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Learning quantum physics

  1. Feb 7, 2017 #1
    Hello there, I'm new. I'm a high school student, currently in a physics class, trying to teach himself some basic quantum mechanics. My teacher can offer limited assistance, since she doesn't want to force the rest of class to do this stuff, and considers me slightly mentally ill for attempting to learn it on my own. Can you guys give me any examples of practice problems for the math on things like relativistic momentum, photon energy, and photon momentum? Preferably with explanations of the theories behind the equations?
    Thanks for reading.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 7, 2017 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF. :smile:

    Here is a thread that is going on here in the Academic Guidance forum that you may find useful:

  4. Feb 7, 2017 #3
    First of all, learn classical mechanics before you try to learn quantum mechanics.

    Second of all, as a high school student, you have probably studied matrices, but have not yet studied bra ket notation, which is the mathematical language normally used in quantum mechanics. Fortunately, if you know matrices, you can easily learn bra ket notation, such as on the following website.


    After you learn that, I would suggest you try reading "Quantum Mechanics" by J.J. Sakurai. It might be a little advanced for you, but I'm assuming that you can reread it later when you are a physics major in college.

    Lastly, please do not believe anything you read in so-called popularizations of quantum mechanics intended for the general public. A college professor teaching a class in quantum mechanics, or writing a textbook on quantum mechanics, is trying to make it as intuitive as possible. A popular science writer supposedly writing about quantum mechanics is trying to make it as counter intuitive as possible, because they are catering to a specific niche audience that enjoys being freaked out by supposed quantum weirdness.

    The more you understand quantum mechanics, the LESS weird it seems!
  5. Feb 7, 2017 #4


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    I'm not sure Sakurai is right for someone in High School, unless that person is a budding Richard Feyman! It's a beautiful presentation, but it would be like trying to play Rachmaninov before you've learned the scales.
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