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From: (Robert Parson)
Newsgroups: sci.chem
Subject: Re: Quantum mechanics....
Date: 3 Dec 1997 18:59:27 GMT

In article <662jui$>,
Joshua Halpern  <jbh@IDT.NET> wrote:
>Get the third volume of Feynman's lectures on physics.  Relax.
>Savor it.  There is no better book for twisting a mind into
>the shape needed for QM.
>Levine is a good book aimed at chemists, but you might like
>Davydov better if you are in physics.

 McQuarrie's _Quantum Chemistry_ is at a slightly lower level than
 Levine, and (IMO) better written. At a higher level there
 is Schatz and Ratner's excellent _Quantum Mechanics in Chemistry_,
 directed towards students who have mastered McQuarrie or the
 first volume of Levine.

>Cohen-Tanoudji is a great book if you have the math and the

 Cohen-Tannoudji, Diu, and Laloe (_why_ does everyone forget the
 co-authors) is overall a very good book, and the worked examples
 (the "complements") are truly outstanding. The authors do make one
 very bad pedagogical mistake, in my opinion, and unfortunately they
 do it close to the beginning where it's likely to have maximal negative
 impact. They introduce the dual space formalism (bras defined as linear
 functionals on the ket space) early in Chapter Two. Most physicists
 (let alone chemists) find this level of abstraction to be difficult
 at first, and you really don't need it until you do scattering
 theory (and even there you can get around it, provided you stay away
 from certain singular operators.) The fact is that whole generations
 of theoretical physicists (and practically all theoretical chemists)
 have gotten along just fine thinking that bra vectors are just
 ket vectors turned around and complex conjugated.


From: (Robert Parson)
Newsgroups: sci.chem
Subject: Re: Quantum mechanics....
Date: 4 Dec 1997 00:36:37 GMT

 I've long been struck by the enormous number of quantum mechanics
 textbooks that have been written, both for chemistry and for physics
 courses. And people keep writing new ones. In contrast, there are
 a relatively small number of standard texts for Electromagnetic Theory
 (does any graduate physics E&M course _not_ use Jackson?), Classical
  Mechanics, Thermodynamics or Statistical Mechanics, and hardly any
 decent modern books on Chemical Kinetics and Dynamics. (When I taught
 graduate Kinetics&Dynamics last year, I ended up using a combination of
 Paul Houston's new undergraduate text and Levine&Bernstein's massive
 tome, supplemented with bits from old classics like Laidler.)

 FWIW, these are the Quantum Mechanics books that I like, listed in
 increasing order of sophistication. I list "chemistry" and "physics"
 books together because I think chemistry students should study
 from both; I do not believe in separating off "Quantum Chemistry"
 into a separate discipline.

 McQuarrie, _Quantum Chemistry_: at the level of undergrad P. Chem.

 Feynman, _Lectures_ Volume III: The best place to start learning
 just how peculiar the quantum world really is.

 Bohm, _Quantum Theory_: cheap Dover paperback, wonderful insights.

 Gasiorowicz: standard undergraduate physics text.

 Cohen-Tannoudji et al.: _Quantum Mechanics_.
 Undergrad physics or Grad Chemistry level; overly formal presentation
 at the beginning, but contains a truly magnificent collection of
 applications and worked examples ("Complements").

 Schatz and Ratner, _Quantum Mechanics in Chemistry_: written for
 a "second course" in quantum mechanics for chemists; excellent
 treatments of radiation-matter interactions, electron transfer
 reactions, nonlinear optical phenomena, etc.

 Zare, _Angular Momentum_: Very clear introduction to a specialized
 topic that has important chemical applications; working through it
 also provides excellent training for solving quantum mechanics
 problems in general.

 Szabo and Ostlund, _Modern Quantum Chemistry_: standard introduction
 to electronic structure calculations.

 Feynman and Hibbs, _Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals_: having
 to work through the whole subject from a completely different starting
 point is a great way to learn just how much you really know.

 Ziman, _Elements of Advanced Quantum Theory_: if you're going to
 tackle quantum field theory, many-body perturbation theory, and
 suchlike this little book provides a great introduction.

 Bell, _Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Theory_: so you've
 decided that EPR correlations aren't such a big deal after all,
 and that a little careful thinking about probabilities will clear
 the whole mess up? Bell's essays will teach you just how confused
 you really are.

 Schiff, Gottfried, Messiah: these are the Big Boys, not so useful
 for learning the subject the first time, but they are the ones I
 keep going back to when I want to review something.


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