This book, The Feynman Lectures on Physics 3 – Quantum Mechanics, belongs to the three-volume series by Nobel prize winner Richard P. Feynman and coworkers. It started with a lecture series Feynman gave at Caltech and has since been edited. The notable thing about this book is that it is fairly accessible for non-physicists – much more than most other quantum physics books. We review the classic edition (Third printing, 1966), there is however an updated Millenium edition.
Images in the book are black and white only, but there are a lot of them, which greatly helps the understanding. The book has around 350 pages with nearly A4 size. For most people, this is the perfect beginner book. Only if you don’t want to see any formulas, you may want to choose a book that is written more with the non-scientist reader in mind. Physics students, on the other hand, may complain that there are no exercises in the book. There is however a complete exercise book in addition to the three volume series. Anyway, The Feynman Lectures on Physics 3 – Quantum Mechanics is certainly a fantastic book. Now let’s have a look at the individual categories that we review for quantum physics books.
Motivation for quantum physics
The book directly starts with the particle-wave duality. Already in the very first pages it becomes clear, that classical physics is not enough to describe electrons and photons. The strong motivation for quantum mechanics continues with thought experiments around the double slit experiment. Then the book explains the uncertainty principle. The second chapter explains the relation between wave and particle viewpoints. Among other things, it introduces energy quantization, another big point in demonstrating quantum physics over classical physics. Altogether, The Feynman Lectures on Physics 3 – Quantum Mechanics does a fantastic job in motivating quantum physics already during the first 20 pages, and we can thus award 5 stars for this category.
The images in this book strongly enhance the understanding. And there are a lot of them! We counted nearly 200 images on 350 pages, that is more than one image per two pages. According to our review principles, we can therefore award five stars for the images in this book, even though they are not in color but black and white only.
This book is certainly suited for physics students, since it has a lot of formulas. We counted 989 numbered formulas, plus some more displayed formulas without numbers, plus inline formulas. This is clearly enough to not subtract points for having too few formulas.
Quantum Physics Exercises
Unfortunatelly, there are no exercises in the book at all. However, there is an exercise book with exercises for all three volumes of the series. This is great news for physics students. Nevertheless, since The Feynman Lectures on Physics 3 – Quantum Mechanics itself does not have any exercises, we have to give the lowest one-star rating for exercises.
Summary of the Feynman Lectures on Physics 3 – Quantum Mechanics
The Feynman Lectures on Physics 3 – Quantum Mechanics is a fantastic book for physics students, but also accessible for non-physicists that do not shy away when seeing formulas. Many images help with the understanding, and for those who need exercises there is an exercise book to the series. The price tag is much lower than for most other quantum physics books that are suitable for studies, so having a look can’t hurt. Alternatively, see our comparison of the best quantum physics books for beginners.
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