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Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals (Dover Books on Physics) [Paperback]

Richard P. Feynman , A.R. Hibbs
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 July 2010 Dover Books on Physics
The developer of path integrals, Nobel Prize–winning physicist Richard Feynman, presents unique insights into this method and its applications. Feynman starts with an intuitive view of fundamental quantum mechanics, gradually introducing path integrals. Later chapters explore more advanced topics, including the perturbation method, quantum electrodynamics, and statistical mechanics. 1965 edition, emended in 2005.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc. (30 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486477223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486477220
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Richard Feynman was, until his death in 1988, the most famous physicist in the world. Only an infinitesimal part of the general population could understand his mathematical physics, but his outgoing and sunny personality, his gift for exposition, his habit of playing the bongo drums, and his testimony to the Presidential Commission on the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster turned him into a celebrity.

Freeman Dyson, of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, called him 'the most original mind of his generation', while in its obituary The New York Times described him as 'arguably the most brilliant, iconoclastic and influential of the postwar generation of theoretical physicists'.

Product Description

About the Author

Richard Feynman (1918-88) received the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics. One of the best-known scientists of his generation, Feynman assisted in the development of the atomic bomb and was a prominent member of the panel that investigated the 1986 Challenger disaster. Known worldwide as the voice of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, Albert R. Hibbs (1924-2003) studied for his doctorate under Feynman's tutelage and transcribed and edited Feynman's lectures in quantum electrodynamics. Daniel F. Styer holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University and is the John and Marianne Schiffer Professor of Physics at Oberlin College. Richard P. Feynman: The Scientist's Scientist One of the most famous scientists of the twentieth century, and an inexhaustible source of wonderful quotes, Richard Feynman shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics. 1965 was also the year in which Feynman and A. R. Hibbs first published Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals, which Dover reprinted in a new edition comprehensively emended by Daniel F. Styer in 2010. In the Author's Own Words: "Our freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle. It is our responsibility as scientists to proclaim the value of this freedom; to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed; and to demand this freedom as our duty to all coming generations." "I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics." "Our imagination is stretched to the utmost, not, as in fiction, to imagine things which are not really there, but just to comprehend those things which are there." "To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature. . . . If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in." — Richard P. Feynman

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The classic by the master himself 22 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thorough and pedagogic, though a bit dated. Great at explaining complex ides simply.

The derivation of regular wave mechanics from path integrals is interesting, and gave me a new understanding on the laws I thought I knew so well.

It's good for the basics of getting to grips with path integrals, but you should definitely seek out some more advanced, rigorous texts if you're comfortable with the simplest integrals.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but hard going. 23 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The concepts dealt with in the book are fascinating but the maths is hard going for a once enthusiatic physics graduate who has spent most of his life in geophysics where the sums are much easier.

my 3 star rating is largely based on the Kindle edition and the fact that working through the equations is made more difficult by having several of them missing, ie an equation number with no equation.

A better grasp of the mathematics used than I currently have would enhance the content greatly.

I
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By Ramses
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just got this book today, and congratulations to Dover for making this landmark text readily available for such a small price. I have the original copy, which now sells for much more money. If you can find a used copy that is, the book being out-of-print.
I don't think I need to review the contents - I had read this in my student days and anyone looking at this will be aware of this text's stellar importance.
What is amusing is this "emendment" by D. Styer, who says he corrected hundreds of misprints etc. But just leafing throught it, on page 164, the title of section 7-1 has a glaring misprint. I wonder what other misprint has been left if I spotted one so easily in 10 seconds ;-) Actually I need to check in the original book whether that mistake was there at all. Small things, but be coherent ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 31 July 2014
Format:Paperback
great.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
92 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you liked volumes I and II of the Lectures... 28 July 2010
By Atul Sharma - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Feynman Lectures deserve their status as classics, bringing novel insights and clarity even to topics that one would think ancient and musty (e.g. his exposition of radio waves). I'm not sure I would recommend them as undergraduate texts, since there may be too much wizardry where the solutions depend on deep insights or unexpected symmetries, with perhaps too few examples of brute calculation and no exercises to be worked by the student. However, they are unsurpassed when used to supplement the usual treatments or just to appreciate the beauty of the subject. For some reason, I never had the same feeling toward Volume III (Quantum Mechanics). In part, I think this is because he was trying too hard to reconcile the usual Schroedinger description with his own version of Quantum Mechanics, namely the least action/ path integral approach used in this text. Without the same constraint here (although he does very elegantly derive the wave equation from the least action principle), I experienced the same sense of wonder and awe that I felt from his earlier treatment of mechanics and electricity/magnetism. Although it's only my personal opinion, I would recommend this as the true successor to volumes I and II of the Lectures.
58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for anyone interested in Particle Physics or String Theory 10 July 2010
By electron0511 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It is a gospel for all physics students that this masterpiece is finally available as a Dover edition. Written by Feynman himself, this book explains the path integral approach to quantum mechanics in a way that is understandable to every beginning quantum mechanic. Path integrals are integral (sorry, bad English) to the study of quantum field theory and string theory, and you must be a master at it if you would like to work in either of these fields. Purchase this book at once and start working!
60 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return of a classic 15 Aug 2010
By William R. Franklin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is wonderful to see this extraordinary work back in print, especially in this attractive low cost Dover edition. As an added bonus, the myriad misprints that plagued the original 1965 printing (and caused me such grief when I first read it in high school) have been corrected.

The path integral approach, so clearly explained in this volume, derived from Feynman's graduate research at Princeton where he applied variational principles to quantum mechanics. This, in turn, was motivated by a seminal 1932 paper of Dirac.

At the time, the formalism appeared to provide only an elegant means of deriving the wave equation without achieving any new results. But elegant mathematics always seems to have a way of finding application in physics. Just look at how formerly "obscure" topics like Lie algebras and differential geometry have become part of the essential language of particle physics. And path integral methods have proved useful in fields ranging from quantum electrodynamics to acoustic propagation.

Like all of Feynman's works, this text combines sound, if unconventional, mathematics with remarkable physical insight. There is still no better introduction to the topics treated here. This book is required reading for anyone wishing to understand quantum mechanics (at least in so far as anyone can understand quantum mechanics) and who intends to pursue more advanced topics.

Heartily recommended!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely wonderful book about a fascinating topic 18 Mar 2012
By Path Integral Master - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This fascinating book, written by the Nobel-prize winner Richard Feynman himself, is a deep and easy-to-grasp introduction(for those with a background in Calculus) to the bizzare ideas that come out of modern science. It explains, in clear and entertaining prose, the famous theory of Path Integration. For every person with a background in Calculus who would like to learn some of the most surpising insights that come out of modern science, I recommend this book.
The idea of path integration is simple. It supposes that whenever an object moves from one location to another, it, in a sense, "traces" out all possible paths between the locations. To determine how the object moves, we must consider contributions from all these paths. Feynman explains in this book, with an easy-to-understand writing style, how to perform such integrals, with an eye to practical problems.
Feynman's path integral approach to quantum theory, which he uses in this book, has a vast number of advantages over the Shrodinger Approach, which is used in standard quantum textbooks. For one thing, Feynman's approach is based on only two extremely simple postulates, while the Shrodinger approach is based on a relatively complex equation. Furthermore, Feynman's approach gets students thinking about what Quantum Mechanics actually means, while the Shrodinger approach involves less thinking and more calculation. Feynman's book and his theory encourage students to look at the foundations of quantum theory,and not just the actual calculations.
I am not joking here: this book deserves to be among the classic pieces of literature from the twentieth century. It is such a groundbreaking book because it reveals a deep, bizzare, and counter-intuitive world at the basis of all reality. Every college student should read this to grasp how amazing the universe is.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best text for getting into Quantum Mechanics. 28 Oct 2013
By Richard O'Brien - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've tried a few texts on this subject but never felt satisfied. The standard treatments are very mathematical and non-physical.

No one could explain things like Feynman. He was unique. You need a pretty solid background in classical mechanics and mathematics, and some effort is needed, but this book is well worth the effort.
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