1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Learning QM, GR, and more

  1. Dec 13, 2016 #1
    I'm a 20 years old student in the first year course to get a bachelor degree on physics.

    My question is: is it ok for a person like me, frequently getting into trouble when studying some advanced topics on Quantum Mechanics or General Relativity?

    In my course, we are learning about basic physics. But while my class collegues are learning basic introductory Math and general physics, I want to study advanced topics, like, geometry of black holes, quantum field theory, because I think it is much more interesting, fascinating and funny. I go to the university library and start reading the books I see there. And in most cases I fine understand the concepts and the Math, but sometimes I feel like I'm a retard because I simply don't understand things.

    And I cannt study only those subjects, because I must spend some time studying calculus, linear algebra, etc, to get good results on my exames.

    (I'm sorry for my bad English.)
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2016 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    What do you mean by "getting into trouble" when you're studying these advanced concepts?

    I can't see any reason that you should feel stupid if you're studying things that are well beyond your current skill level.
  4. Dec 13, 2016 #3
    Focus on your university studies, you will learn those topics later on anyway..so build a good strong foundation in the basics otherwise it you will struggle much more later on.
  5. Dec 13, 2016 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Quantum field theory and GR are very intricate topics which also involve lot of subtleties. I pretty much learn something new each time I use one of the standard books for reference in research. So as you learn more physics, starting with the foundation you get from the core classes, you will go back and gain a deeper understanding each time.
  6. Dec 13, 2016 #5

    Fervent Freyja

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    @kent davidge, are you "getting into trouble" because you spend too much time self-studying instead of studying for your university? :devil:
  7. Dec 14, 2016 #6
    Right. :biggrin::biggrin:
  8. Dec 14, 2016 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I think a lot of people don't fully appreciate how important it is to master the fundamentals in order to be successful in learning topics like QFT or GR. Even if you can read a QFT book and go through the technicalities, you won't be able to fully appreciate the subject if you don't have the context. For example, I have heard undergrads interested in field theory say stat mech is really boring, when there are actually a ton of very deep connections between the two.

    So when you say you want to study QFT and GR because they are most interesting, you should keep in mind that the motivation for these subjects comes from the more elementary things you are learning, and if you miss out on those, you will miss out on the most interesting aspects of QFT and GR.
  9. Dec 15, 2016 #8
    If it was possible to learn all the fundamentals in one day... the problem is that it takes much time to learn those things.
  10. Dec 15, 2016 #8

    Fervent Freyja

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Quantum mechanics and GR cannot be comprehended without the basics.
  11. Dec 15, 2016 #9
    heres what WILL happen:

    1. you will fail or get really bad marks at your basic math courses.
    2. You will never get a good grip on GR and other things etc because you are not good at math.
    3. You will even drop out of physics at worst.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted

Similar Discussions: Learning QM, GR, and more
  1. Quickest Way to Learn QM (Replies: 10)

  2. Learning more in math (Replies: 1)