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What concepts and theorems are most important? Anything from linear algebra I should review?

Thanks.

- Thread starter Saladsamurai
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- #1

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What concepts and theorems are most important? Anything from linear algebra I should review?

Thanks.

- #2

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- #3

diazona

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E&M is rather different; linear algebra is not so important, but vector calculus is. You'd need to be very familiar with the vector identities listed on the inside front cover of the book, and the various coordinate systems listed on the inside back cover (well, Cartesian, cylindrical, and spherical - they're pretty standard); also things like Stokes' theorem and the divergence theorem. Be sure you're comfortable with doing line integrals, surface integrals, and volume integrals in 3D space.

To some extent, the math can be learned along the way (Griffiths does a fairly nice job of explaining the math that goes with the physics), but I think trying to go through either book without at least having seen the stuff beforehand would be a waste of your time.

- #4

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Griffiths EM is one of my favorite books of all time. You will need to be very familiar with multivariable calculus, so be sure to brush up on it. If you are not too comfortable with curvilinear transformations, the appendix does a great job with it.

Enjoy!

- #5

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for QM there's no hope. the math in that book is so sloppy and all over the place. I know all the linear algebra "required" for that book like the back of my hand and i still have no clue what he's talking about most of the time. learn how to do gamma integrals but that won't be useful till the last couple of chapters. you don't really need to know how to do anything because you're rarely asked to solve a problem from scratch. mostly it's just reapply the presented solution techniques with a whole lot of annoying algebra thrown in.

- #6

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haha. This is encouraging :rofl: This is self-study, so I am expecting to struggle through most of this and to be asking lots and lots of stupid little questions here on PF.

for QM there's no hope. the math in that book is so sloppy and all over the place. I know all the linear algebra "required" for that book like the back of my hand and i still have no clue what he's talking about most of the time. learn how to do gamma integrals but that won't be useful till the last couple of chapters. you don't really need to know how to do anything because you're rarely asked to solve a problem from scratch. mostly it's just reapply the presented solution techniques with a whole lot of annoying algebra thrown in.

Guess I should just dive right in.

- #7

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Fourier series would be a good thing to know how to do as well. This is used in both texts.

The E&M book is 1.0232 x 10^10000 times better than the QM book. The QM book is *horrible*. If you like math, prepare to become very angry at some places in that book (the author even admits you should become angry... there's a footnote saying as much, and I agree with him). He says "I'll explain this later" and never does... he'll say "as previously explained", and never did.

And conventional mathematical notation is, apparently, a suggestion, as he regularly abuses it (or at least it seemed so; it's been a while since I saw the book). Horrible, horrible book. If you can repress your gag reflex, though, you'll get a lot of good physics clotting your brain after that class.

- #8

diazona

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I will agree that it's not terribly detailed - once you've gone through the book and learned the material once or twice, there's not much more you can get out of it, and it quickly becomes easy to ask questions which Griffiths doesn't answer. But I still think it's a great introductory text. (And most people I know who have also used the book hold the same opinion)

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edit: In case you decide to review. There's also a full video course for differential equations that gets into complex numbers and might be helpful.

- #10

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it's not a good book for self study. shankar's principles of qm is a better book i hear. also Cohen-Tannoudji, Claude. Quantum Mechanics is goodhaha. This is encouraging :rofl: This is self-study, so I am expecting to struggle through most of this and to be asking lots and lots of stupid little questions here on PF.

Guess I should just dive right in.

- #11

diazona

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I'm using Cohen-Tannoudji's book for a class right now (finishing up a 1-year sequence) and, to put it bluntly, itit's not a good book for self study. shankar's principles of qm is a better book i hear. also Cohen-Tannoudji, Claude. Quantum Mechanics is good

- #12

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in a certain sense you have to interpret every text unless you're the guy that wrote it.I'm using Cohen-Tannoudji's book for a class right now (finishing up a 1-year sequence) and, to put it bluntly, itsucks;-) Okay, maybe that's not fair... I would say it's comprehensive at the expense of being comprehensible. It'sverydetailed, which is good if you're using it as a reference, but I typically have to read any given section 2 or 3 times just to figure out what they're talking about. I'd consider it "the Jackson of quantum" - a good book to have on your bookshelf, but definitely not one I'd want to learn from. Especially not in the context of self study.

- #13

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a) Cohen-Tannoudji is not an introductory level book

b) Its a bit too much about the details for any beginner its the size of a phone book.

c) Its usually used for advanced undergrad text or intro graduate text.

Its the equivalent of suggesting a HS student read Goldstein's to learn Mechanics.

Griffiths or Shankar are better for someone first pass at self-studying

- #14

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Griffiths EM book does an OK job of covering vector calc, but it's more like a refresher for someone who's already learnt the math. It would also help to learn ordinary differential equations, and some partial differential equations, if you have time for the last.

- #15

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totally doable for high school students who've completed the calc sequence and seen odes

a) Cohen-Tannoudji is not an introductory level book

b) Its a bit too much about the details for any beginner its the size of a phone book.

c) Its usually used for advanced undergrad text or intro graduate text.

Its the equivalent of suggesting a HS student read Goldstein's to learn Mechanics.

Griffiths or Shankar are better for someone first pass at self-studying

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