1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Hilbert space and eigenvalues

  1. Apr 9, 2009 #1
    can somebody explain eigenvalues inside hilbert spaces??
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 9, 2009 #2
    I suppose I don't understand your question. A Hilbert space is an inner product space in which all Cauchy sequences converge (which is really just a pedantic/rigorous way of saying that it is complete). In physics we often say that quantum states "live" in a hilbert space (although to be accurate it's actually a 'rigged' Hilbert space since plane waves and dirac delta functions are not in a Hilbert space). A valid quantum operator must be an eigenvector of a quantum state with a real eigenvalue. If none of this means anything to you then I'd say to get yourself a good linear algebra book. (If you have no idea what linear algebra is I'd say wherever you read about Hilbert spaces and eigenvalues is probably way too advanced and I'd suggest starting with a more introductory book)
  4. Apr 10, 2009 #3
    do you think the strang linear algebra book is the right intoductory linear algebra book?

    also, when should I begin my studies on thermal and statistical physics? BEFORE OR AFTER quantum mechanics and linear algebra??
  5. Apr 11, 2009 #4
    how about the reif thermal and statistical physics book?
  6. Apr 11, 2009 #5
    It's never too soon to study linear algebra. I have a vague recollection that Galileo said that if he had his life to live over again, he would first have become a mathematician.

    Strang's book is one of the standards. I have not read it, but I'm told that it emphasizes computation and the ability to solve problems numerically. Personally, I'm fond of the book by Bamberg and Sternberg, even though it's a little tough for self-study.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook