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Attempting to learn a little bit of Quantum physics at 17

  1. Jun 24, 2014 #1
    I'm 17 years old and plan to study theoretical physics at university. I want to try and learn a bit of quantum physics just because it interests me; got to spend the summer doing something! Sadly I only have a AS level understanding (including FP1) of maths so can anyone recommend any resources (preferably videos) that I can use to try and learn a bit more advanced mathematics and eventually quantum physics.

    Thanks to all that reply!

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 24, 2014 #2
    I don't know what maths you have covered. Have you done calculus yet? If so consider watching these:

    Multivariable Calculus:

    Linear Algebra:

    The videos continue on (Lec. 2, Lec. 3, ...) , covering an entire semester. The information contains links to the corresponding OCW pages, which have the syllabi, homework assignments, etc. I would be advisable to do some problems in addition to watching the videos.

    That should keep you busy for some time.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  4. Jun 24, 2014 #3
    Thanks for the relply! I'll get back to you when I've finished watching the videos. Will probably be a while!
  5. Jun 24, 2014 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    This is a fun book about general physics at an introductory level. It's got some basic stuff in it, but also some more intermediate and interesting stuff. Check it out at a local bookstore or online to see if it would be a good read for the summer:

    Thinking Physics by Carol: https://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Phy...d=1403651444&sr=8-1&keywords=thinking+physics

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Jun 24, 2014 #5


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    Gold Member

    Don't they teach Quantum Mechanics in AS level ?
  7. Jun 24, 2014 #6


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    This book is incredible!

    EVERYONE should have this on their shelf.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  8. Jun 25, 2014 #7
    No, they don't teach quantum mechanics at A Level(High School) at all beyond a superficial and non-mathematical glimpse. At A Level Maths, you haven't done any linear algebra, only a little matrices which you can do some of in FP1, which I am given to understand is necessary for QM.
  9. Jun 25, 2014 #8


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    I wanted the OP to say that himself. Thanks anyway.

    OP: remember what you studied in your A-levels that E=hf ? You needed to know what energy is from classical physics before you could understand that equation. Likewise, if you want to study more advanced quantum mechanics, you need to cover the classical physics counterpart first, in addition to covering the necessary mathematics.

    There are many threads asking the same question as yours, you can use the search function if you want.
  10. Jun 25, 2014 #9
    They do a bit of the photoelectric effect and E=hf but that's about it. Do you know of any lectures online that I can use to learn more advanced classical mechanics?
  11. Jun 25, 2014 #10
  12. Jun 25, 2014 #11
    Yeah I've seen some of the Walter Lewin lectures. Such a good lecturer!
  13. Jun 25, 2014 #12
    Sorry, I thought you were just looking for an answer.
  14. Jun 25, 2014 #13
    Yes, he is. My problem with these are that I wasn't able to buy the book so instead I am using Kleppner and Kolenkow and then just revising the content in the chapters relevant to the lecture so that I can do the problems in K&K. It is working well so far. Alternatively, take a look at this which is a lot more all inclusive and contains exercises for which no book is needed. If you can get or have no need for the book however, have fun!
  15. Jun 25, 2014 #14
    Note: I would use K&K if you want a more mathematical approach to it because the usual course for this(MIT OCW 8.012) has no lectures or lecture notes. Therefore, I would go through K&K and watch the lectures together. I really have not been doing it long at all but it seems good so far so I thought it was worth mentioning.
  16. Jun 25, 2014 #15
    Hey I'm 17 too and for the past few years I've been trying to learn everything I can about physics. But I don't know exactly what I'm going to study in college yet. What university are you planning to attend?
  17. Jun 25, 2014 #16

    Omg Professor Auroux!! I love him :). Definitely my best math professor. It was a pleasure having him for multivariable and getting to listen to him talk every lecture :))))))
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  18. Jun 25, 2014 #17
    I don't know depends on my AS results really. I think I did well but you never know until results day. I'd like to go to a top uni like oxford, Cambridge and imperial but lack the self-belief:L I just think I'll get rejected... Hopefully a good university though; I've had a look at Bath and am going to Warwick in September. How about you?
  19. Jun 25, 2014 #18
    I apologise for the off-topic post.

    Why the lack in self-belief? I have spoken to cambridge admissions at Trinity, cambridge and they say that it is not even about the grades all that much. As long as you get say an A*AA or A*A*B or something like that, you are deemed a reasonable candidate and given an interview. At this point, it is all down to the interview and any tests they give. This is what counts the most and somebody who does well at this but less so on the AS's will be seen in a very good light.

    I also inquired about interviews and how you appear, because of my Aspergers and they say that lack of outgoing self confidence is very common at interviews and they are very good at seeing beyond it and it's not a problem at all. That may of course not be what you mean by self belief.

    As a disclaimer, I have no personal experience but I have been in contact with admissions staff.

    I apologise if it's too personal, but what are you hoping to get at AS?
  20. Jun 25, 2014 #19
    Hopefully As in maths, f.maths and physics and a B in chemistry (which I'm dropping). I think I could maybe get an A* in maths just have to boss C3 and C4... Think you have to get over 80 UMS in each unit as well, not sure though.
  21. Jun 25, 2014 #20
    The 80UMS thing is right. However, that is average so you can get lower in some modules if you make it up in others. Why not get a headstart and start prep for C3 and C4 over the summer, if you weren't already. I wouldn't do much but just a little for the last couple of weeks or something similar. I wouldn't do it instead of anything else though like the physics. Do you know the website Examsolutions.com? If not, check it out. It has loads of great videos.

    That's great grades! If I was in your position now, I would apply to the lot (Cambridge, Imperial, Warwick). If you can pull it off and then get A* in maths, you should get into one at least, as long as the interview/tests go well. I am given to believe that Oxford will require you to do the 'Physics Admissions Test'.

    Again, I am sorry for going off topic.
  22. Jun 25, 2014 #21
    I've done a bit of polar coordinates for FP2 and we've started C3 in school but I'll probably do some over the summer. And yeah I've had a look at the admission tests for Oxford. The maths part looks pretty straight forward but the physics questions at the end can be tricky... I'm not really dead-set on going to Oxbridge I just want to go to a good university and do physics:L As long as I'm doing physics I don't really mind where I go:L
  23. Jun 25, 2014 #22
    Excellent, I agree all of the way. I love it so I will study it anyway. I just thought I'd put in there to tell you that self-belief isn't necessary, although sadly unavoidable. It doesn't really matter where you study as long as it does what you want.

    FP2 is quite interesting. I know Edexcel and it includes Differential Equations in FP2 - that is fun. Good luck!
  24. Jun 25, 2014 #23
    Yeah, teaching material is all the same and I'd assume all of the top 15-20 have good lecturers. Guess it depends on your preference and how you like to learn...
  25. Jun 25, 2014 #24
    Yeah, I find it odd sometimes on PF because they use all of these great books like Kleppner and Kolenkow or Goldstein etc. at top universities and I never see them on UK uni websites. I may be completely wrong but it seems like it. It may be the same in America of course. For example, Kibble and Berkshires "Classical Mechanics" is commonly used in the UK I believe and its ICP but I don't think it's widely used in the USA or elsewhere. I may be wrong, of course. :confused:
  26. Jun 25, 2014 #25
    Didn't see the fp2 part:L and yeah I love further maths! Don't think there is any differential equations though- they're in C4.
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