I have a BS in Physics, I've completed my studies many years ago, but not in English. I've worked in the computer industry meanwhile (my coding background is solid). Recently I've completed an MS in Data Science, so basic calculus and algebra are fresh in my mind (along with lots of statistics, lol).

During my Physics studies, I took a solid Quantum Mechanics 101 class. E.g. I've sat through deducing the equations for the electron in the hydrogen atom, and understood it. I was able to solve basic scenarios. But I've never used QM after school, so the functional knowledge is gone, although I still have the high-level concepts. I lost all my books and notes from college.

I plan to self-study quantum computing. I will follow the Nielsen and Chuang book for that. But before I do that, I want to go again through QM 101, to make sure I can still play that game and I'm comfortable doing it.

I have a short list of QM textbooks that I need to choose from. Please note, I am unfamiliar with the English literature on QM.

  • Griffiths
  • Shankar
  • Townsend
  • Sakurai

I was told Griffiths would be a good foundation for QC studies because it uses Schrodinger's formalism from the start, as opposed to matrix QM.

Another requirement for the textbook is: it must have plenty of exercises to solve, along with solutions.

Given all of the above, which QM textbook would you recommend from that list, and why?

Or is there another textbook I should start with, and why?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You might want to poke around the course websites for introductory quantum mechanics courses at major universities and see what textbook is listed in the syllabus. For example, Stanford's intro online course in QM (SOE-YEEQMSE01) uses the textbook "Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers" (Cambridge, 2008) $\endgroup$
    – hft
    Feb 21 at 21:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If your goal is learning quantum computing, Nielsen & Chuang is the efficient way to get there. It is fairly self-contained for quantum computing with finite-dimensional systems (e.g. qubits). Its also uses notation/formalism that is fairly standard in the field. $\endgroup$
    – forky40
    Feb 21 at 21:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If you care about theoretical quantum computing you can quite easily do it without knowing any quantum mechanics. It can be easily abstracted away from the physics, you just learn the rules of the game: states, transformations and measurements and then go from there. $\endgroup$
    – Rammus
    Feb 21 at 23:14

1 Answer 1


See this answer in the Physics Stack Exchange.

FWIW, I have a more mathematical bent, so I'm not a big fan of Griffiths, and highly recommend Shankar. Sakurai is also great, but quite a bit more advanced; Townsend is kind of a "baby" Sakurai, but I'd honestly recommend Shankar or even diving directly into Sakurai instead.


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