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Quantum Physics: A Fundamental Approach to Modern Physics Hardcover – August 7, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1891389627 ISBN-10: 1891389629 Edition: First
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Editorial Reviews

Review

When I read this book I immediately adopted it for my sophomore Modern Physics class. This is the best introduction to quantum mechanics available. --B. Paul Padley, Rice University

Townsend has written an excellent book that someone needed to write for the Modern Physics textbook market. He has given it the same care that he gave to his excellent quantum mechanics book. --Jeff Dunham, Middlebury College

About the Author

John S. Townsend is the Susan and Bruce Worster Professor of Physics at Harvey Mudd College, the science and engineering college of the Claremont Colleges. He received his B.S. from Duke University, his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, and was a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow. He has been a visiting professor at Caltech, the University of Southampton in England, Duke University and Swarthmore College, and he was a Science Fellow at the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford University. He loves teaching, especially quantum physics. Townsend is also the author of A Modern Approach to Quantum Mechanics.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 510 pages
  • Publisher: University Science Books; First edition (August 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891389629
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891389627
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #644,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By rklh on November 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I used this book in a sophomore modern physics course. The book is an excellent introduction to modern physics and quantum mechanics. It eschews bra-ket notation and a more common historical approach for an intuition-based approach developed in the first chapter (the quantum nature of light) and continued throughout. The book, overall, emphasizes a qualitative as well as quantitative understanding of physical phenomena, providing an excellent foundation for a junior-level intermediate quantum mechanics course. Although occasionally chatty in tone, the book originates from the author's lecture notes from teaching the course, and as a result the sections are in bite-sized pieces. The occasional chattiness does not get in the way of rigorous derivations, though. I would strongly recommend this book to sophomore level physics students; its level is too elementary for a junior level course, but it serves as an intuitive introduction to the subject.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. Ruiz on January 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is not quite like all the other introductory quantum physics books out there. I have been reading and trying to look for a textbook to learn Quantum physics, and this is it. Upon reading reviews of other books on amazon I came across a comment (the reviewer was talking about Richard L. Liboff's book) that summarizes the consensus of all other quantum textbooks in the market:

"Not a great text for a course, but then again.... what quantum text *is* a good book for a quantum course?"

I believe that this textbook (which is relatively new in the market) is a GREAT book for a quantum course. As the title suggest, it truly does have a "fundamental approach" to the world of quantum physics, more so when compared to all other introductory quantum books.

In the end, you should really give Townsend's book a chance! This book might not surpass Liboff's or Grifith's when it comes to being used as a raw "reference" text, but I can say with a high degree of confidence that there is no better book to teach undergraduates what quantum is all about.

I would not be surprised if it becomes the most popular introductory quantum textbook for physics undergraduates!

PS: I also appreciate the price tag that the author has set. It really feels like Townsend wrote the book to teach students and for his passion on the subject, rather than for making money off undergraduates.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TumericTJ on May 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I believe that a student could probably go from an introductory physics course (which nowadays should touch on the basics of modern physics anyways) straight to Townsend's more advanced Quantum Mechanics book and not lose anything. For that reason, I am not sure why he wrote this text. The exposition strives to be clear, but the details are so obscured that that it was very unsatisfying to endure.

But I did appreciate that it was a "modern" modern physics text---my university used the similar McIntyre book for Quantum Mechanics and I enjoyed it very much.
A major difference was that in the latter bra-ket notation was introduced immediately which was delightfully more simple than the vague verbal approach.
The concreteness of the linear algebraic computations immediately gave the students a sense of learning something new and of computational ability in the subject.
And throughout, the mathematical justification of the physics was much more rewarding.

In all, this the least interesting physic text I have used, and I wish I could have skipped the course that used it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tasha Arvanitis on January 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent introduction to quantum physics. It is written clearly and organized well. I recommend this for people learning the material on their own as well as people in a class on the subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nikita Komachkov on June 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is a great book, however some of the problems omit some important steps and it is extremely hard to understand next steps. You will really need a help from your prof. Other than that worth every cent.
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I am teaching myself quantum mechanics and wanted to give this book a high rating as I began studying it. By the time I finished chapter 3 I had decided not to rate the book at all. Going into chapter 4, I decided that others, at least those like me who were self-studying quantum mechanics, aught to stay away from this book.

As one of the reviewers stated "The exposition strives to be clear, but the details are so obscured that that it was very unsatisfying to endure." I could not agree more. The material presented in chapters 3+ simply did not have the cohesiveness that a book such as this would require and the mathematical rigor was "thin" and very unsatisfying. To make matters worse, many of the problems were often only remotely related to the material covered in their respective chapters.

I have six books on QM and this ranked the lowest. My humble suggestion for those who would like to study quantum mechanics on their own: after getting the prerequisites in math and physics out of the way, pick a GOOD solid book on Modern physics (I used Tipler's Modern Physics) which gives you plenty of historical , context, yet is rigorous for what it is designed to do. Then for your QM text you may want to try Zettili's Quantum Mechanics: Concepts and Application. It is not a small book, but it is one of the better ones. Good luck to you.
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