The Principles of Quantum Mechanics

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The Principles of Quantum Mechanics
The principles of quantum mechanics - title page.jpg
Title page of the first edition
AuthorPaul Dirac
CountryUnited Kingdom
SubjectPhysics, quantum mechanics
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication date
Media typePrint
Pages257 pp.

The Principles of Quantum Mechanics is an influential monograph on quantum mechanics written by Paul Dirac and first published by Oxford University Press in 1930.[1] Dirac gives an account of quantum mechanics by "demonstrating how to construct a completely new theoretical framework from scratch"; "problems were tackled top-down, by working on the great principles, with the details left to look after themselves".[2] It leaves classical physics behind after the first chapter, presenting the subject with a logical structure. Its 82 sections contain 785 equations with no diagrams.[2]

Dirac is credited with developing the subject "particularly in Cambridge and Göttingen between 1925–1927" (Farmelo).[2]


The first and second editions of the book were published in 1930 and 1935.[3]

In 1947 the third edition of the book was published, in which the chapter on quantum electrodynamics was rewritten particularly with the inclusion of electron-positron creation.[3]

In the fourth edition, 1958, the same chapter was revised, adding new sections on interpretation and applications. Later a revised fourth edition appeared in 1967.[3]

Beginning with the third edition (1947), the mathematical descriptions of quantum states and operators were changed to use the Bra–ket notation, introduced in 1939 and largely developed by Dirac himself [4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Paul A.M. Dirac – Biography". The Nobel Prize in Physics 1933. Retrieved September 26, 2011. Dirac's publications include ... The Principles of Quantum Mechanics (1930; 3rd ed. 1947).
  2. ^ a b c Farmelo, Graham (June 2, 1995). "Speaking Volumes: The Principles of Quantum Mechanics" (Book review). Times Higher Education Supplement: 20. Retrieved 2011-09-26.
  3. ^ a b c Dalitz, R. H. (1995). The Collected Works of P. A. M. Dirac: Volume 1: 1924–1948. Cambridge University Press. pp. 453–454. ISBN 9780521362313.
  4. ^ PAM Dirac (1939). "A new notation for quantum mechanics". Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. 35 (3): 416–418. Bibcode:1939PCPS...35..416D. doi:10.1017/S0305004100021162.