From: rparson@spot.colorado.edu (Robert Parson) Newsgroups: sci.chem Subject: Re: Quantum mechanics.... Date: 3 Dec 1997 18:59:27 GMT In article <662jui$lvp@nnrp2.farm.idt.net>, 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 >attitude. 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. ------ Robert

From: rparson@spot.colorado.edu (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. ------ Robert

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