Brett Williams's Reviews > Elementary Quantum Mechanics

Elementary Quantum Mechanics by David S. Saxon
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Read 2 times. Last read January 31, 2019 to March 16, 2019.

This text has been with us since 1968 and still in classrooms for a reason—because it’s a fine treatment of a queer subject. The author, David S. Saxon (1920 – 2005) from Minnesota was professor of physics in much nicer weather at UCLA after a storied career at MIT’s famous Rad Lab during and after WWII (Rad for radiation/radar). He also survived Trump’s crooked mafia lawyer Roy Cohn and his pal Joseph McCarthy during the Red Scare. While Cohn and McCarthy went to hell, Saxon got tenure, became a member of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and president of the University of California system.

This is also the text I used all those years ago when blazing a streak across the college physics sky I hit suddenly the black hole of quantum that quenched that burn from my trajectory. How all of physics could make intuitive sense, even Relativity, only to find quantum defy that in my last semester left me dazed. Having years later made friends with quantum and now part of personal pursuits (hence my return to the text), it’s hard to say if it was me, the instructor, Saxon, or some combination. I believe the first listed, however, in rereading the text I see in my marginalia the same questions I have now regarding Saxon’s “assumed” starting functions and “evidently” such and such as true. “Where did that come from? What makes you say that?” I wrote. I also have a new comparison: David J. Griffiths’ 2017 Intro to Quantum 2nd Ed. While Saxon’s text still holds a sentimental place for me all those years ago when I was young and the world was new, if I had a son or daughter exposed to this subject they would read Griffiths. Little I’ve seen can compare to the intuitive excitement of Griffiths’ treatment. For that reason I would rate Saxon’s work as solid, at times exceptional (see his interference of wavefunctions to explain the double slit experiment), but with a bow to the new guy on the block: Griffiths.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 31, 2019 – Started Reading
January 31, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
January 31, 2019 – Shelved
March 16, 2019 – Finished Reading

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