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How can I learn more without pursuing a formal education?

  • Thread starter Eourlk
  • Start date
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Summary: I have an undergrad CS degree, but I'm trying to learn about quantum mechanics without going back to school.

I'm interested in learning more about quantum mechanics, but I'm having trouble finding a starting point. It seems like every time I try to learn more about a particular QM concept online, I get stuck down a rabbit-hole of wikipedia articles, trying to learn about all of the notation and pre-requisite concepts.

For my CS degree, I took calc 2, statistics, linear algebra, discrete math, and a couple of physics classes (one which touched on QM). I've read a few non-technical physics books (Lawrence Krauss, Stephen Hawking, etc.), and I consider myself to have a pretty good layman's understanding of physics. I'd like to avoid spending a ton of money on textbooks if possible, but as of now, it seems like they might be my best option.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!
 
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With your math/science background, I do think Griffiths Quantum Mechanics is a good option for you. You can find a used copy on Ebay for 20 bucks or so.
 

berkeman

Mentor
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have an undergrad CS degree, but I'm trying to learn about quantum mechanics without going back to school.
How much math have you had?
 
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How much math have you had?
Calc 2, statistics, linear algebra, and discrete math. Probably the bare minimum needed to get started learning QM, if I had to guess.
 

Klystron

Gold Member
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I too have a CS degree but also an equivalent knowledge of electronics that seems to give insights into quantum mechanics, QED, QCD and QFT. Not only theory but how experiments are designed and implemented. I have found understanding electronics helps studying QM much like computer science helps data collection and set theory helps understand probability and statistics.

Worth a look but you should study subjects that work for you.
 
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It's hard to really get QM without Calc 3 and Differential Equations.
Thanks for the warning. I do hope to some day be able to study more math and physics in a university setting, it's just not an option at the moment. In the meantime, I'm going to brush up on the calculus I do know, and maybe try to learn a little more on my own before diving into a QM textbook.
 
I get stuck down a rabbit-hole of wikipedia articles, trying to learn about all of the notation and pre-requisite concepts.
I had the same trouble so I was like **** this lol
 
Interesting question! I can recommend Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum by Leonard Susskind and Art Friedman as an interesting start. In fact, the whole Theoretical Minimum series: classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, special relativity/classical field theory. These are probably going to be a much gentler introduction than standard physics texts but they still include math--they are far from simply qualitative.
 
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I get stuck down a rabbit-hole of wikipedia articles, trying to learn about all of the notation and pre-requisite concepts.
There are a lot of questions on physics.stackexchange.com from people confused by wikipedia. It is written by a committee. Or multiple committees.
 

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