Is Taking Quantum Physics Without Completing Modern Physics First a Good Idea?

In summary: I ended up doing very well and was very happy with the decision.In summary, most people take Modern Physics first. It's a tough course but doable if you have a strong math background and are able to meet the expectations of the professors.
  • #1
eaglejohnbc
8
0
I have only completed the intro sequence to physics, but next semester I really want to take quantum for various financial and time reasons. Anyway, I will be taking it alongside Vibrations and waves (physics 3) and differential equations. Will I be prepared? Most people seem to take Modern physics first.
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
I have no idea what your undergraduate program is like so its hard to say. I took quantum mechanics before most other physics as an undergrad and was perfectly fine, we had no vibrations and waves course though. My Quantum I did require knowledge of linear algebra and ODEs, but many people took them at the same time and were fine. It just depends how in depth into the mathematics the course gets.
 
  • #3
It'll be harsh, just so you know. I don't know how your program is like, but normally profs in advance QM would assume you to have some knowledge in modern physics (solving Schrodinger eq, etc.). And yes, you actually need linear algebra (instead of DFQ :))
But I know people are able to pick up what they need to know for math through out the course.
So yes, it is doable (not in my school though. I think one needed to finish an intermediate mechanic and E&M course before taking QM. And it suppose to be a senior course anyway). But expecting it to be hard. That is to say, you might need to work harder to keep with the class.
 
  • #4
You can probably get by but it's a bit iffy. You'll learn some linear algebra in the course but most likely, you'll just kinda go with the flow and not understand why some things are happening. Differential equations will be important so hopefully you pick it up quickly or maybe do some self-study. It's not advisable, but doable.
 
  • #5
Ideally I would suggest after learning about Lagrangian/Hamiltonian in a classical mechanics class and after a differential equations/linear algebra course.
 
  • #6
At my institution, an intermediate "Modern Physics" (after a three-semester calculus-sequence of intro science/engineering physics including mechanics, EM and Waves/optics/modern physics) wasn't required and was rather considered a "holder" course for students who didn't yet have the math background to move on to intermediate physics courses (like QM1, EM1, and classical mechanics). I declared my major a bit late, so I didn't ever take Modern, largely because of it's reputation as "filler"... and I found the intense physics coursework pretty nice to fit together.

Note that I did, however, have a pretty strong math background.. I had completed ordinary differential equations and linear algebra, I and was currently taking a partial differential equation/boundary value class. I think I was taking Quantum I, Mechanics I, Thermo, and EM1 all at the same time, along with the math class, maybe an advanced chem, and a few gen-ed's (it was, I believe my 22/21 credit hour term... oy vey, what was I thinking?)! While not easy, I had professors who for the most part set reasonable expectations (and I knew this by talking with other students in the department).

So think about your own math background, own talents, and talk to other students in your department about courses (both with regards to flow from one to another and expectations of professors). I knew 1-2 that had done killer-terms such as mine before (and skipped the modern course, which wasn't offered but once a year anyways), so I just decided it was my turn.
 

Related to Is Taking Quantum Physics Without Completing Modern Physics First a Good Idea?

1. When should I start learning about Quantum Physics?

There is no specific time to start learning about Quantum Physics. However, it is recommended to have a strong foundation in classical physics and mathematics before delving into Quantum Physics.

2. Is there a specific age or educational background required to understand Quantum Physics?

There is no age requirement to understand Quantum Physics. It is a complex subject and requires a strong understanding of mathematics and physics. Therefore, a strong educational background in these subjects is recommended.

3. Can I learn Quantum Physics without having a degree in Physics?

Yes, it is possible to learn Quantum Physics without having a degree in Physics. However, a strong understanding of classical physics and mathematics is necessary, as well as a deep curiosity and willingness to learn.

4. Are there any prerequisites to learning Quantum Physics?

As mentioned before, it is recommended to have a strong foundation in classical physics and mathematics before diving into Quantum Physics. Additionally, having a basic understanding of concepts such as wave-particle duality and probability will make it easier to understand Quantum Physics.

5. How long does it take to fully understand Quantum Physics?

Quantum Physics is a complex subject and there is always more to learn. It is not possible to put a specific timeline on how long it will take to fully understand it. It depends on the individual's dedication, previous knowledge, and personal learning pace. However, with consistent studying and practice, one can gain a good understanding of the fundamentals of Quantum Physics in a few years.

Similar threads

Replies
8
Views
236
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
6
Views
2K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
5
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
4
Views
2K
Replies
10
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
11
Views
782
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
3
Views
539
Replies
6
Views
171
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
9
Views
2K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
7
Views
1K
Back
Top