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Need some help learning.

  1. May 12, 2009 #1
    Hello, I am very interested in learning 'beyond the surface' Quantum Mechanics, in the sense that I would like to learn how to do the math involved, or at least understand it. I know basic Algebra, solving equations, system of equations, quadratics, ect... but I would like to know where to start with understanding the basic principles of calculus so I can understand Quantum Mechanics mathematically, are there any tips or hints anyone can give me on where I can get content pertaining to such knowledge without going through the full Geometry/Pre-calc classes? I basically need to understand the simplification of the different 'Calculus Functions' into Algebra so I can solve. Websites, Tutorials, Tips, Notes anything would be great, thanks a bunch!

    P.S. I do realize math is one of the topics that requires a lot of study and practice, I do later plan on taking full classes, I would just like to know/understand the basic Calculus concepts for Physics so I can fully get the 'mathematical' idea of whats happening.
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  3. May 12, 2009 #2


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  4. May 13, 2009 #3


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    What you need to understand are derivatives, integrals, complex numbers, vector spaces, linear operators, inner (scalar) products, matrices, the relationship between linear operators and matrices, eigenvalues and eigenvectors. That makes linear algebra more important than calculus.

    I recommend that you don't try to learn all the maths first. You should definitely make sure that you have a basic understanding of all the stuff I listed above before you start studying QM, but there's a lot of stuff in a typical calculus class that you don't need just to be able to read an introductory QM book. So you don't have to work through the whole calculus book before you start.

    Get a good QM book (e.g. Griffiths) and try to read it. If you feel that you need more math, then pick up your math books again.
  5. May 13, 2009 #4


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    I'm not so sure Fredrik. No doubt quite a lot of people learn the maths to learn the QM. But a lot of people also spend a lot of time confusing purely mathematical properties and things with quantum mechanical ones.

    Given the amount of re-learning you may end up doing, it might be more efficient to learn the math first.
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