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Quantum Prerequisites for Shankar

  1. Jun 2, 2016 #1
    I've taken Calc I to III and linear algebra, although the course was overall quite light. I don't know what legendre polynomials are, and haven't learned hamiltonians (and probably wont since its not in morin),
    When i start the book i will have finished david morins mechanics book,tenenbaums ODE book and purcells EM book. Is my background strong enough to read shankar or will i struggle (and how much)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2016 #2


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    Shankar explains Hamiltonians, so not knowing about them won't be a barrier. I found his explanation of Hamiltonians quite intuitive and helpful. I learned QM from Shankar and, as I recall, the only prior maths he assumed were calculus and linear algebra. He uses Legendre polynomials but he explains what they are when he uses them, so you don't need prior exposure to them.

    The challenge with Shankar is not so much about knowledge as about mathematical intuition. He often leaves out quite big steps, so it can be a struggle sometimes to fill in the missing steps. Also he sometimes relies on a result stated several pages ago in order to achieve a certain step, without quoting it, leaving the reader bamboozled as to the justification for the step.

    However, these faults are shared by many other authors, so his book compares reasonably well with other QM texts.
  4. Jun 3, 2016 #3
    I agree with andrewkirk, your background is enough, a little mathematical maturity is also needed. Shankar skips steps in some of the major topics. I would also like to point out that in my opinion Shankar is good for Chapters 1-15 but you should still supplement it with books like Zetilli and Sakurai. The latter chapters feels like he is in a hurry and doesn't explain the material quite well, unecessarily wordy (I don't even know what exactly what he wants to point out). Also, the EXERCISES! There is too few of them and most of them are related to derivations of what he skipped. So bottomline is, supplement it with other books.
  5. Jun 3, 2016 #4
    Many thanks for the input
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