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A Modern Approach to Quantum Mechanics
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The best aspect of this book is its consistently sound pedagogy. The point is that Townsend is not showing off, not being fussy or pedantic. He has recognized a potential confusion and neatly headed it off. The book is full of such smart, sensitive teaching. --Richard Hazeltine, University of Texas, Austin
Townsend is the best book I know for advanced undergraduate quantum mechanics. --Ralph D. Amado, University of Pennsylvania
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Certainly, the book has many weaknesses as well: the discussion of rotation operators in chapter 3 is plagued by mathematical mistakes and seemingly contradictory statements; certain mathematical "proofs" involve truncating Taylor series after a few terms - often with very little justification; and finally, the book does not present an axiomatic foundation to the subject, instead opting for physical justification and arguments.
All in all, I have enjoyed this text greatly -- the sections on Bell's inequality and quantizing the radiation field are particularly good. In my opinion, this book is great for people in its target audience: junior or senior physics majors. It does not attempt to be a mathematically rigorous text for applied mathematicians, but instead it succeeds in instilling a real sense of physical intuition in the reader -- anyone expecting differently will probably be disappointed.
In later chapters there's still an above-average amount of operator talk, which is good because operators are more fun than differential equations. The treatment of the harmonic oscillator (ch. 7) is particularly elegant because of all the machinery that's already been built up (esp. raising and lowering operators). Later chapters are generally good, too, but the operator formalism helps less.
The chapter on Bell's inequalities (ch. 5) is concise and very clear.
The pace of the exposition is gentle but I didn't find it _too_ gentle. The lack of mathematical rigor in ch. 6 (wave mechanics) is fair enough given the audience, and I guess it's too much to expect ch. 2 to talk about Lie groups (though Noether's theorem could have been discussed). There are confusing patches, e.g. on the Born approximation in ch. 13 (Scattering) and some of the material on angular momenta in ch. 3, but nothing terminal that I noticed. (The intro to Green's functions in ch. 13 is cursory and not very clear, but they can be looked up, I guess.)
The problems are a bit of a let-down; the challenging ones are relatively sparse and a lot of the others are either one-liners or just annoying.
In other words, I learned a whole heck of a lot from this book, but don't get Townsend expecting a complete and thorough graduate-level treatment of QM. It's a really good introduction that provides a few dips into more advanced topics (particulary chapter 14).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
everything was basically fine.....but there was a problem with the book itself. It is really strange. there was a problem with the pages. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Kenneth Kanner
This is, hands down, the best quantum book for a Junior-level or higher student. I used this book in college and, six years later, still regularly use it as a reference. Read morePublished on November 25, 2011 by Matt
This book provides an introduction to quantum mechanics aimed at upper-level undergraduate physics majors. Read morePublished on August 6, 2011 by Armin Nikkhah Shirazi
This book isn't meant to be terribly rigorous. As a math major, I took Townsend's course (which used this text) and found that he was essentially uninterested in adding rigor. Read morePublished on July 6, 2011 by Sam Clemens
Aside from giving detailed description of the book which other reviewers have already done, I want to express my respect for this book by saying: Even though I worked through... Read morePublished on February 25, 2009 by qp~h SH
You must have an exceptional understanding of the historical development of quantum mechanics. This book entire ignores this, but otherwise is phenomenal. Read morePublished on August 1, 2007 by Joe M
The author follows the unconventional approach first used in Volume III of Feynmann's "introductory" lectures, starting immediately with purely quantum phenomena (like spin) and... Read morePublished on February 7, 2007 by physics student