Two experienced pedagogues and researchers on laser cooling and trapping and quantum hydrodynamics have written a rigorous textbook for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. The work provides a comprehensive description of the fundamentals and of the awe-inspiring recent advances in atomic and molecular physics, such as the theory and the experimental techniques of Bose-Einstein condensation, laser cooling, and optical lattices.

The authors point out common misconceptions in atomic physics; e.g. about “virtual states,” resonances, and the vector potential. Each chapter is augmented with supplementary materials and exercises which assess comprehension and further the understanding of the content. There are detailed appendices on angular momentum and transition strengths as well as references to key sources and an index. Detailed tables and plots of experimental data permit the numerical calculation of physical parameters. The exact quantum mechanical solutions to a few physical problems are derived as well as the various useful approximations for atoms and molecules, and their limitations are clearly explained. 

Review by Barry R. Masters, Fellow of AAAS, OSA and SPIE.

The opinions expressed in the book review section are those of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect those of OPN or OSA.