Friday, 1 March 2019

Quantum Textbook Shelfie

Following a Twitter post from my colleague Jim Al–Khalili yesterday,
and a subsequent round of discussion of the books and which ones we had on our shelves, here is my shelfie of the quantum mechanics textbooks I have on the shelves in my office:

Physics textbooks are the sort of thing I coveted as an Undergraduate but couldn't afford, and now can afford but don't have, or don't make the time, to read.  I've more or less stopped acquiring physics books, though on the occasions that I go to second hand bookstores in college towns, I do sometimes fail to resist the temptation to buy one or two.

Of all the books in the picture here, it's the yellow one whose spine is hard to read – An Introduction to Quantum Physics by A. P. French & E. F. Taylor – that I've had the longest.  My brother bought it for me while I was still a sixth-form school student, who was hoping to go to university for further study (which I duly did).  It was a wonderful and thoughtful present, and I attempted to read it, though I'm not sure I really got very far.  Looking back, I recall what a struggle it was to learn most of undergraduate physics.  Now I can pick up an unseen area of UG physics relatively easily, despite a generally diminished brainpower.  Thinking like a physicist has, I suppose, seeped so far into my unconscious. 

My copy of Pauling & Wilson's Introduction to Quantum Mechanics is a rare one that I saved up for and bought when an undergraduate student (most of the rest I bought later, second hand). Perhaps Pauling and Wilson is not the most suitable for a late-20th-century student, with its presentation unchanged since it was written in 1935. Shortly after I bought my copy, Pauling died, and I have a cut-out of his obituary from the Independent from 22nd August 1994, in the summer before my final year of undergraduate study.

Here's the obituary.  If you click on the picture it should come up in high enough resolution to read.

1 comment:

  1. I have the Eisberg & Resnick and Messiah (English translation).