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7 Reviews
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Detailed Mathematics, Everything Derived for You
As a student of Dr. Desai's, I've had first-hand experience with working through this textbook, in the context of the author's own lectures. This book is extremely good for working through derivations of various quantum mechanics concepts, and mathematically, is quite rigorous. I think this book would be most useful for the graduate student theorist, who is perhaps not as...
Published on February 9, 2010 by M. Beaumier

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars My two cents
I used this textbook for a series of 3 graduate classes in Quantum Mechanics, in which we basically cover the first 26 chapters.

I think the textbook is easy to follow, one can learn with it the mathematical tools of QM. The one thing I don't like about the book is that is not a reliable reference book (in the sense that unless I went through the whole...
Published on January 13, 2011 by giskard


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars My two cents, January 13, 2011
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This review is from: Quantum Mechanics with Basic Field Theory (Hardcover)
I used this textbook for a series of 3 graduate classes in Quantum Mechanics, in which we basically cover the first 26 chapters.

I think the textbook is easy to follow, one can learn with it the mathematical tools of QM. The one thing I don't like about the book is that is not a reliable reference book (in the sense that unless I went through the whole derivation of the equations I can't be sure that the equation is not missing an h bar, c or a minus), however you must consider that this is the first edition of the book.

Pros

- Covers most of the topics relevant for a physics graduate student.
- Step by Step mathematical derivations

Cons

- Lots of typos
- No solutions to selected problems
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Detailed Mathematics, Everything Derived for You, February 9, 2010
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This review is from: Quantum Mechanics with Basic Field Theory (Hardcover)
As a student of Dr. Desai's, I've had first-hand experience with working through this textbook, in the context of the author's own lectures. This book is extremely good for working through derivations of various quantum mechanics concepts, and mathematically, is quite rigorous. I think this book would be most useful for the graduate student theorist, who is perhaps not as interested in experimental application of quantum mechanics as an experimentalist.

The end of chapter problems are at times esoteric and mathematical, applying linear algebra to deconstruct an operator with no quantum mechanical context, however, often, the mathematics from these problems appear far ahead in the text. I would recommend the student also use another textbook to gain a more 'experimentalist' perspective on quantum mechanics.

This book contains some errors (it is only in its first edition). At times the errors are minor, but other times they can be more significant. The most common error seems to be false equation references, or a missing 'h-bar' and factors of 'c'. Very occasionally (I have seen one or two within the first 300 pages) there is a serious error, such as using an angular momentum vector instead of a magnetic field vector.

I think this book is an excellent resource, and is almost completely self contained. It will teach you the tools and mathematical back-bone of quantum mechanics, but leaves rigorous applications of the subject to the student's imagination.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant level of rigor, but fails to explain motivations., July 15, 2011
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This review is from: Quantum Mechanics with Basic Field Theory (Hardcover)
B. Desai's book on Quantum Mechanics is well-written, but the book lacks structure. Rather than introducing the necessity for a topic, and its physical motivations, the book leaps into derivations of various phenomena, without giving any attention to why the steps in the proof are being taken. Consequently, I think this book is not particularly well-suited to self-teaching; it simply doesn't stand on its own. That being said, it makes an excellent supplement to another work. Whenever derivations or explanations have confused me in other books, Desai usually has a section dedicated to the topic at hand. If buying, I would recommend doing so in conjunction with R. Shankar's Quantum Mechanics. My other minor problem with the text is that it's very dry. Because there are so few explanations as to the motivation for the mathematics, the unending proofs quickly become tiresome.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent reference, that lives up to its goals admirably., June 11, 2011
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Peeter Joot "Peeter Joot" (Markham, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Quantum Mechanics with Basic Field Theory (Hardcover)
This book should definitely be supplemented by other texts to fill in the physical context, but it does its stated job very well.

There is no attempt to provide much in the way of motivation for QM and has very little discussion of why any of the material is presented, or the big picture. This is acknowledged in the preface, where it is stated that it must be supplemented by an instructor that will fill in those gaps.

What you will find in this text is a very well organized presentation of the mathematics of the subject, at a level that somebody with undergraduate engineering background can handle in a self study context with ease (assuming that some introductory QM has also been learned separately). There is enough detail in the derivations that the reader isn't left grasping, trying to figure out the black magic required to move from one step to another, yet there is enough left out that there is value to working through the text in full detail to fill in the small gaps. Very well balanced material, and very thorough.

This book is also very dense and would take considerable time to work through in detail. For example, the first two thirds of the text are used for the University of Toronto physics course, covered in two semesters, whereas the last third of the text, covering the Dirac equation and relativistic QM, is not covered in the undergrad physics curriculum.

Note that the first edition of this text has many typos, but I did not find this detracted from the value of the text too much (perhaps it could even be considered a feature since many of the derivations cannot be trusted implicitly and one must work through them). My version of this text is now _very_ marked up as a side effect of having attempted reading it.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Opaque and riddled with errors, February 2, 2012
This review is from: Quantum Mechanics with Basic Field Theory (Hardcover)
This is the worst textbook I've ever used for a course; I think I may have developed PTSD from reading it. We were instructed to purchase it for a quantum 1 course and, despite the near-unanimous opinion of the class at the end that it was a terrible resource, had to continue suffering through it for quantum 2. Dr Desai seems to have taken the "Grand Unified Theory" idea in physics and tried to apply it to education---meaning that he's tried to encompass the entirety of pre-field theory quantum mechanics in a single book. I suppose, superficially, he was successful: the textbook is indeed comprehensive. What it is not, however, is pedagogically useful. I think it's telling that several of the most positive reviews for this textbook are written by some of Dr Desai's own students. I imagine the book's value increases tremendously when the author can personally explain his many mysterious derivations and unexplained lines of reasoning. The rest of us, however, are not so fortunate.

Page after page in this book is filled with (allegedly) sequential equations, with barely a word of English to offer explanation or give a hint about where the whole thing is headed. Instances where the author clarifies whether a particular equation follows from the one immediately preceding it or from something three pages earlier are rarer than a neutrino detection. The odd time when a parenthetical is offered to name the particular mathematical technique being used to derive the next step is an occasion to uncork some champagne and celebrate like it's 1905. If there is a god and he is just, he would prevent Dr Desai from ever uttering the phrases, "It follows that...," and, "Similarly...," for the rest of his professional life.

The natural response to criticism as to this book's usefulness as an instructional tool is to defend it as reference resource. Indeed, a number of reviewers have done just that. What I find perplexing is how many have casually dismissed the myriad errors in this book as being a natural consequence of it being the first edition. This is nonsense. A significant number of the book's errata are not mere typos; they are careless, inexcusable misuses of previously defined symbols and expressions. Writing "h" instead of "h-bar" now and then is irritating but forgivable. Would that even a fraction of the errors were this trivial. The sheer density of mistakes is so staggering that I'm embarrassed on behalf of those whom Dr Desai personally thanked for editing the manuscript. "But," says the apologist, "at least there's educational value in a error-prone text since it forces students to understand the process and correct the errors." True, and if the process weren't, as already discussed, less illuminating than a black hole, such a comment would actually be relevant. As it is, the book's poor explanations combined with its chronically unreliable equations means that the only hope for a confused student is an Obi-Wan Kenobi-like telepathic visitation from the author to explain what he meant. "But---," no, no more 'but's.

If you're an instructor: I beseech you not to inflict this monstrosity on your students. If you insist on punishing them, then consider just buying a personal copy of this book and using it to beat them over the head individually. Educationally, the end result will be indistinguishable, except that they'll save a hundred bucks or so.

If you're a student looking to buy this book because your professor has made it required reading: I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. My only advice is that you use the section headings to search through the tables of contents of other texts and use those instead. If you want to gauge your instructor before getting too deep into the class, you might want to consider asking him if he has read this book himself---if he says yes, it probably means he's a sadist who thrives on the tears of undergraduates.

In summary, then: this book is useful for neither learning about quantum mechanics nor for owning as a desktop reference if you already have experience. If Dante had written a physics-themed Inferno, reading this text for eternity would be the punishment for those in the deepest circle of hell. I wouldn't be surprised if reading the appendices backwards summoned a demon.

Would not recommend.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Former student's review., May 17, 2010
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This review is from: Quantum Mechanics with Basic Field Theory (Hardcover)
Caveat: I have not yet obtained my copy of the book. I can only write from my experience with the draft, which were essentially lecture notes used as the core text for graduate quantum mechanics at UC Riverside.

I took Professor Desai's quantum courses, and also electromagnetics from him.

His book is the extension of lecture notes provided to his students and developed over several iterations of teaching graduate quantum mechanics. The nice thing is he is including new material on more advanced topics we did not have time to cover when I took his lectures.

I have studied from many texts. Shankar, Sakurai, and Liboff. I'm glad that Desai's book is now available, and am looking forward to getting my copy.

I can say that Professor Desai lets the math speak for itself. Compared to other physics authors, Professor Desai is habitually explicit and concise. Looking at the table of contents, Desai is covering more real-world topics in dedicated chapters than a current popular text, and leading the student to second quantization, with only 200 pages more. He's following the example of Schiff.

And there are some nice pedagogical features to the book as well. Gauge theory is treated early on in Desai. So you're basically gaining knowledge useful for both E&M and quantum in one course of study. Since the student is going to be taking both at the same time, this is good. This "dual gain" is also present with Desai's treatment of Green's functions and path integration, which will carry over to E&M also. This is what I experienced taking his course.

The book is a definite buy, that's easy... the real question is what wine to drink while reading it?
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks Prof. Desai!, July 1, 2010
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This review is from: Quantum Mechanics with Basic Field Theory (Hardcover)
A very generous author sharing his knowledge and guiding you through a modern exposition of Quantum Mechanics.
Great book!.
Please keep on writing!
The publisher should have used lighter weight paper. This book weighs a ton!
Amazon should give this text greater visibility!
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Quantum Mechanics with Basic Field Theory
Quantum Mechanics with Basic Field Theory by B. R. Desai (Hardcover - December 21, 2009)
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