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Does anyone have an idea for a self-study syllabus?

  1. Jul 15, 2010 #1
    A very odd question... But never-the-less I need some help w/ my personal QM studies.
    I'm just a lowly freshman here at UCSB and suddenly discovered an urge to study quantum mechanics.

    My roommate is a top-notch Physics grad working on his PhD, and he helps me with problem solving; but his teaching skills are garbage! (He hates teaching and refuses to do it).

    I've been working out of Griffiths for about 2-3 weeks now, normalizing probability densities, solving simple problems like the infinite square-well. Suddenly I find the material getting much more difficult and I don't know how to approach learning it. Sure I can push through everything in my path, but I honestly don't know when I've studied it enough!

    Anyone got some ideas about the duration of time I should be spending on each topic in Griffiths? I'm sure many will say that I should do it until I've mastered it, but I'm kind of looking for a practical university perspective on the subject; I have no way of knowing when I have or have not mastered the material!

    Maybe outlining the math I should cover between sections would help me out a bit.

    I have walls upon walls of Physics literature (I collect it... don't ask why...), so don't be afraid to recommend a book.

    So far I've been using Boas 2nd edition for Math and Griffiths Intro to Quantum (vol 1) for the QM.

    Ideally... (and I know it's a big request), if someone could outline a syllabus based on Griffiths or Greiner for about a quarter to 2 quarters worth of material, that would be absolutely wonderful. I would truly be in debt.

    Thanks for the help in advance, guys.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 15, 2010 #2
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Jul 15, 2010 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Since you're apparently trying to learn the necessary math along with the physics, you might try a QM book that goes into more detail on the math. For example, this one:


    I've used it for my QM course, with students whose math background tends to be shaky. It works out a lot of stuff explicitly and discusses problem-solving strategies. Some might say it goes too far in that direction, and in fact I sometimes have trouble finding a specific topic because there's so much detail. But you also have Griffiths which you can use for the "big picture."
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Jul 15, 2010 #4
    Hmm Griffith's QM, let me guess, is it chapter 3 that is hard for you?
  6. Jul 16, 2010 #5
    Chapter 3 isn't too bad, I have a very good set of notes on dual-spaces and Dirac notation.

    I'm not having a hard time with the math; I just feel like I'm not going into great enough depths.
  7. Jul 16, 2010 #6
    Holy crap I had this guy for my thermo class. Great guy, he won't let you leave his class without learning the material. Weird thing is, a lot of students dislike him BECAUSE he tries to be so helpful. He's also a join professor in the English department here at OU.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Jul 16, 2010 #7

    What specifically is giving you trouble?
  9. Jul 17, 2010 #8
    I'm having trouble approaching how to learn the material. I can essentially learn anything I read, the problem sets have seemed rather easy thus far.

    I'd like to know points to pay close attention to, or maybe points I should seek a greater depth of understanding in beyond Griffiths. Maybe understanding enough math for Griffiths isn't enough, should I seek further knowledge at this introductory phase? Can I lay back on some topics?

    Maybe I should just do all of Griffiths... But that's inconceivable for a summers work (it took me 3 weeks working 4-5 hours a day to pile-drive through the first 3 chapters and understand).
  10. Jul 17, 2010 #9
    When I said that the material is getting more difficult, I was meaning to imply that it is taking greater lengths of time to comprehend.
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