Concepts in quantum mechanics

Concepts in quantum mechanics

Book Renews ist, and the power economist. Information on the various procedures developed for radioactive waste disposal had to be gleaned mA.iuly fro...

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Book Renews ist, and the power economist. Information on the various procedures developed for radioactive waste disposal had to be gleaned mA.iuly from the proceedings of successive international and national conferences devoted to this topic, and more recently from the brief, but excellent summaries published in the International Atomic Energy Agency's Safety Series. The appearance of a comprehensive text dealing with the management of radioactive wastes is, therefore, a welcome event. The author and his colleagues at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. have long been in the forefront of research on waste disposal problems. The material deals with the general principles of waste management, the treatment of gaseous, liquid and solid wastes---their disposal under ground and in sea and fresh waters--and methods of monitoring and control. The text is highly readable and comprehensive, but lacks almost completely any details of the chemistry of the processes employed or the economic factors involved in the choice of a given process. Each chapter ends with a concise summary, but a more critical comparison of the various methods would have been welcome. The chapter references are fairly complete, but confined to the literature up to 1963, with a few later references in the appendix. The production of the book is excellent, although the photographs reproduced are generally rather uninformative compared with the line drawings. The book should be of particular value to the health physicist seeking a clear review of methods and procedures used; the nuclear engineer and the economist, requiring more detailed information, will probably prefer the books by Stranb and Amphlett. GEOFFREY G. EICHHOLZ

School of Nuclear Engineering Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, Georgia CONCEPTSIN QUANTUMMECHANICS,by F. A. Kaempffer. 358 pages, diagrams, 6 X 9 in. New York and London, Academic Press, Inc., 1965. Price, $9.75. While we have no shortage of textbooks in quantum mechanics, not many of their authors are either sufficiently concerned or


can spare the space to include a thorough discussion of principles. The factual part of quantum mechanics is presently so rich in content and the associated mathematical techniques are so extensive, that the problem of space is a very real one. If concepts are to be adequately explained in a book of reasonable size, one possible approach is a drastic restriction in content relating to factual material. Such, at any rate, appears to be the major motivation of the book under review. Because of its pioneer features, this book reflects moreover to a larger degree than usual in textbooks on well-trodden subjects, the personal tastes and predilections of its author. It is therefore easy to agree with the author's concluding statement in the preface "that in fact this work may find its most common use as a supplementary text to the more standard treatments." The lucid and engaging style, the attractive printing, and the relatively reasonable price of the book, should enhance its usefulness in this capacity. Within the main objective of the text, that of developing the central concepts of quantum mechanics, the author has also apparently foregone (perhaps wisely) any attempt at comprehensiveness of treatment. The nature and scope of the probabilistic interpretation at the base of quantum mechanics, for instance, is generally discussed in too terse a manner. The inclusion of two sections describing Schwinger's symbolic formulation of the laws that govern measurements in the quantum domain, interesting as this formulation undoubtedly is, can scarcely be expected to be pedagogically very helpful in this connection. Another topic that is almost completely ignored in what concerns the insights into quantum mechanical principles that it affords, is the elementary nonrelativistic scattering theory. Largely skirted also is the basic though troublesome problem of the state vectors that are not in Hilbert space (and, incidentally, the use of the term 'Hflbert space' on p. 55 in connection with such quantities is a little more than unorthodox). On the other hand, the role of symmetry principles, whose importance has been increasingly recognized during the past decade, is discussed at great length, and forms a central theme of the exposition.

Journal of The FrankUn Institute

Book Reviews Sections 14 and 26 deal with parity conservation, and Section 15 concerning timereversal invariance also includes a discussion of the idea of superselection, while a discussion of selection rules under combined time-reversal and particle conjugation is contained in Section 28. This material together with the better part of the remaining sections of the book can serve as a useful introduction to a central group of ideas that enters in the analysis of elementary particle experiments. This presumably was a principal objective of the author. In Section 29 he develops with care the conservation rules operating in strong interactions involving isospin and strangeness or hypercharge. In the same direction also are the quantum mechanical treatments of polarization for both fermions and bosons, and rapid introductions to the relativistic theory of spin t particles and to quantum electrodynamics. A secondary theme is developed briefly, but with gusto, in Sections 11 and 30 by way of introduction to many-particle methods connected with Landau's quasiparticle concept as applied to the explanation of superfluidity and superconductivity. An attractive feature of the book is the inclusion of brief but informative historical notes at the end of each section. A few omissions need, however, to be pointed out. The omission of any reference to Bohm's well-known book on the subject is surprising. The interesting treatment of the Pauli spin theory (Section 2) starting with the natural assumption that the expectation value of the spin operator behaves as a vector under rotations, is also to be found in the recent book on quantum mechanics by Merzbachero Among the references in Section 19 one would expect to see the names of Foldy and Wouthuysen. But in the main, the references with which each section ends represent a useful selection from the vast literature on the subject. Other attractive features are the nonabundancc of misprints and the good subject and author indexes. All in all, this book should form a worthwhile addition to the library of both teacher and student of quantum mechanics. H. M. SCHWARTZ

Department of Physics University of Arkansas Fayetteville, Arkansas

VoL 281, No. 2, February 1966

THE TECHNOLOGY OF NUCLEAR REACTOR SAFETY. Vol. I: Reactor Physics and Control, edited by T. J. Thompson and J. G. Beckerley. 743 pages, diagrams, illustrations, 7 X 10 in. Cambridge, Mass., The M.I.T. Press, 1964. Price, $25.00. This is the first of a two-volume work instigated by the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards and supported by the Atomic Energy Commission. The second volume, also currently available but not reviewed here, is entitled "Reactor Materials and Engineering." Each volume consists of ten or more chapters written by authors who are both active and expert in their subject. There has resulted a monumental and scholarly work, both individually and collectively. It is clear from Volume I that this constitutes a highly coordinated and well edited work in which the authors exchanged manuscripts, compared content, subjected their drafts for review by other experts, and otherwise effected a detailed and organized presentation of their very diverse subject matter. This being the case it is hardly appropriate for another reviewer to pass judgment on the book's technical content or detail. In a very large sense this has already been done in the course of the book's production. Safety, being peripheral to an engineering art, is difficult to discuss without the full development and background of the main field, i.e. the engineering aimed at practical and economic objectives. This being so, it might have been better to have made The Technology of Nuclear ~afety a coordinated part of a larger shelf on nuclear engineering. In this way the discussion of safety could have leaned on basic expositions developed elsewhere in the series. Treating safety as a subject in itself has required that the authors develop considerable material around their subject matter. They have done this in part individually, and in part by coordinated and planned ordering of their subject matter. Volume I proceeds from two general and very thorough chapters on "The Reactor Core" and "General Reactor Dynamics" to more specific aspects, such as "Criticality" and "Sensing and Control Instrumentation." I t ends in a series of chapters on the kinetics of the