I'm interested in learning about Quantum Mechanics

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My mathematics education is only gr.12, and I only did first year physics. However, I find the topic extremely interesting and really want to challenge myself to someday be able to say I've taught myself, even in the smallest way, some Quantum Mechanics. I realize I'm going to need to become MUCH better at math and am willing to start from the very basics to fully get my head around it. Having said all that, where should I start? Some books you guys might recommend? I realize also that this is going to take a long time, but I've got a long life ahead of me, so any input is valued. Thanks!
 

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  • #2
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The best thing to do is to go back to college and take the 4 years undergraduate course in physics. This is because you need all the mathematics and newtonian physics as background to understand quantum mechanics. I spent 7 years studying quantum mechanics reading pop-sci books and now I don't know a lot better. Had I spent 4 years on undergraduate course. I can be a good quantum mechanic now. Sometimes I wish I could take a degree in physics. This is important especially if you are aiming for the Nobel Prize. You need at least Bachelor of Science in Physics to be honored the ultimate recognition.
 
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  • #3
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My mathematics education is only gr.12, and I only did first year physics. However, I find the topic extremely interesting and really want to challenge myself to someday be able to say I've taught myself, even in the smallest way, some Quantum Mechanics. I realize I'm going to need to become MUCH better at math and am willing to start from the very basics to fully get my head around it. Having said all that, where should I start? Some books you guys might recommend? I realize also that this is going to take a long time, but I've got a long life ahead of me, so any input is valued. Thanks!
To learn everything that is taught in an undergraduate Quantum Mechanics course you will need the following IMO:

1) A course book in calculus, from Calc 1-3
2) A course book in differential equations (if your calculus book does not go over elementary differential equations.)
3) A course book in linear algebra
4) A course book in introductory classical mechanics
5) A course book in introductory electricity and magnetism
6) A course book in introductory quantum mechanics (Griffiths is a good introductory text)

You will need to learn these items thoroughly. Do (1) in tandem with (4), and (2) in tandem with (5), then do (3), then do (6).

Study and try to learn deeply!!!
 
  • #5
A. Neumaier
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My mathematics education is only gr.12, and I only did first year physics. However, I find the topic extremely interesting and really want to challenge myself to someday be able to say I've taught myself, even in the smallest way, some Quantum Mechanics. I realize I'm going to need to become MUCH better at math and am willing to start from the very basics to fully get my head around it. Having said all that, where should I start? Some books you guys might recommend? I realize also that this is going to take a long time, but I've got a long life ahead of me, so any input is valued. Thanks!
See Chapter C4 of my theoretical physics FAQ at http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/physfaq/physics-faq.html#C4

You may also try the online book
Arnold Neumaier and Dennis Westra,
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras, 2008.
http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019
and then read supplementary material for things used there but not explained.
 
  • #6
A. Neumaier
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The best thing to do is to go back to college and take the 4 years undergraduate course in physics. This is because you need all the mathematics and newtonian physics as background to understand quantum mechanics. I spent 7 years studying quantum mechanics reading pop-sci books and now I don't know a lot better. Had I spent 4 years on undergraduate course. I can be a good quantum mechanic now.
You can start _now_ correcting your mistake by doing the proper professional reading. You don't need a college to do the reading and getting the practice. In a few years time you'll have made up for your earlier poor choices.
 
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  • #7
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My mathematics education is only gr.12, and I only did first year physics. However, I find the topic extremely interesting and really want to challenge myself to someday be able to say I've taught myself, even in the smallest way, some Quantum Mechanics.
First you need to define *exactly* what you want to know. What do you mean by "the smallest way"? One very small way is to absorb:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introduction_to_quantum_mechanics
 
  • #8
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I'm happy to see no condescending replies which I had kind of expected. To everyone who has posted so far, thank you.
 
  • #10
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By "the smallest way" I mean, to be able to do some of the math involved, which I know for certain I wouldn't be able to touch at this point.
Why can't you touch some of the math? The wikipedia article contains some equations, which anyone with 12th grade maths should be able to cope with. So you can experience some of the math involved.
 
  • #11
@A. Neumaier: May I ask what are the mathematics pre-requisites of understanding the Lie algebras used in your book?

EDIT:
Please ignore this. I had read the preface and the answer to my question is there.
 

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