Quantum physics textbook
by Stefanos Trachanas
Translated & Edited by Manolis Antonoyiannakis, Leonidas Tsetseris
NEW! "Quantum Physics" on the syllabus!
University Semester Course Title Instructor
Wesleyan University Spring 2021 PHYS 214 Quantum Mechanics I Tsampikos Kottos
This book presents Quantum Mechanics as a theory underlying the world around us, from atoms and molecules to materials, lasers, and other applications. Its features are (a) emphasis on the key principles with minimal mathematical formalism, (b) use of dimensional analysis and order-of-magnitude estimates to develop intuition, (c) comprehensive overview of quantum chemistry and the electronic structure of solids, (d) extensive discussion of the basic processes of light-matter interactions, and (e) online supplement with advanced theory and multiple-choice quizzes.
About the author
Stefanos Trachanas is an educator, author, and publisher. For over 35 years he has taught most of the core undergraduate courses at the Physics Department of the University of Crete. His books on quantum mechanics and differential equations are used as primary textbooks in most Greek University Departments of Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science, and Engineering. He is a cofounder of Crete University Press, which he led as Director from 1984 until his retirement in 2013. His awards include an honorary doctorate from the University of Crete, the Xanthopoulos-Pnevmatikos national award for excellence in academic teaching, and the Knight Commander of the Order of Phoenix, bestowed by the President of Greece.
Michael Belsley, (2019): An introduction to quantum physics: A first course for physicists, chemists, materials scientists, and engineers, Contemporary Physics, DOI: 10.1080/00107514.2019.1621946 [PDF]
"A famous joke among physicists is that 'One does not really understand quantum mechanics, but simply gets used to it.' To an undergraduate student being exposed to quantum physics for the first time, this phrase may come very close to how it feels to speak Nature's language of the atomic scale. Trachanas' Quantum Physics aims to remove this feeling and in my opinion it succeeds brilliantly."
Efthimios Kaxiras, Harvard University
"Expertly translated, this elegant book by Stefanos Trachanas - a seasoned educator of quantum physics - offers a unique pedagogical approach to quantum mechanics by discussing novel ways to find exact solutions, exploiting useful tools such as dimensional analysis, and providing intuition and physical insight behind the results. Quantum mechanics is a complex field, but this book makes it brilliantly accessible and a delight to learn."
Nader Engheta, University of Pennsylvania
"The Introduction to Quantum Physics by Stefanos Trachanas is a new primer in quantum physics, with a very interesting philosophy that is quite different from existing textbooks in many respects. The quantum formalism is derived not from mathematical axioms but from physics phenomena. The mystery of the atomic stability leads thus to quantization, the wave-particle duality is exploited to derive the quantum rules, and the uncertainty principle is treated as a central concept--not as a mere consequence of commutation relations. As we enter the quantum engineering age, it becomes increasingly important to be able to use quantum mechanics for mastering the quantum behavior of matter at all scales. This book achieves this aim from the scale of atoms to condensed matter. Noticeably, the presentation of chemical bonding and quantum chemistry is very clearly exposed and put at work in numerous examples. The book is thus an in-depth introduction to quantum physics that brings the reader to a quantum engineer level in many fields. At the same time, advanced researchers will appreciate finding all quantum concepts so clearly developed."
Daniel Estève, CEA-Saclay, France
Amazon reviews (from here)
"There are many good quantum mechanics textbooks. I own about two dozen of them, including the popular Griffiths and Shankar. But one that's not as well know[n] but that deserves to be is this one by Trachanas.
What sets Trachanas apart from the others is that he caters to true beginners in the field. For example, most texts give you the usual formula for the probability density based on the wavefunction. Trachanas, on the other hand, goes further by explaining just why this probability density takes the form that it does. This may not be as important to the "shut up and calculate" crowd eager to delve into computations, but those desiring the physical rationale will welcome such explanations. In fact, when I was helping my daughter with basic QM in one of her classes I freely invoked several explanations in Trachanas to clarify QM concepts to her. Trachanas has a talent for anticipating readers' questions and discussing them at the outset. It's apparent he knows what stumbling blocks a newbie might encounter in studying QM and expends considerable effort to smooth those obstacles.
Another thing many QM texts do is solve the hydrogen atom. Why is that? Reading Trachanas, you find out it's because hydrogen is the only atom that can be solved exactly using QM and thus acts as an ideal proving ground for its techniques. This fact isn't always made clear in other texts and in fact was a question my daughter had for me. Here again: Trachanas frames many QM concepts in their proper context, which is so helpful for a first exposure to QM.
The final sections of the book discuss applications of interest to engineers and scientists. For me I enjoyed the discussion on the band theory of solids, something I was already familiar with. One of Trachanas's contributions here is his use of real numbers arising from the equations to illustrate the concepts. I appreciated this; many times I've adapted textbook equations for my own work but came up short because units didn't match or whatever. Seeing real data out of the equations allows you to reproduce those numbers yourself and observe the equations in action. That would have helped me all those times when a textbook equation gave strange results because the textbook's author left out key details.
Finally, I have to mention the expert translation done by Manolis Antonoyiannakis and Leonidas Tsetseris. The prose is warm and inviting, flows readily, and is well written. Thus it's a pleasure to read. Additionally, the quality of my copy of the book is very good. It's a paperback, but the pages are slightly thicker and of better quality than is typical for a paperback textbook. All in all, this is a wonderful first book on quantum mechanics and is highly recommended for anyone looking for a truly first course in the subject."
"I have almost 20 years since I first studied quantum mechanics as a physics undergraduate and it was time for me to read a book to refresh concepts and really understand all the gaps I left empty during my studies. I have to say this is a very good book. I enjoyed the way it is written and how the author introduces the subject from the very beginning. The quality of the book is outstanding, in content and printing quality, paper colour, touch and “smell” (for those who even enjoy smelling their books)."