Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Current REU student, new to forums

  1. Jun 15, 2010 #1
    Hi everybody,

    I just joined these fine forums after having spent the last couple of years lurking and occasionally collecting needed information. I'm currently occupying a position at a REU (stands for Research Experience for Undergrads) at the University of Oregon in this summer between my junior and senior years as an undergraduate. So, that's what's going on with me.

    My research project is in Quantum Information Science (aka quantum computing).
    It just started and I have zero research experience. Most of the lab stuff we'll be doing is in the realm of optics, which so far means working with lasers and setting up interferometers.
    Have I grabbed your attention yet?

    I was wondering if someone could point me in the direction of some good material in the area of introductory quantum (i.e. what means what in a (psi) wave function especially) as well as any other helpful resources for someone in my position (maybe a newbie's guide to differential equations and any specific maths related to quantum/optics, and anything to do with research etc). I have only had through calculus 2 and the highest physics I've had is classical mechanics! So i feel a bit overwhelmed as you might imagine. But I'm trying not to be discouraged.

    I am currently working through some of Eugene Hecht's OPTICS book (2nd edition, pretty outdated and so I can't find solutions online) so if anyone can help me there I'd greatly appreciate that. Also I apologize if there was a more appropriate place for me to post this message. Thanks for reading. Peace
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 15, 2010 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome skeith!!
  4. Jun 15, 2010 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Hi skeith, welcome to PF!

    You'll probably want to learn some linear algebra to really understand QM. If you've had calc 2, it won't be too difficult.
  5. Jun 16, 2010 #4
    Cool, congratulations.

    I have to admit, Im quite jealous. I tried like hell to get an REU and couldn't get any, then I went to that grad school to do just what you are describing but never got the opportunity. Sounds like alot of fun, what group are you working in?
  6. Jun 16, 2010 #5
    Hey, that's great to hear! thanks for the encouragement. Any recommendations for starting materials in linear algebra?

    Well, I guess it's just luck of the draw, truth be told you probably would have known what the heck was going on a lot sooner than i will. Honestly i feel kind of undeserving.
    The group I'm in is Dr. Michael Raymer's Quantum Information Science project. So far I've been given a book on the basics of optics and been shown how to align a laser and set up a very basic interferometer, which from what I can tell from discussions will act as a 2-D parity sorter. The basic idea is to sort photons based on their spin states in order to create a stage for applications in computer science at the quantum level. I've got much to learn :)
  7. Jun 20, 2010 #6
    how the hell did you get an REU position without knowing any quantum or optics?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook