Item description for Advanced Quantum Mechanics by Freeman Dyson; David Derbes...
Renowned physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson is famous for his work in quantum mechanics, nuclear weapons policy and bold visions for the future of humanity. In the 1940s, he was responsible for demonstrating the equivalence of the two formulations of quantum electrodynamics Richard Feynman's diagrammatic path integral formulation and the variational methods developed by Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonoga showing the mathematical consistency of QED. This invaluable volume comprises the legendary, never-before-published, lectures on quantum electrodynamics first given by Dyson at Cornell University in 1951. The late theorist Edwin Thompson Jaynes once remarked "For a generation of physicists they were the happy medium: clearer and motivated than Feynman, and getting to the point faster than Schwinger . Future generations of physicists are bound to read these lectures with pleasure, benefiting from the lucid style that is so characteristic of Dyson's exposition.
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Studio: World Scientific Publishing Company
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.6" Width: 6.3" Height: 0.7" Weight: 1.1 lbs.
Release Date Mar 12, 2007
Publisher World Scientific Publishing Company
ISBN 9812706615 ISBN13 9789812706614
Reviews - What do customers think about Advanced Quantum Mechanics?
readers digest version of quantum mechanics Sep 30, 2007
This book is not worth buying. Dyson gives us conclusions without showing metodology. It is virtually impossible to use.
deserves a Nobel Jul 6, 2007
I had the pleasure of meeting Freeman Dyson twice. On both occasions, he was promoting his books, aimed at a general audience. (One was Weapons and Hope, on the nuclear arms race.) In contrast is this recent, yet old book. It encapsulates lectures he gave in the 1940s and 50s, on relativistic quantum mechanics, as it was then understood.
The presentation is really meant only for physicist readers. Undergrad physics majors need to have studied quantum mechanics, at least to the level of being fluent with the Schrodinger equation. That assumes non-relativistic conditions. The relativistic equivalent is treated here.
So one of the key ideas is the propagator. But the resultant integral equations are often very difficult to solve or understand. One approach was taken by Schwinger and Tomonaga, which was essentially to plow ahead and try to solve these. Very hard, even for the best physicists. As the book should let you appreciate, the maths gets so tangled, that you can easily lose track of the physical meaning, if any.
Then along came Feynman, with his famous insight into the diagrams that now bear his name. The book gives a detailed treatment. Of what the diagrams actually mean. And how you can take a diagram, and write down and (hopefully) solve the corresponding equation. But, more than just doing maths, the diagrams give an intuitive physical meaning. This has been their primary attraction.
For decades, there have been other books on this subject. By Sakurai and others. Written in the years after Dyson gave the lectures on which this book is based. The book's biggest merit may thus be historical. Had Dyson published it during those early years, it might have been a classic. Still, better late than never. Almost all the main physicists involved in those years are dead. Dyson keeps chugging along. Good for him!
What this book does not ruminate on is perhaps as interesting as what it says. Feynman, Schwinger and Tomonaga shared the Nobel in physics for their work on quantum electrodynamics (=relativistic quantum mechanics). There is a maximum of 3 winners for each Nobel. Amongst some other physicists, it has been a longstanding contention that Dyson is entitled to a Nobel. He is profiled along with them in Schweber's account, QED and the Men Who Made It. In that book, Schweber depicts Dyson's contribution as equal to any of their's. When I got Dyson's autograph, it was on a copy of the Schweber book. He laughed when he saw the book, and said their efforts outweighed his. Natural modesty, perhaps. Others would say the Nobel committee shortchanged him.
Now if you do want more details about how the idea of Feynman diagrams spread, check out Drawing Theories Apart: The Dispersion of Feynman Diagrams in Postwar Physics. It has less on the physics than Dyson's book. But more on the sociology of how the idea caught on.