Quantum Principles and Particles (Paperback)

Walter Wilcox

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A Novel Pedagogical Approach to Quantum Mechanics

"A physical understanding is a completely unmathematical, imprecise, and inexact thing, but absolutely necessary for a physicist."
—R. Feynman

The core of modern physics, quantum theory is counter-intuitive and challenging for those new to the field. Quantum Principles and Particles presents the fundamental quantum principles in a particularly visual manner and applies them to aspects of particle interactions. Inspired by the author’s work with Nobel laureate Julian Schwinger, it introduces the primary principles of the microscopic world through an analysis of the simplest possible quantum mechanical system—spin 1/2.

A Visual Approach to Quantum Mechanics

 

This two-semester introductory undergraduate textbook balances simplification and rigor to provide an accessible, solid foundation in quantum mechanics. Taking a unique pedagogical approach, the author uses hypothetical quantum devices—process diagrams—to orient and guide the reader. These process diagrams help readers visualize states and operators, and illustrate ways to compute amplitudes for quantum mechanical processes.

From Small Steps in Quantum Mechanics to a Leap into Particle Physics

 

The first part of the book presents the essential principles in the development of quantum mechanics, starting with spin state analysis and wave mechanics. Delving into quantum particles, the second part develops a consistent picture of particle descriptions and interactions in atomic, nuclear, and particle contexts. The text emphasizes applications and makes the connection to the Standard Model of particle physics. In each chapter, carefully designed problem sets reinforce key principles and stimulate original thought. Extensively illustrated, this classroom-tested text provides a clear and comprehensive introduction to quantum mechanics.