Introduction to Quantum Theory: A Guide for Beginners

In summary, the conversation focuses on the topic of quantum physics and the speaker's struggle to understand it. They are looking for recommendations for a good place to start and understand the concept better. Book recommendations are given, including "The Fabric of the Cosmos" and "The Elegant Universe" by Brian Greene, "The New Quantum Universe" by Tony Hey and Patrick Walters, "A Brief History of Time" and "The Moment of Creation" by Stephen Hawking, and "Quantum Mechanics Made Easy" by Anthony Zee. The conversation also touches on the importance of reliable sources and the age of the speaker, who is 17 years old.
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I've been getting into physics a lot recently and the really theoretical aspect of it has caught me so I've been studying astrophysics and chaos theory outside of school on my own. The thing is though whenever I try and get a grasp on Quantum Physics, whether through wikipedia (not the best source, I know) or some books my teacher lent me it seems to elude me and I'm stuck with that "What did I just read?" feeling. Can any of you recommend a good place to start and ease my way into quantum theory as the concept seems infinitely fascinating.
 
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  • #2
Anything by Brian Greene is a good place to start - either "the fabric of the cosmos" or "the elegant universe" or maybe "the new quantum universe" by Tony Hey and Patrick Walters.

Just out of interest - because you said you were at school - how old are you?
 
  • #3
Well firstly, as you say, wikipedia is a terrible place to go to try and learn something. I really advise you against doing this.

I presume you're after a popular science introduction to quantum theory. Which books did you teacher loan to you?

As an aside, I'm moving this to the book recommendation section.
 
  • #5
If you are not looking for pop science but a solid introduction to QM, I found "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics" by D.J Griffiths a very good book...I am doing QM as self-study myself and I likes this book a lot..
 
  • #6
chris_183 said:
Just out of interest - because you said you were at school - how old are you?
I'm 17.

And my teacher has loaned me "A Brief History of Time" and "The Moment of Creation" which are good but some of the quantum stuff in the former book just goes right through me.
 
  • #8
chris_183 said:
Anything by Brian Greene is a good place to start - either "the fabric of the cosmos" or "the elegant universe"

That's string theory not qm.
 
  • #9
DavidWhitbeck said:
That's string theory not qm.

Yeah but it's got a good section on QM.

:tongue:
 

1. What is quantum theory?

Quantum theory, also known as quantum mechanics, is a branch of physics that studies the behavior of particles at the smallest scales, such as atoms and subatomic particles. It explains how these particles interact with each other and with energy, and how they can exist in multiple states at the same time.

2. Why is quantum theory important?

Quantum theory is important because it provides a framework for understanding the fundamental nature of matter and energy. It has led to many groundbreaking discoveries in physics, such as the development of transistors and lasers, and has implications for fields such as chemistry, biology, and computing.

3. What are some key concepts in quantum theory?

Some key concepts in quantum theory include superposition, where particles can exist in multiple states simultaneously, and entanglement, where particles can become connected in such a way that the state of one particle affects the state of the other. The uncertainty principle, which states that it is impossible to know both the position and momentum of a particle with absolute precision, is also a fundamental concept in quantum theory.

4. How does quantum theory differ from classical physics?

In classical physics, particles are described as having a definite position and momentum at all times. In quantum theory, however, particles can exist in multiple states at the same time and their properties are described by probabilities rather than definite values. Additionally, classical physics is deterministic, meaning that the future behavior of a system can be predicted based on its current state, while quantum theory allows for a certain degree of randomness and uncertainty.

5. What are some practical applications of quantum theory?

Quantum theory has practical applications in various fields, such as electronics, cryptography, and medicine. For example, transistors, which are essential components in electronic devices, are based on quantum mechanical principles. Quantum cryptography uses the principles of quantum mechanics to create secure communication channels, and quantum computing holds the potential to solve complex problems that are currently beyond the capabilities of classical computers. In medicine, quantum theory has been used to develop imaging techniques such as MRI and PET scans.

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