How to fortify my physics knowledge

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  • #1
jamalkoiyess
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I am currently a senior undergraduate majoring in both math and physics. This summer will be my only chance for a long vacation in three years since it is the only time that I am taking no courses.

In this period of approx. three months I want to fortify my knowledge in physics and maybe math (however here I always felt more capable).

I thought of either
  • Re-studying Classical Mechanics and Quantum Mechanics which are the two courses I felt a disconnection with
  • Fetching a general exercise and solution book to train on, maybe a grad admission testbank where the problems are usually broad and intend on testing all of what I know
  • Or some other activity like reading up some conceptual texts that help me see what I am doing
All I want to achieve is remove the sense of incapability I have when I see a new problem.


Note: Some of the courses I have taken so far:
  • Classical Mechanics - Lacking some knowledge
  • Mathematical Methods - Good enough but could use some help (My math degree has no applied courses)
  • Quantum Mechanics - Very shaky
  • Electromagnetism - Good enough
  • Elementary Particles - Good
 

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  • #2
phinds
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I would think it matters quite a bit what you plan to do on graduation. There are likely some areas you could pretty much ignore in order to focus on others that would be more applicable in the long run.
 
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Wrichik Basu
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I second what @phinds has said. If you have aims to pursue higher studies in fields related to quantum mechanics, there is no use of going back and studying classical mechanics. For example, you won't need classical physics for nuclear physics, particle physics or condensed matter physics. On the other hand, there are theoretical physicists who work in classical physics alone, and don't need QM a lot.
All I want to achieve is remove the sense of incapability I have when I see a new problem.
See, solving problems in textbooks cannot always judge you properly. The right evaluation is done when you can apply whatever you have learned so far into some other field. Say for example, while studying QM, you can solve out the problems in some standard book like Griffiths or Shankar. But the correct evaluation is done when you are able to successfully apply the concepts in QM to other applied fields like nuclear physics or particle physics.

Having said all that, the rest depends on what your aim is in graduation. If you want to pursue fields that have more applications of QM, go over basic QM once again. Simultaneously, you can do some other online courses on topics/fields that you have not studied before, but you are interested in studying.
 
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Wrichik Basu
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For quantum mechanics, you should have a look at this lecture series:
Quantum Physics by Prof. V. Balakrishnan.
https://nptel.ac.in/courses/122106034/The prerequisites are that, you should have some basic knowledge about the square wells and bra-ket notation, and you should know some basic classical electrodynamics. The professor's style of teaching is great, especially when he goes to angular momentum. The lecture ends at Time-independent perturbation theory. You can say that I learned QM from this person. Prof. Balakrishnan is regarded as one of the finest professors in India.

You can also have a look at his course in classical physics:
https://nptel.ac.in/courses/122106027/Among others, the last few lectures are very important where he explains the index notation of special relativity.
 
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