Beginning students of quantum mechanics frequently experience difficulties separating essential underlying principles from the specific examples to which these principles have been historically applied. Nobel-Prize-winner Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and his colleagues have written this book to eliminate precisely these difficulties. Fourteen chapters provide a clarity of organization, careful attention to pedagogical details, and a wealth of topics and examples which make this work a textbook as well as a timeless reference, allowing to tailor courses to meet students' specific needs.
Each chapter starts with a clear exposition of the problem which is then treated, and logically develops the physical and mathematical concept. These chapters emphasize the underlying principles of the material, undiluted by extensive references to applications and practical examples which are put into complementary sections. The book begins with a qualitative introduction to quantum mechanical ideas using simple optical analogies and continues with a systematic and thorough presentation of the mathematical tools and postulates of quantum mechanics as well as a discussion of their physical content. Applications follow, starting with the simplest ones like e.g. the harmonic oscillator, and becoming gradually more complicated (the hydrogen atom, approximation methods, etc.). The complementary sections each expand this basic knowledge, supplying a wide range of applications and related topics as well as detailed expositions of a large number of special problems and more advanced topics, integrated as an essential portion of the text.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
The authoritative text accesible to beginners and challenging for graduates alike, Jul 6, 2023
A very easy introduction to quantum mechanics with supplementary topics designed to complement the basic chapters expanding the material to cover advanced topics such as phonons, etc.
Mathematical formulation is gradually brought to light after the basic ideas are explored. The level of mathematical rigour is adequate with appendices as needed. A degree of vector calculus and linear algebra is presumed but more advanced topics in hilbert space, operator theory, dirac notation and tensor products are developed as needed.
However, most importantly the ideas of quantum mechanics and assumptions are explicitly stated, in fact listed which was refreshing. Often introductory texts fail to bring together all the assumptions and then derive the theory leaving one bewildered. This probably has much to do with the history of quantum mechanics rather than poor literary skills. Regardless it was nice to see and much appreciated.
The problems range from very easy to difficult but solvable with some effort and thought. Most importantly the problems highlight important ideas and basic calculations which serve as models to approach more difficult problems.
The books cannot be read as novels and I suggest completing or at least attempting all the problems if you wish to have a solid understanding of nonrelativitic quantum mechanics.
After reading the book and solving the problems you should be able to state the assumptions of quantum mechanics with experimental proof for such and be fluent in it's mathematical foundations. Consequently, you should be able to approach a solution to most problems encountered in introductory quantum mechanics.
For example you should be able to quantize the appropriate classical quantity ( energy for example in the case of the harmonic oscillator ), find it's eigenvalues and eigenstates and corresponding wave equations ( where appropriate ) and then derive the mean values for various quantities and derive their time evolution etc etc.
I found the book indispensable for further personal study in quantum field theory and a very useful reference for refreshing forgotten ideas.
For those of you with no physics background, like myself, I suggest reading Fenymann lectures in physics vol 1-3 for a brief non-technical overview of the IDEAS of physics. I then suggest reading intro to mechanics by kleppner ( do all the problems ) and then electromagnetism by purcell ( do all the problems ). You should then delve into quantum mechanics ( you may wish to brush up on wave mechanics as well ).
For those of you who disdain mathematics there are a number of quantum mechanics books " for the masses" you can read but none will give a grasp of the topic. You must overcome your fear and learn the basic ideas of mathematics.
The difference is between seeing the sunset and having one described to you.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Not a very good text, Jun 17, 2023
This seems to be a very typical graduate level text at most universities, but I don't think it is organized very well nor is it very readable. First of all, the book is translated from French which probably did not help the formating and prose much. Second the notation used in the text seemed arcane and dated. I remember spending hours just to figure out what some of the notation was trying to convey. I think a thorough reading of Griffiths QM book would be much more advised than trying to read this book. However, all that being said, perhaps the book might be useful as a refrence as it is rather encyclopedic. In summation, find a better QM book to study from than this one.
1 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Get another text, Jan 23, 2023
I had to use this book in my graduate quantum class last fall. It is hard to read, has very few examples, and the problems at the end of the chapters seem to have nothing to do with the content of the chapter. I do not understand how this text can be intended for undergraduates without being overwhelming. Plus I don't think you can do many of the problems without reading the extra optional sections. It could have been a lot more descriptive and concise while explaining things better.
On the plus side, it has a decent index and the important equations are boxed so they are easy to spot while reviewing.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
Cohen is great, but Wiley & Sons could have done better., Sep 2, 2023
Most of what ought to have been said about this book has been said in previous reviews. It is missing a few crucial topics such as group theory, Lie algebras, and the Bell inequality, but it is extremely well-written, and the treatment of topics which are contained is nothing short of thorough. Reading this book is an illuminating experience.
Wiley & Sons (the publisher) fall short in their treatment of the book. This may read like a modern classic, but it is put together like a telephone book. The paper binding is extremely flimsy (given the size of the book, that is to be expected), and the covers are of such low quality that not only do they scuff, crease, and dent easily, but they stick to surfaces when only a bit of dampness is present, and are impossible to remove without damage.
For the price, one ought to expect more. A book like this deserves to be in a rounded, full-cloth, non-acid edition. At the very least, they could have put it in a textbook binding with sturdy cardboard covers. Timeless references ought to take more abuse than the Yellow Pages.
4 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
THE BEST QM BOOK FOR STARTERS, Aug 19, 2023
This is the best book on QM that any person can lay his hands on,and it is a shame it is not introduced as a first cource in QM for every science student interested in the subject.Once you go through the book,you may even be able to solve all classical problems quantum mechanically!!
The plus points of this book which other books lack:
complete and elaborate discussion of all mathematical tricks and tools needed in chapter 2,clear layout of the postulates of QM in chapter 3 so that one faces no conceptual difficulty in the remainder of the book,angular momentum addition and clebsch-Gordan coeeffecient calculation in CH.10,electromagnetic interaction with matter in chapter 13(complement),clearly explained probabaility calculation concepts for identical particles ,Ch14.,and a understandable tratment of scattering ,partial traces and the wigner-eckart theorm with applications.
I would recommend this book for any one who wishes to learn QM without laziness(the book is tiringly comprised of 2 volumes)before touching any other book in this subject(others an only lead you astray).the book is self suffecient in all respects and doesnt make a single step jump(no wonder its shear volume).