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I'm searching for a book, video documentary, or any other source of information to learn Quantum Physics from the beginning. I know almost nothing on physics, so I guess I would need the basics first. And although I can't skip the math, what I'm seeking is more on the theoretical part.

Also I'd love to know how history on this goes. I mean, what Plank did, Einstein, Schrodinger... Things the way they happened.

But of course, anything helps.

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marked as duplicate by user10851, rob, CuriousOne, Qmechanic quantum-mechanics Jan 13 '16 at 19:52

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Physics Stack Exchange. I think that as you "know almost nothing on physics" you will have more success if you learn more basic topics before quantum mechanics. Also, I do not understand what you mean when you say that although you can't slip the math you want to learn theory. Theory certainly requires math. $\endgroup$ – DanielSank Jan 13 '16 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ This question seems a bit too broad to me. You mention history of quantum theory, quantum mechanics, basics of physics and have used the particle physics tag. Also it shows little to zero research effort in its current state. $\endgroup$ – theindigamer Jan 13 '16 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ "And although I can't skip the math, what I'm seeking is more on the theoretical part": the theoretical part is the math... $\endgroup$ – AccidentalFourierTransform Jan 13 '16 at 17:56
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    $\begingroup$ OMG, these comments are so uninspiring. This is an amazing place to change information and help others. And well, I think I can use the Internet to learn Physics, as it's not gonna be a job or so. Actually MIT OPEN WARE is a wonderful source and if ur dedicated enough u can learn as much as in a University. $\endgroup$ – Rodrigo Nader Jan 13 '16 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ @CouriousOne This is simply not true. Many people are self-studying many areas of physics on the theoretical level. Especially when deep advanced knowledge is not the point but merely an overview and good understanding. This is certainly possible with the right reading material. $\endgroup$ – Steeven Jan 13 '16 at 19:32
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As others have stated, it really depends on why you want to learn quantum mechanics, and how deeply you want to learn it.

(1) If you want to learn it as badly as you want to watch a movie at the movie theaters (i.e. not that badly - you're just mildly interested), then I'd recommend, aside from the books already mentioned, Mr. Tompkins in Paperback by George Gamow. It's a classically wonderful story book that plunges you into the wonderland of modern physics (up until the mid 1900's though). Also, I'd recommend watching a bunch of youtube videos of Richard Feynman. Richard Feynman (1918-1988) was a theoretical physicist with an extremely interesting personality and view of the world. Watching videos of him will get you into science and critical thinking. Finally, reading The Quantum Universe by Hey and Walters will give you what you want. (Beware! There's a book by the same title written by Brian Cox which, in my opinion, isn't that great)

(2) If you want to learn it to scratch it off your bucket list (i.e. you're more than mildly interested in it - it's always attracted you, but you have many more primary interests), I'd recommend to go through what I mentioned in the previous paragraph, and then go through The Theoretical Minimum by Susskind and Hrabovsky. Then, maybe if you're up for it, pick up Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by Griffiths.

(3) If you really want to learn it so badly that you're willing to embark on a life changing journey to truly understand the beauty of quantum mechanics and possibly many other advanced topics of physics, this page is designed for you. Also, once you go through quantum mechanics for the first time (if you do), watch this lecture by Sidney Coleman titled "Quantum Mechanics in Your Face". It'll give the right way of thinking about both quantum mechanics and classical physics.

If you're in between (2) and (3), I'd recommend taking a look at The Road to Reality by Penrose. It's huge, but it might be (a) well suited for you given your background, and (b) the type of journey you're looking for.

Also, as others have stated, the only way to correctly communicate the ideas of quantum mechanics is through the mathematics on which the theory is built. Why this dissuades people so much is because you actually have to think, and most people enjoy having ideas given to them in a way their mind is already accustomed to. That's exactly why I recommended Richard Feynman videos (his books are great too) in (1). If you can learn to appreciate critical thinking and intelligence, the mathematics will become mental masturbation. Blatantly put, the only real way to learn quantum mechanics is to embark on the journey described in (3), and this is more than possible if you can find the motivation through sources like those outlined in (1).

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  • $\begingroup$ What an answer! I'll start with 1, then 2. If I'm going well I'll try to get deeper. Thank you for taking the time. $\endgroup$ – Rodrigo Nader Jan 13 '16 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ @RodrigoNader See my edit. I changed (2) and added some stuff at the bottom. $\endgroup$ – Arturo don Juan Jan 13 '16 at 18:58
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I would recommend The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene. The third part of this documentary deals with quantum mechanics. The other parts deal with Space, time and Multiverse.

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"Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality" by Manjit Kumar

Cannot recommend highly enough as a starter if you are interested in the history of QM

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  • $\begingroup$ That debate was over around roughly 1929... $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Jan 13 '16 at 18:23
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The Bible of all introductory physics from the very scratch all the way to quantum mechanics, particle physics etc. is the book "University Physics" by Young and Freedman.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51s8%2Bxmm7EL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

See the first two links here: https://www.google.dk/search?q=university+physics+13th+edition&oq=university+physics+&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l3.4819j0j4&client=ms-android-oneplus&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8

I can highly recommend this. To re-inspire you, since the sharp comments above almost take you down, this book has brought me all the way through university (soon) with a deep understanding and great motivation.

And I mean it when I say, it starts from scratch. Because that is needed to grasp quantum mechanics. Patience, this book, and then you'll get there.

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I'd recommend "The quantum universe" by Tony Hey and Patrick Walters. It's a good introductory book on the concepts of quantum physics, and it doesn't really have much maths apart from graphs - just something to think about in your head.The book also covers the ENTIRE history of quantum mechanics, from the very first scientists that thought of it and the experiments which made it what it is today.

It is a good idea to learn about the maths used to describe things in quantum mechanics though.

Another thing about learning quantum mechanics is that you need to have a pretty decent knowledge of physics if you are trying to understand it - you can't jump straight into QM with a "high school" level of physics. Quantum mechanics is math, so good luck getting through ANY source of information without it!

Remember that quantum mechanics is all about tiny things, and general relativity is all about massive things. Another thing you want to consider is what do you want to learn quantum mechanics for?

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much for your answer. You made it more clear for me. So what part of Physics should I look deeper before starting QM? My objective is simply understand how things work on the tiniest scale. But more specifically: I have no interest on being able to predict a particle position, for instance. My interest is focused on how did physicists first faced Quantum Problems, how experiments work, what are the main forces and how they work, etc. $\endgroup$ – Rodrigo Nader Jan 13 '16 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ That book explains how experiments like the double split, schrodingers cat, works. All I can think of for knowledge you might want is the structure of an atom and what is inside an electron. It doesn't explain certain kinds of particles, at the end of the book it does have a few chapters on baryons and mesons. You also want to know what the weak force and strong force is in physics. It really is important that you have a good knowledge of physics - or you will be completely perplexed by these strange phenomenon. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Cann Jan 13 '16 at 18:40

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