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Prerequisites for beginning quantum mechanics?

  1. Dec 15, 2011 #1
    Can somebody please tell me what are the necessary math and physics prerequisites to having a solid foundation in quantum mechanics?

    And what are the most important concepts as well?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2011 #2


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    When you're first starting out?

    For maths - Solid linear algebra, and some ability to solve differential equations.
    For physics - Some EM, some classical mechanics, Lagrangian mechanics desirable but you'll pick it up as you go along anyway.

    As you progress? Analysis, algebra.

    The most important concepts? Hmm.
    1. Quantum mechanics is linear
    2. Physical systems are described by 'states' - linear combination of basis states. Aka a wavefunction. The modulus-squared of the wavefunction is a probability distribution.
    3. The state evolves according to the Schrodinger Equation
    4. The performance of a measurement forces the system into a single state. This is irreversible.

    Most of quantum mechanics falls out from this.
  4. Dec 16, 2011 #3


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    math: linear algebra, (partial) differential equations, some aspects of vector analysis
    physics: classical mechanics, some aspects of field theory
  5. Dec 16, 2011 #4


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    The fundamentals are differential equations and linear algebra. Your interests will dictate what other mathematical concepts you may deem necessary to master.
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