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Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum Hardcover – February 25, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-0465036677 ISBN-10: 0465036678 Edition: Second Impression

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Product Details

  • Series: The Theoretical Minimum
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Second Impression edition (February 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465036678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465036677
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“The writing is fresh and immediate, with plenty of detail packaged into the smooth narrative.... [O]n their own terms, I found Susskind and Friedman’s explanations crisp and satisfying.... I maintain a clear recollection of the bewilderment with which I struggled through my own university quantum-mechanics courses. For students in a similar position, trying to draw together the fragments of formalism into a clear conceptual whole, Susskind and Friedman’s persuasive overview—and their insistence on explaining, with sharp mathematical detail, exactly what it is that is strange about quantum mechanics—may be just what is needed.”
—David Seery, Nature

“[T]he book will work well as a companion text for university students studying quantum mechanics or the armchair physicists following Susskind’s YouTube lectures.”
Publishers Weekly

“This is quantum mechanics for real. This is the good stuff, the most mysterious aspects of how reality works, set out with crystalline clarity. If you want to know how physicists really think about the world, this book is the place to start.”
—Sean Carroll, physicist, California Institute of Technology, and author of The Particle at the End of the Universe

“Susskind does a wonderful job of carefully going through in great detail the story of the simplest quantum system. As advertised, it's the theoretical minimum, but a great place for someone to start on the road to a serious understanding of the mysteries of quantum physics.”
—Peter Woit, Professor of Mathematics, Columbia University, and author of Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law

About the Author

Leonard Susskind has been the Felix Bloch Professor in Theoretical Physics at Stanford University since 1978. He is the author (with George Hrabovsky) of The Theoretical Minimum, as well as The Black Hole War and The Cosmic Landscape. He lives in Palo Alto, California. Art Friedman is a data consultant who previously spent fifteen years at Hewlett-Packard as a software engineer. A lifelong student of physics, he lives in Mountain View, California.

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Customer Reviews

Simply a very good book.
Amazon Customer
A gem of a book for serious non professional physicists who is trying to learn and understand QM on their own.
Joey ooi
He uses a single type of state throughout the book to minimize the messiness of the mathematics.
N. McNeely

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Robert Steven Thomas TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is an extremely difficult book to review. Though a layman in this field, fortunately, I have researched quantum mechanics and read enough books over the last few years on the subject to do a reasonably informed job of covering the salient points:
1) I have no doubt the author feels he has attempted to construct this book in a manner that can be understood fairly easily by many. Not to be insulting to anyone, but this book is definitely not for the novice.
2) Even with some background in quantum theory, there are many portions of the dialog that went way over my head, as I suspect, it will for many.
3) If you are an average reader interested in quantum physics, I have found several other books that cover this suject in a more readily understandable way. I suggest Machio Kaku or Bernard Haisch.
4) If you are a science student - college level or above, this book could be very insightful and of value for you.

So why Four Stars??? While the ultimate value of this book will be determined by each individual reader, it is critically important that a more widespread understanding of the scientific importance of quantum mechanics is shared by a larger audience. This book contributes to that cause and contains valuable information.
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66 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book covers a lot of ground in a very creative way. However, I am extremely puzzled how the kindle version was distributed with typesetting issues associated with the Dirac bracket which make it difficult to read. There was obviously no review of the electronic version. Amazon should republish a correction ASAP.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By rickzz on March 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After a few years of reading math-free QM popularizations, I decided to try to learn the math. Finding a book that bridges the vast gap between the popularizations and textbooks, though, has been a real challenge.

Thankfully, this book is now available. Yes, it's difficult but it's far more accessible than a textbook. The authors have really made an effort to offer insight into what is inherently a very abstract and mathematical subject. Like FLP-III (Feynman's Lectures on Physics), the approach is to start with "spin-first" and then work "backwards" to the Schrodinger equation, which is the starting point for most textbooks (that way, the harder math is deferred until later). However, QM:TM is more modern and easier than FLP, which is after all, meant for future physicists.

If you don't know any advanced math (calculus, complex numbers, etc.) then you should pass on this book. But the "math-divide" has now been bridged by this book, which is destined to be a classic.

Note: I didn't care much for TM: volume I (it was too rushed and brief) but that's not the case with volume II. The only con is there's no companion site (as far as I know) with solutions to the exercises.
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56 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Frank Paglia on February 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a great book, but get a print copy as there are serious problems with the typesetting in the Kindle version. Right and left brackets <> are shown as boxes in the main text(although they are correct in equations) As the brackets are used for Dirac’s notation throughout the text, this typo is more than just an minor annoyance. Dirac's bra and kett notation is a major part of quantum mechanics and having them printed incorrectly means confusion. I am surprised that this slipped past proof reading. This really is too bad, I really enjoyed Dr Susskind's 1st book and his videos so much and was looking forward to this new book. I'm sorry that this excellent content is ruined by this error. Again, buy the print copy.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By D. Gilbert on March 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I downloaded the iPad version on 3/14/14 and scanned for typography problems that others have noted. I see none! Maybe there has been an update.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A. Ali on February 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I like the book. I can follow the discussion. But it's not for a lay reader. The ideal reader should have some background in classical mechanics (particularly the Hamiltonian formulation), some background in linear algebra, and not faint when he or she hears "Hilbert space." It would probably be a good companion text to a standard quantum mechanics text. There's definitely a niche for this book -- I don't know of any other book with this kind of careful yet verbose explanation. I particularly like the first example Susskind gives for the Schrodinger equation.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Guy Bowerman on April 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been looking for a book like this for many years as it provides exactly what I need.

Some reviewers have said this book appeals to a narrow audience, and they may be right. Get this book if:
- You learned maths at least to senior high school / basic university engineering/science level.
- You're interested in understanding quantum mechanics at a deeper and more mathematical degree than you get in popular science books and want to be able to work with the basic postulates and mathematics of quantum mechanics.
- You find existing text books that cover quantum theory (like Bohm, Rae) go too deep and are basically inaccessible.

The book is very readable, and though it takes you through derivations of Schrodinger's equation, working with vector spaces, statistical physics, it's never dry and doesn't assume to know too much to begin with.

My only criticism is that it tries to be jokey with pointless dialogue at the beginning of chapters, but being one of the few books that successfully bridge the gap between popular science books and text books, it earns its 5 stars.
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