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Quantum Mechanics in Simple Matrix Form (Dover Books on Physics) Paperback – December 20, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This simple text makes basic quantum mechanics accessible with a minimum of mathematics. The focus is on the matrices representing physical quanitities. States are described simply by mean values of physical quantities or by probabilities for possible values. This approach reveals the essential simplicity of quantum mechanics by focusing on basics and working only with key elements of mathematical structure. Introduces all mathematics involved with using algebra of matrices, complex numbers, probabilities, and mean values. Offers over l00 problems. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Physics
  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (December 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486445305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486445304
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #651,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on July 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
This review is written from the point of view of a philospher, poorly trained in mathematics, but still wanting to get to the meat of quantum mechanics from a methematical point of view. Wow. In this book I found what I thought I never would. It describes the mathematical world of quantum physics using the majestic simplicity of matrices and the algebra of complex numbers. As the author states in the preface, no calculus or trigonometry is required. While the math isn't downright simple, neither is beyond the grasp of someone who is bright, but hasn't taken claculus or even precalc. For those who want to journey past this book another excellent intro level quantum mechanics text that introduces wave mechanics and does assume a knowledge of basic calculus is "Fundamentals of Quantum Mechanics" by J.E. House. Both are excellent!
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There are few books which explain quantum mechanics with such grace and simplicity. Starting with the basics the author sets out to explain the ideas and mathematics behind qunatum mechanics. The author also provides the historical references leading to the birth of quantum mechanics. The layout and presentation of the material is pure mathematical poetry.
Whilst the material would never make light bedtime reading, I would seriously recommend this book for both phyisicists and electronic engineering at the undergraduate and graduate level. The book has been a great source of information for my own research into the mysteries of quantum mechanics.
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I have quite a few books on Quantum Mechanics. This book does what the others do not. The first half is about simple math. Understanding that QP - PQ = ih/2pi is the matrix form of an equation and the QP - PQ is not zero because the matrices do not commute is critical. This is basic stuff that a lot of books just skip. The second half uses the math to explain some of the features of Quantum Mechanics. For me I needed the detailed first half even though the math was not too hard. Now I can read my other books with a new understanding and finally I am starting to understand Quantum Mechanics.
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What an interesting book, but not for beginners from chapter 7 and on! The first 6 chapters are a walk in the park; a simple review of complex numbers, matrix algebra, and probability. Then the author sneaks up on his trusting student and delivers a knock-out punch! You better know eigen vectors/values for this chapter to make sense. The uninitiated has been left in the dust!

The subject gets interesting in the second half (chapters 8 to 27). It takes prior knowledge of quantum mechanics to appreciate! The book deserves 5 stars for a wonderful display of demonstration and historical references. It was a joy to read.

I was hoping for some elegantly simple explanation of a rather intense subject. I never found it. Instead, I got a fresh perspective and better appreciate the history of the subject. There is nothing simple about quantum mechanics, other than it's all about solving the eigen value problem . . . but keep that to yourself, it's a little secret!
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It's true that this book requires absolutely no calculus. Or linear algebra for that matter. This book doesn't even assume you've ever seen a complex number or a matrix before. All that is necessary is introduced in the first few chapters.

However, as this book progresses it slowly reveals itself for what it truly is: a first book on the operator formalism in quantum mechanics, where commutation relations for observable quantities are promoted to central importance.

While I'm certain that students with only a very modest background in physics and mathematics will be able to get something out of this book at least in the early chapters, the last third of this book is more suitable for fairly advanced students of quantum mechanics looking to make their way from state vectors to operators as required by quantum field theory. To such students I would recommend already having The Principles of Quantum Mechanics (International Series of Monographs on Physics) under your belt.

This is ultimately a challenging book masquerading as an elementary one.
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I was attracted to this book by its title, which communicates a theme now rarely encountered. Way back when, the opening lecture in elementary quantum mechanics explained that the theory came in two distinct but equivalent forms: wave mechanics and matrix mechanics. Thereafter nothing more was said about matrix mechanics. Yet, this is where it all began and the story of matrix mechanics is itself a lesson in how theoretical physics advances. Thus, this book is as much a brief history as it is a manual of instruction.

Though billed as a simple introduction to quantum mechanics for the mathematically unprepared, I don’t see it as such. Yes, the mathematical development is simple enough, the writing is crystal clear, the problems illuminate the text and exercise the beginner in the subject matter, yet were I to pick up this book and read it without already knowing much about quantum mechanics, I think I would walk away understanding little. The outcome would be better if read in conjunction with lectures based on the text. And this is the underlying scenario for clearly it is a course book. Still, I am not sure that I would “get it” even then.

But coming at this book with a background in physics I found it a good read. My conclusion is that this book is most accessible to people like me with some prior training in physics. Its accessibility to others will depend on the strength of their technical background or on their ability to reason, their fundamental curiosity and their determination to learn.
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