clear if the author specifically make the conceptual and theoretical transition from classica mechanics to quantum mechanics more natural. Unfortunately, this book and many other elemental QM books tender to develop this part in an ambiguous tone, and students often go ahead with an impression that QM is mysterious with odd internal logic--it is definitely not! Also, it would be nice to introduce some of the most exiting real world applications of QM like quantum computing. Right now, the contents are pretty much all quite traditional and well established like harmonic oscillator and hydrogen atom; adding some latest examples would make QM more exiting. For this I recommend Harrison's Applied Quantum Mechanics. Last, it is not the author's fault by the publisher's--the binding is really flimsy, as was also mentioned by other reviewers. My experience was that it didn't even last for a whole semester before it physically broke into two parts from the middle... Mine is a paper back one BTW.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2012
"Not being able to make calculations, you miss the whole power of the theory" (freely quoted) is the statement in the foreword of this book. And this is the concept of it. You won't find long texts about the interpretations of Quantum Mechanics and maybe you will also miss the elegant, but difficult, concepts presented in the books of for instance Lifshitz/Landau. But you will find

a) A systematic scheme. You will learn about the origins, about the Mathematical Framework and then you go deeper and deeper in the Concepts of nonrelativistic Quantum Mechanics, including time-dependent perturbation theory and scattering theory. Zettili explains all in a very clear way.

b) Problems. A lot of problems. Those problems are the best thing in the book. They challenge you mind and they are good for a deep understanding of the subject. For around 1/5 of the problems (10-15 per chapter) there are also very good and clear solutions, something that is missing in most of the books I have seen so far.

I absolutely recommend this book to every beginning student in Quantum Mechanics, but also higher level student will benefit - you will find that you have often misses key points in the concept of QM and you will learn a lot of ways to tackle problems.
But I should also point out some disadvantages that you should be aware of

1.: It is a problem-solving book, I know. Nevertheless, a short introduction in the difficulties of interpretation should be in a QM textbook - just to make it clear, that there are conceptual problems in understanding.
2.: Most important: The mistakes. Maybe it is simply because this time I was really able to understand what the book is telling me - but somehow I have the impression, that there are more mistakes than usual. Not really much - but somehow, If you absolutely don't understand what the author is talking about, maybe the problem is the book, not you.
3.: Though in most of the cases the book is very clear, the chapter "Rotations and Addition of Quantum Mechanics" is difficult to read. It is a very technical chapter, yes, but nevertheless I think the author should have put really an effort in this to make it clearer
4.: The chapters of Many-Particles-Theory and Scattering Theory are quite short

5.: Not really a disadvantage, because it is outside the intended range of the books - but I really hope, the author will make also a book about relativistic QM.

It now may look like there are a lot of disadvantages - but don't fear it. In general, you won't notice them and it shouldn't stop you from buying the book - actually it is more like recommendation for the author.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2012
I just used this text for the first time while teaching an undergraduate course in QM. It is now my favorite QM book and I plan to use it from now on.

The main attraction for me was the large number of worked examples and the practical leanings of many of the calculations. In both of these traits it is better than Griffiths' text, which is what I had used most recently. However, I soon became a fan of the text style as well: Zetilli is very readable and straightforward in his presentation and covers all of the necessary historical and mathematical background (which may be shortened or skipped if the class has the math skills already). While there were some typos, most should be caught by the instructor (or perhaps a sharp student!).

Other books I have used simply jump right into the Schrodinger equation or relegate some of the important calculations to the homework with no comparable examples in the text. This can work if the instructor is willing to go "off-book" frequently to fill in the gaps but can be frustrating to a student working on his or her own. Each chapter has numerous "examples" in the text, with end-of-chapter "problems" (with complete solutions) and "exercises" (unsolved, though there is an instructor's solutions manual). This makes it much easier for students to find a model for the type of problem they are learning how to solve. In fact, I often listed helpful "problems" every time I assigned "exercises," which my students greatly appreciated.

I strongly feel that one skill that faculty should cultivate in their students is the ability to read - really read - a text book on their own and learn from it. For an undergraduate course this is a self-contained book that will serve as a valuable reference for self-study. It is very readable and I expect that the students will be happy to have it nearby when they take QM in grad school.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2013
I assigned this text for my Introduction to Quantum Mechanics class after researching several other similar books. I specifically wanted to avoid using the very popular text by Griffiths because although it is very good, I have always found it unsuited to students who have had little or no exposure to the core concepts of quantum mechanics. After examining several texts and getting feedback from my students, I decided to use this book.

I found Zettili's book to be superior to other introductory texts on quantum mechanics for several reasons:
1. It offers a plethora of solved example problems in each chapter,
2. It explains core concepts clearly and presents the material in a way so as to be accessible to students who have hot taken a rigorous quantum class before,
3. There are plenty of very good end-of-chapter problems which relate directly to the material taught in the chapter, and
4. The text is available in paperback at a relatively inexpensive price.

When the semester was over, I polled my students about whether or not I should change the book I use and they agreed that this text was quite good (and better than the other books they looked to for additional references) and recommended that I continue assigning it. That may be the most spectacularly positive review I've ever heard my students give to a quantum mechanics text!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2011
I am an undergraduate senior and was having trouble with QM, and was thinking of giving up QM, but I found this book and I went from being confused and totally lost in QM to being able to even read farther topics like Scattering theory. For example the book written by David Griffiths is very well written too, but it doesn't provide you answers to the question, it isn't rigorous and it doesn't provide as much information as you need for self-study, but this book does have answers to solved problems, it is rigorous and it provides enough information for self study that it feels easy to understand the subject itself. If you have an instructor David Griffiths would be as good, but if it is self study, this book is definitely better!
Also this book doesn't only explain about the subjects but have many examples, solved problems and exercises that you would never get lost as long as you keep doing them!
I personally think this book covers more than enough topics in QM that you can go to the next step like Quantum Field Theory afterward. So if you get lost in QM but need it, this book is your best shot!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2012
The required text in my undergraduate quantum mechanics class was the book by Gasiorowicz. I found the book lacking pedagogically, and bought Zettili to supplement the required text. My experience with Zettili was such that I now urge anyone taking an undergraduate course in quantum mechanics and struggling at all to buy the book.

The book does not assume any previous knowledge of quantum mechanics and is therefore self-contained in that respect. However, to anyone considering buying it for self-study, I must warn you that it comes with some prerequisites. You should be pretty comfortable with introductory level calculus-based mechanics and E&M,. Mathematically, you should know basic linear algebra and partial differential equations. You should be familiar with using and manipulating complex exponentials. Also some knowledge of special functions may be helpful, but is not necessary. If you meet these prerequisites then this book will provide you with a solid foundation in quantum mechanics, and after reading it you will be prepared for the more advanced graduate level books.

The book begins by putting quantum mechanics into historical perspective and shows you how to deal with wave-packets(Chapter 1). Chapter 2 presents the mathematical background necessary for quantum mechanics, such as an introduction to the Hilbert space, wave-vectors, operators, and Dirac notation. Chapter 3 presents the basic postulates of quantum mechanics and the Schrodinger equation. In chapter 4 you learn to apply the Schrodinger equation in various bases to one-dimensional problems. Chapters 5-7 deal with angular momentum, the hydrogen atom, and other simple three-dimensional problems. Chapter 8 is dedicated to identical particles, 9 to approximation methods such as the variational method or the WKB method, chapter 10 to time-dependent perturbation theory, and chapter 11 to scattering theory.

There are more topics in the book than that can reasonably be covered in a single semester, and we did not cover any material in chapter 8, 10 or 11 in my class so I can't speak for the quality of those. However, the rest of the book is phenomenal. The author has a gift for taking a complex subject and making it accessible to those without any previous exposure to the material. Most of the tedious, and non-intuitive mathematical derivations required to understand the concepts in the book are worked out in all of their gory details. Nowhere in the book did I feel I was lost because the book is so well self-contained. However, where the book really shines is in its numerous worked examples. Each chapter has 10-20 worked examples which is where you can really learn how to "do" quantum mechanics, and move beyond a mere conceptual understanding. Furthermore, each chapter has about a similar number of exercises left for the reader. Solving these can be difficult, but it is rewarding when you get it. These problems serve a didactic purpose, however they are typically not necessary in order to move forward in the book.

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that I think this is the best introductory book in quantum mechanics out there. It is self-contained, and contains a wealth of material. The best thing about this book that I believe sets it apart from the rest is the numerous worked examples, which are invaluable in learning the subject. If you are taking a course that requires this book, consider yourself lucky, otherwise by this book as a supplement anyway.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2011
This book starts with the historical development of quantum mechanics and discusses the wave-particle duality exhaustively.Then the mathematical foundations which are necessary for the development of quantum mechanics are introduced.There then follow the postulates which are based on experiments and without which the further development of the theory would not be possible. Applications are then made to one and three dimensional problems,the quantum mechanics of angular momentum, properties of identical particles, approximation methods in quantum mechanics (perturbation theory) and scattering theory. The book concludes with an appendix on the Dirac delta function which is found useful in physics, the special case of angular momentum in spherical coordinates and the C++ code for the numerial solution of the Schroedinger equation. At the end of every chapter there are a selection of worked problems which greatly enhance the understanding of the subject
I really like the book and strongly recomment it to beginning undergraduates as well as advanced students who want get a grasp of the subject very well.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2013
This is an advanced undergraduate text with a nice gentle introduction to standard material on beginning quantum mechanics. The first few chapters (1-4) are pedagogically sound though chapter 3 is bit incomplete since it does not fully unravel the connection between classical and quantum mechanics. Poisson brackets could have been more elaborately presented. Each chapter is followed by a fairly large collection of solved problems. Most of these problems serve as useful study guide for tests and routine homework assignments. Chapter 5 on angular momentum is standard material but is little bereft of physical insight. Sakurai's treatment of angular momentum in his introductory QM book is perhaps one of the best I have studied. Chapter 7 on addition of angular momenta including the all-important Clebsch-Gordon coefficients and Wigner-Eckardt theorem is revealed as mathematical constructs with little connection to the physical world. Isospin is the only cited example for C-G coefficients. As the book moves forward, physical explanations take a distinct back seat. Mathematical details get precedence and this is specially true in the chapter about scattering. In all fairness though, the worked examples in the scattering chapter are of a good quality. They helped me understand the subject of quantum scattering and solve test/homework questions. One topic that you will learn rigorously is the Hydrogen atom and its related radial and angular wave functions. The hydrogen atom and the symmetry and parity of its wave functions is the subject of several interesting solved problems in the sections on time-independent and time-dependent perturbation theory and also to some parts of scattering theory.

Some topics, of considerable importance in theoretical physics research including Berry phase, time reversal symmetry, Green's function, propagators etc are either perfunctorily treated or completely left out. The author discusses about the adiabatic theorem (see QM by David Griffiths for a more lucid introduction) but leaves out Berry phase. Green's function is similarly introduced in the scattering chapter with hardly anything about the need to seek solutions to the Helmholtz equation with an impulsive forcing function. A few extra words about contour integration in this connection will also help.

Overall a very readable book (the first half is distinctly better) but some parts can be rewritten to offer more insight. More chapters on items of current interest that can be treated under a graduate QM framework must be included (i.e, if a third edition of the book comes out, I hope it does!). Reading this book in conjunction with David Griffiths, A.S. Davydov, Greiner will definitely help. This is from personal experience though. I do not expect everyone to concur. This book deserves a 4.5.

One last thing: Horrible binding, constant use will split the spine!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2014
Good and reasonably priced book to learn QM from on your own. Nothing fancy and no thrilling unusual insights, just standard Quantum Mechanics presented in a systematic, structured manner. You need the discipline to go systematically through it and do the problems, it's not intended just for reading through. After wearing out a few pens and filled more than a few legal pads with calculations you will be well prepared for advanced graduate-level courses. Like with any serious QM text, you should be familiar already with basic sophomore level math like differential equations and linear algebra before diving in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2014
A little bit of background here. I used Griffiths for two semester worth of undergraduate physics quantum course. I bought this book during my first semester as a supplement. I used Shankar for first semester of graduate physics quantum course.

When I was undergrad, this book, for most part felt too advanced. I doubted a junior/senior student can get much out of this book. More importantly, it conflicts with the outline of Griffiths. Griffiths never introduces postulates of quantum mechanics. Griffiths is in a way very informal. You see ladder operators before you are even aware of braket notation. Point i'm trying to make is, this book doesn't complement Griffiths well. Now it is worth mentioning that every QM book covers the same topics so needless to say you'll see the same HO, potential well, etc problems in both books and it'll be most helpful to have an extra source of reference.

So what does this book complement well? Shankar. The topics covered in these two books are very similar. The way authors introduce QM (history - math - postulates - 1D problems - 3D problems, etc) is very similar. However, in comparison to Shankar this Zettili's QM isn't difficult at all. I would even go as far to say that Zettili's QM is too easy for graduate level.

What am i saying? I'm telling you that this book is little bit too advanced for undergraduates and little too weak for graduates. It lies right in between. However, if by some miracle, instructor/students were able to make it work at undergraduate level then they're guaranteed to have a breeze at graduate level QM (Shankar is typically used at graduate level).

The strength of this book lies in it's clear cut presentation. Griffiths as I mentioned before is sometimes too informal. He attempts to teach QM without postulates and holds onto Mathematics needed for QM for too long. Shanker reads like a textbook but flatout lacks the fancy nature of Zettili who highlights, brackets, boxes, bolds, increases font sizes, etc to organize things better. Furthermore, finding a problem in Shanker is pain in the butt - they are just thrown inside a chapter as in there are no end of chapter problems. Zettili, not only gives you SOLVED examples (don't get spoiled by this as no book does this at graduate level), but he also gives you SOLVED end of chapter problems AND unsolved end of chapter practice problem. This is amazing. I found myself making reference to this book quite often to solve some problems in Shanker. Now, I'll also mention that Griffith has solution manual and it is rather easy to find so you're never really in lack of solved problems if you need them for practice.
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