Quantum Mechanics in a Nutshell

Princeton University Press
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Covering the fundamentals as well as many special topics of current interest, this is the most concise, up-to-date, and accessible graduate-level textbook on quantum mechanics available. Written by Gerald Mahan, a distinguished research physicist and author of an acclaimed textbook on many-particle physics, Quantum Mechanics in a Nutshell is the distillation of many years' teaching experience.

Emphasizing the use of quantum mechanics to describe actual quantum systems such as atoms and solids, and rich with interesting applications, the book proceeds from solving for the properties of a single particle in potential; to solving for two particles (the helium atom); to addressing many-particle systems. Applications include electron gas, magnetism, and Bose-Einstein Condensation; examples are carefully chosen and worked; and each chapter has numerous homework problems, many of them original.

Quantum Mechanics in a Nutshell expertly addresses traditional and modern topics, including perturbation theory, WKBJ, variational methods, angular momentum, the Dirac equation, many-particle wave functions, Casimir Force, and Bell's Theorem. And it treats many topics--such as the interactions between photons and electrons, scattering theory, and density functional theory--in exceptional depth.

A valuable addition to the teaching literature, Quantum Mechanics in a Nutshell is ideally suited for a two-semester course.

  • The most concise, up-to-date, and accessible graduate textbook on the subject
  • Contains the ideal amount of material for a two-semester course
  • Focuses on the description of actual quantum systems, including a range of applications
  • Covers traditional topics, as well as those at the frontiers of research
  • Treats in unprecedented detail topics such as photon-electron interaction, scattering theory, and density functional theory
  • Includes numerous homework problems at the end of each chapter
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About the author

Gerald D. Mahan is Distinguished Professor of Physics at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of two previous physics textbooks, Many-Particle Physics and Applied Mathematics.
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Additional Information

Princeton University Press
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Published on
Dec 29, 2008
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Science / Physics / Atomic & Molecular
Science / Physics / Condensed Matter
Science / Physics / General
Science / Physics / Quantum Theory
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Gerald D. Mahan
"Mahan's book does an admirable job of covering the broad subject of condensed matter physics in a balanced way. Virtually every important modern topic is explained. The informal narrative style gives the reader the sense of sitting in on a lecture by the master. The long search for a suitable text for a one-year graduate course on condensed matter physics may finally be over."--Patrick A. Lee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"This book is a great place to start learning about the vast array of phenomena that nature is able to produce around us in the form of materials. It hardly fits in a nutshell--it covers a great many topics, both traditional and current, in condensed matter physics. It is more akin to Hamlet's assertion that he could be bounded in a nutshell, and count himself a king of infinite space. The prodigious knowledge of the author shines through in the choice of topics."--Sidney R. Nagel, University of Chicago

"This is an excellent book that shows the author's wide grasp of the material. I particularly appreciate the many problems at the end of each chapter. Another welcome feature is the inclusion of many hot, still-developing topics in contemporary solid state physics."--Torgny Gustafsson, Rutgers University

"Mahan is a nuts-and-bolts theorist. Condensed Matter in a Nutshell includes many current hot topics, and the problem sets are well chosen. The book will help those trained in chemistry and materials science, both professionals and students, to come to grips with the current thinking in condensed matter physics, and it directs readers where to go for deeper immersion."--Zachary Fisk, University of California, Irvine

Gerald D. Mahan
Gerald D. Mahan
Sidney B. Cahn
In order to equip hopeful graduate students with the knowledge necessary to pass the qualifying examination, the authors have assembled and solved standard and original problems from major American universities – Boston University, University of Chicago, University of Colorado at Boulder, Columbia, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan Tech, MIT, Princeton, Rutgers, Stanford, Stony Brook, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison – and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. A wide range of material is covered and comparisons are made between similar problems of different schools to provide the student with enough information to feel comfortable and confident at the exam. Guide to Physics Problems is published in two volumes: this book, Part 2, covers Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics and Quantum Mechanics; Part 1, covers Mechanics, Relativity and Electrodynamics.

Praise for A Guide to Physics Problems: Part 2: Thermodynamics, Statistical Physics, and Quantum Mechanics:

"... A Guide to Physics Problems, Part 2 not only serves an important function, but is a pleasure to read. By selecting problems from different universities and even different scientific cultures, the authors have effectively avoided a one-sided approach to physics. All the problems are good, some are very interesting, some positively intriguing, a few are crazy; but all of them stimulate the reader to think about physics, not merely to train you to pass an exam. I personally received considerable pleasure in working the problems, and I would guess that anyone who wants to be a professional physicist would experience similar enjoyment. ... This book will be a great help to students and professors, as well as a source of pleasure and enjoyment." (From Foreword by Max Dresden)

"An excellent resource for graduate students in physics and, one expects, also for their teachers." (Daniel Kleppner, Lester Wolfe Professor of Physics Emeritus, MIT)

"A nice selection of problems ... Thought-provoking, entertaining, and just plain fun to solve." (Giovanni Vignale, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Missouri at Columbia)

"Interesting indeed and enjoyable. The problems are ingenious and their solutions very informative. I would certainly recommend it to all graduate students and physicists in general ... Particularly useful for teachers who would like to think about problems to present in their course." (Joel Lebowitz, Rutgers University)

"A very thoroughly assembled, interesting set of problems that covers the key areas of physics addressed by Ph.D. qualifying exams. ... Will prove most useful to both faculty and students. Indeed, I plan to use this material as a source of examples and illustrations that will be worked into my lectures." (Douglas Mills, University of California at Irvine)

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