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Waves and Oscillations: A Prelude to Quantum Mechanics places a unique emphasis on the deep connections between classical waves and oscillations and quantum mechanics.  Most scientists and engineers understand these connections, but too often they are not stressed to students.  This lively book uses these relationships to give additional motivation, without attempting to teach the quantum mechanics.  It offers students an engaging and thorough understanding of how modern aspects of physics are deeply rooted in classical aspects of the field, while providing them with the skill sets necessary to overcome the conceptual and mathematical challenges they will encounter as they move forward in the study of physics.

Themes featured in Waves and Oscillations: A Prelude to Quantum Mechanics include:

  • A thorough grounding in complex exponentials and the key aspects of differential equations and matrix math
  • Clearly drawn parallels between normal mode analysis, orthogonal function analysis, and superposition of quantum states
  • An in-depth, accessible introduction to Hilbert space and bra-ket notation, emphasizing the analogy with conventional dot products
  • Connections to current physics research in atomic force microscopy, chaos, supersolids, micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), magnetic resonance imaging, and carbon nanotubes

The text incorporates a variety of tools aimed at promoting active learning. Conceptual self-tests and sample and practice problems are included in the text, and an interactive companion website offers educational activities and related links. Comprehensively, the book offers a way for students to build a solid foundation for a rich and rewarding study of quantum mechanics in a subsequent course.

About the Author:
Walter Fox Smith is Professor of Physics at Haverford College and a member of the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers. He can be contacted at wsmith@haverford.edu.

Look for much more supplementary material to be posted on this page in the coming months.


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