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Doing my science degree

  1. Mar 25, 2009 #1
    Hi everyone, I am new and I hope I am posting this in the right place......I am a 35 year old woman and live with two brilliant boys(my partner and son).

    Fate has landed me an opportunity to explore a long time fascination with quantum physics......I am housebound by physical illness and since I was doing my science degree when my affliction hit, I really miss the "talking science" I had at uni.

    I have only touched on quantum physics in chemistry at uni and have been hooked since then. I have done a bit of basic reading on string theory but thats it.....

    So please be patient with me as I try and understand some of the more complex theories and if someone feels pity for me, a bit of a basics crash course would really help.....:biggrin:

    I am good at algebra but not familiar with some of the more complex mathematics........I am terrible at what I think is called "classic physics" but did really well with quantum......think it is all about the size!! My partner really helped me with the "big physics".

    Thanks again and I look forward to reading what all you brilliant minds have to say!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2009 #2


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    Re: Newbie!!!

    Welcome michah! I hope you enjoy your stay. :smile:
  4. Mar 25, 2009 #3
    Re: Newbie!!!

    Welcome to PF. Sorry to hear about your illness. I took a course on QM from the physics department last semester (I study maths) and to me it seemed pretty hard as I was missing all the classical knowledge which I suppose was obvious for physicists. They also seem to do a lot more trickery than I am used to (e.g. picking constants to make an operator Hermitian). I think classical physics may help you a lot if you want to study QM, thought you certainly don't need it as I proved :biggrin:.

    Enjoy your time here.
  5. Mar 25, 2009 #4

    George Jones

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    Re: Newbie!!!

    Have you studied calculus?

    Was the quantum course calculus-based?
    What was the text for the course? Did you find it readable?

    I am interested in whether people can learn physics by self-study and/or with gaps in their background,

  6. Mar 25, 2009 #5
    Re: Newbie!!!

    I was missing the prequel to the course that the physicist had the previous year, the reading list was

    A Rae A.I.M. Quantum Mechanics 2002 (New York:
    Taylor & Francis)

    B Mandl F. Quantum Mechanics 1992 (Chichester:

    B Eisberg R. and Resnick R. Quantum Physics 2nd ed.
    1985 (New York: Wiley)

    C McQuarrie D.A. Quantum Chemistry 1983
    (Sausalito, CA: University Science Books)

    I got a first for that module, the exam was pretty easy. It did take me until the middle of the semester to start understanding what was going on but I got there eventually.

    I have been studying Levy processes on my own via various books but I am doing a project on them so I have a supervisor to ask questions every week :biggrin:

    The OP may want to look at A on the reading list. It was a pretty nice book.
  7. Mar 25, 2009 #6


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    Gold Member

    Re: Newbie!!!

    Welcome to PF, Michah. You've certainly come to the right place.
  8. Mar 25, 2009 #7
    Re: Newbie!!!

    Hi. Welcome to PF. Hope you get well soon.
  9. Mar 25, 2009 #8
    Re: Newbie!!!

  10. Mar 25, 2009 #9
    Re: Newbie!!!

    Thanks everyone!!.....I feel very welcome......I was unsure if this forum was a bit advanced for me and would get in everyones way.....

    The positive out of this illness is that I have been able to concentrate on the "existential" and "the building blocks of matter". I have always had a curious mind and have been able to spend time just observing.......been good for my state of mind........and science helps me relax.......even the really hard stuff!! Thank you all for your good wishes......

    I cannot remember peoples names so........calculus at uni, can you please describe all this entails and i can tell you what I have covered. I only completed first year in chemistry, life science and physics.

    Thank you for the recommendation on books.......I need to read more so I can engage in conversation on this forum........primarily, I need to learn the basic language so I can understand.

    My first question........I am not sure, thinking back, whether what I did in chemistry is called Atomic theory, quantum physics, quantum mechanics or quantum theory. We touched on sub-atomic particles, I cannot remember which ones but more on the relationship of electrons and atomic bonds(gosh, hope i am using the right words). I did watch this amazing doco on string theory and tried to read a bit about it........don't know what everyones feelings are on this one. As far as i know, it is quite controversial but amazingly beautiful.

    Could someone please explain the difference? In my learning experience here, I am a quick learner but due to my illness I get terrible brain fog and obvious things seem very abstract and other times it is as clear as day......

    Thanks again........I am excited!!:smile:
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2009
  11. Mar 25, 2009 #10


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    Gold Member

    Re: Newbie!!!

    You're covered every which way, young lady. You have everything from me, who never finished high-school, up to guys who work at major particle accelerators or design jet engines. Also a couple of medical doctors, biologists, environmentalists... jeez, just name it and you have someone here who is an expert in the field. More to the point, every single one of them will treat you as an equal and try to educate you to the best of their ability. There's no penalty for lack of understanding; they just take a different approach to make the point, or turn if over to someone else who is more attuned to your mindset. This is the best learning forum on the net, bar none.
  12. Mar 25, 2009 #11
    Re: Newbie!!!

    The last three are the same thing (as far as I am aware), and atomic theory is heavily linked to quantum mechanics but it is not the same. Atomic theory describes and models atoms.

    I completely agree. I joined the forum back when I was in school, then didn't come back until this summer when I remembered this place. Its pretty much the next best thing to asking a lecturer.
  13. Mar 26, 2009 #12
    Re: Newbie!!!

    Thank you!!!!
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