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Gokul43201

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I used Cohen-Tannoudji and Sakurai. I wouldn't recommend either as a first text.

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Thanks in advance for help

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Megus said:How can I learn it ? What books shall I buy (already have Feynman's lectures) ? I have heard neither about any QM course near me, nor any good teacher - so what's the best way to self-study it ? Just sit down reading and making some notes ?

Feynman's lectures are an excellent way to start. I can't remember how heavy the math gets, but I'm sure you can skip the bits where it gets too hairy.

A good book for first year undergrads is:

Quantum Mechanics ~ Alastair I.M. Rae

This is the one we used, but I can't recall how difficult it is. I would strongly suggest starting with Feynman though.

My advice would be simply to read as much as possible and just try to think about it as much as possible. When I was doing my A-levels (which is sort of the same as High school I think) I just read all the books on QM I could find at my school library. Looking at lots of different sources is also a very good thing to do because everyone has their own interpretation of the theory. This is especially important to realise at this level because most of what you will read will be interpretation as opposed to real formalism.

The only other thing I can advise is stay on top of your school studies so you will be able to go to college and study it properly. That's when it gets really exciting!

Matt

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baffledMatt said:Feynman's lectures are an excellent way to start. I can't remember how heavy the math gets, but I'm sure you can skip the bits where it gets too hairy.

I find math in Feynman's lecture quite simple if compared to some other books i've found

baffledMatt said:The only other thing I can advise is stay on top of your school studies so you will be able to go to college and study it properly. That's when it gets really exciting!

Absolutely no problem with school - anyway I want to start learning QM during vacations so it won't disturb my school grades

Obviously I'm going to use many sources.

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Matt:

Sakurai and Shankar are good. Both very down to earth (they refer to actual physical systems and experiments). The problem I found with Sakurai is that it has a lot of mistakes. The book was printed after Sakurai died, so probably these errors are typografical errors that were never caught.

I am myself struggling to understand the meaning of some of the math in quantum mechanics. I usually go to the school's library and bring home a bunch of books on quantum mechanics. I think most of the time you can't learn from only one book, unless you find one author whose style an philosofy is very compatible with your way of learning (not my case).

Feynman (lectures on physics, third volume) is nice, but very long. For every topic it takes a long time to read all the material. But it may be good to have it as a reference (I do).

Megus and Mike:

A good way to get an overview of quantum mechanics, to take a look at some of the problems involved, some of the paradoxes, interpretations, history of the subject, etc. is to read some popularizations on the subject. There are many. I recall reading "Thirty years that shook physics" by Gamow, " In Search of Schrodinger's Cat" by John Gribbin. A friend just lent me "The quantum World" by Kenneth Ford, but I don't think it is very good. I think John Gribbin more recently wrote "Scrodinger's Kitten".

There are some newer popularizations that get into Quantum Gravity and Super Strings, but if you wan to understand quantum mechanics, those subjects are not going to help. I would stay away from those topics untill I understand quantum mechanics proper.

Mike: With respect to QED, you can try "QED" by Richard Feynman. It is a little book with almost no math, and it is cheap.

Megus: I think it must be hard for a high school student to learn quantum mechanics, but if you like the subject, trying to understand it can give you motivation to learn the math needed. (Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, etc.) But I think a popularization is a good starting point, before you get into the math-based books.

Sakurai and Shankar are good. Both very down to earth (they refer to actual physical systems and experiments). The problem I found with Sakurai is that it has a lot of mistakes. The book was printed after Sakurai died, so probably these errors are typografical errors that were never caught.

I am myself struggling to understand the meaning of some of the math in quantum mechanics. I usually go to the school's library and bring home a bunch of books on quantum mechanics. I think most of the time you can't learn from only one book, unless you find one author whose style an philosofy is very compatible with your way of learning (not my case).

Feynman (lectures on physics, third volume) is nice, but very long. For every topic it takes a long time to read all the material. But it may be good to have it as a reference (I do).

Megus and Mike:

A good way to get an overview of quantum mechanics, to take a look at some of the problems involved, some of the paradoxes, interpretations, history of the subject, etc. is to read some popularizations on the subject. There are many. I recall reading "Thirty years that shook physics" by Gamow, " In Search of Schrodinger's Cat" by John Gribbin. A friend just lent me "The quantum World" by Kenneth Ford, but I don't think it is very good. I think John Gribbin more recently wrote "Scrodinger's Kitten".

There are some newer popularizations that get into Quantum Gravity and Super Strings, but if you wan to understand quantum mechanics, those subjects are not going to help. I would stay away from those topics untill I understand quantum mechanics proper.

Mike: With respect to QED, you can try "QED" by Richard Feynman. It is a little book with almost no math, and it is cheap.

Megus: I think it must be hard for a high school student to learn quantum mechanics, but if you like the subject, trying to understand it can give you motivation to learn the math needed. (Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, etc.) But I think a popularization is a good starting point, before you get into the math-based books.

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alexepascual said:[...]

But I think a popularization is a good starting point, before you get into the math-based books.

The problem is I don't want to read popularizations anymore. I just have enough of them and I can't stand text about something without explanation everything in a vivid detail (math included). So popularization won't help.

I love the subject anyway

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Feynman's third book also gets into all the math and is good.

--Alex--

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...And, of course, when you get stuck, this forum is a very good place to get help.

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Mike:

I just remembered one more popularization:

"Quantum Reality" by Nick Herbert. It is good.

I just remembered one more popularization:

"Quantum Reality" by Nick Herbert. It is good.

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You should be a little careful though. Due to the nature of the web you may come across things which are completely wrong, or at least simply a load of rubbish. Check who wrote the stuff before you read it!

Matt

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Does it get into second quantization of QFT? Thanks.alexepascual said:Mike:

I just remembered one more popularization:

"Quantum Reality" by Nick Herbert. It is good.

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alexepascual said:...And, of course, when you get stuck, this forum is a very good place to get help.

Obviously - be ready for my questions

baffledMatt: In order to find some good lecturers' notes you use google ? How do you look for them ?

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I like this thread. Lots of interesting authors to check out. Please keep them coming.

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While perusing through the library, I did find a book called "Beyond the Quantum" by Michael Talbot. Reading through the first through chapters, this book seems to be more philosophical (even radically metaphysical?) on the subject of quantum randomness. Talbot made references to some of David Bohm's works as well. Its interesting if you have an open mind toward these topics.

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You can also take the online video lectures made available by the University of California San Diego at http://physicsstream.ucsd.edu/ [Broken]. There you will find lectures on Modern Physics (Course # 2D) & Quantum Physics (Courses 1430A, 130B & 130C).

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http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html

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Hi

My first <interesting> exposure to quantum mechanics was through Feynman's lectures and a very limited amount of atomic structure course we had in school, when we read just about four lines about the wave equation.

Back then of course, the Schroedinger Wave Equation looked pretty complicated even with the concise H(psi) = E*psi representation! However, it seems you can go learn quite a bit without complex mathematical techniques, by actually getting a physical feel of things. For instance, it is not necessary to solve the wave equation for the hydrogen atom in general and understand everything about it in one shot--the Lagueere and Legendre Polynomials and the spherical harmonics for instance.

With every field of science, mathematical formalism is a must though but since we are not yet adept to handle transforms, complex integrals or polynomials which we have no basic idea about, reading from a book like Dirac's would put off the interested student since it gets too deep into mathematics as was pointed out on this thread earlier. At first sight, the mathematics looks complex and possibly stultifying especially to those who have not had much grounding in it before.

Hence, I highly recommend reading first from some elementary textbook to understand the basic ideas (without mathematics except possibly that of the coulombic and bohr models and quantum numbers) and get a feel of the physics involved before delving into a text that deals with the subject in a greater depth.

I began reading basic quantum theory from an old chemistry book (Theoretical Inorganic Chemistry by Marion Clyde, Day). I still am reading this book with simpler books like Grant and Phillips. Of course, references to advanced texts are necessary at times not only for clarification but also satisfaction.

As for the mathematics, I recommend that you become familiar with the "basics", which include vectors, complex numbers (a bit), coordinate systems and transforms (particularly spherical coordinates), the div, curl, grad, laplacian operators, their properties and their physical and geometric signifance. Next, a treatmeant (not necessarily overly mathematical again) of mechanical waves helps (and if you have had some EM wave courses, it helps too). Once these ideas are fixed and you feel comfortable using (and playing with) mathematical expressions involving them, you can start reading a book on quantum physics which talks about physics more, rather than mathematics alone. Leave some part of the math initially. Accept it in fact and go on. Don't get sidetracked by it. You can always come back to it once you begin to understand the formalism...it comes naturally once you begin to understand the physics.

Make notes, think about the ideas and look at your equations again and again. Try to visualize the situation in your mind without the equations first and let the parameters justify your reasoning, not the other way round.

This approach has helped me tremendously in not only this particular subject but also general physics over the past few weeks/months and hence I have emphasized more on the physics than (at first) the mathematics.

And of course, we all would get a chance to read it more thoroughly in college :-)

Hope you have a nice time with (quantum) mechanics/physics...

Cheers

Vivek

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