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Importance of Path Integrals

  1. Feb 25, 2007 #1
    My QM prof skipped over the topic of the Feynmann Path integral formulation...

    Is this material important enough that I should learn it on my own (personal curiosity aside)?

    The Text is Principles of Quantum Mechanics by R. Shankar
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2007 #2
    What is the level of the course? I assume either upper div. undergrad or 1st semester grad.

    If you're an undergrad, I wouldn't worry about it yet. If you're a grad student and you're pretty sure you want to do High Energy then it would be worth your time to get starting learning the material.

    But most working physicists don't use Feynman path integrals in their research, so it's not so necessary that you run out and learn it now.

    Of course, if you're really curious, then it doesn't matter how important it is...just see what you can pick up.
  4. Feb 27, 2007 #3


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    or condensed matter theory
  5. Mar 17, 2007 #4
    Just ask him to teach you.
  6. Mar 18, 2007 #5


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    if you consider yourself a physics person.... you should at least know the ideas behind it
  7. Mar 18, 2007 #6


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    no, since feynman was a moron, compared to those of us posting anonymously of PF, his ideas can safely be ignored.
  8. Mar 18, 2007 #7
    I take it this is supposed to be humorous?
  9. Mar 18, 2007 #8


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    He just being sarcastically contrarian. :biggrin:

    Path integrals are important, and more generally, understanding path dependent processes and states is exceedingly important if one wants to be really good in one's field, be it physics or engineering.
  10. Mar 18, 2007 #9
    Very well said, and so those who are either pragmatic or curious would do well to both read up on Feynman path integrals as well as the Calculus of Variations.
  11. Mar 18, 2007 #10


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    Some might argue that [in spite of current mathematical difficulties] Path Integrals may be more fundamental [for (say) Quantum Gravity] than "standard" approaches to Quantum Mechanics.
  12. Apr 8, 2007 #11
    Path integrals is doing quantum mechanics when you are doing classical mechanics. see Feynman and Hibbs
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