- Series: Dover Books on Physics
- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications; Emended ed. edition (July 21, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486477223
- ISBN-13: 978-0486477220
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals: Emended Edition (Dover Books on Physics) Emended ed. Edition
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About the Author
Known worldwide as the voice of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, Albert R. Hibbs (1924-2003) studied for his doctorate under Feynman's tutelage and transcribed and edited Feynman's lectures in quantum electrodynamics.
Daniel F. Styer holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University and is the John and Marianne Schiffer Professor of Physics at Oberlin College.
Richard P. Feynman: The Scientist's Scientist
One of the most famous scientists of the twentieth century, and an inexhaustible source of wonderful quotes, Richard Feynman shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics. 1965 was also the year in which Feynman and A. R. Hibbs first published Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals, which Dover reprinted in a new edition comprehensively emended by Daniel F. Styer in 2010.
In the Author's Own Words:
"Our freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle. It is our responsibility as scientists to proclaim the value of this freedom; to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed; and to demand this freedom as our duty to all coming generations."
"I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics."
"Our imagination is stretched to the utmost, not, as in fiction, to imagine things which are not really there, but just to comprehend those things which are there."
"To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature. . . . If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in." — Richard P. Feynman
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Top Customer Reviews
The path integral approach, so clearly explained in this volume, derived from Feynman's graduate research at Princeton where he applied variational principles to quantum mechanics. This, in turn, was motivated by a seminal 1932 paper of Dirac.
At the time, the formalism appeared to provide only an elegant means of deriving the wave equation without achieving any new results. But elegant mathematics always seems to have a way of finding application in physics. Just look at how formerly "obscure" topics like Lie algebras and differential geometry have become part of the essential language of particle physics. And path integral methods have proved useful in fields ranging from quantum electrodynamics to acoustic propagation.
Like all of Feynman's works, this text combines sound, if unconventional, mathematics with remarkable physical insight. There is still no better introduction to the topics treated here. This book is required reading for anyone wishing to understand quantum mechanics (at least in so far as anyone can understand quantum mechanics) and who intends to pursue more advanced topics.
No one could explain things like Feynman. He was unique. You need a pretty solid background in classical mechanics and mathematics, and some effort is needed, but this book is well worth the effort.
The idea of path integration is simple. It supposes that whenever an object moves from one location to another, it, in a sense, "traces" out all possible paths between the locations. To determine how the object moves, we must consider contributions from all these paths. Feynman explains in this book, with an easy-to-understand writing style, how to perform such integrals, with an eye to practical problems.
Feynman's path integral approach to quantum theory, which he uses in this book, has a vast number of advantages over the Shrodinger Approach, which is used in standard quantum textbooks. For one thing, Feynman's approach is based on only two extremely simple postulates, while the Shrodinger approach is based on a relatively complex equation. Furthermore, Feynman's approach gets students thinking about what Quantum Mechanics actually means, while the Shrodinger approach involves less thinking and more calculation. Feynman's book and his theory encourage students to look at the foundations of quantum theory,and not just the actual calculations.
I am not joking here: this book deserves to be among the classic pieces of literature from the twentieth century. It is such a groundbreaking book because it reveals a deep, bizzare, and counter-intuitive world at the basis of all reality. Every college student should read this to grasp how amazing the universe is.