Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Quantum Physics

  1. Dec 22, 2007 #1
    Hey, I've been thinking about getting into quantum physics, and I just wanted to ask whether it's very difficult or not. What does the mathematics involve? Is it something that someone other than an experienced mathematician can handle? Maybe I should check out relativity first..........
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 22, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    It's the question what you understand by an "experienced mathematician" ;)
    The mathematics involved are linear algebra ( you're working with linear operators ), fourieranalysis ( you're working with waves in Hilbert-spaces) and some complex analysis ( the wave functions are complex ). The difficulty depends largely on your background.
  4. Dec 22, 2007 #3
    also add Differential Equations, and Partial Differential Equations (Schrodinger's Equation), but thats pretty much correct from my experience. I took 2 Quantum Mechanics courses so far, so I'm not too far in, but generally I didn't find the math to be very demanding. The biggest problem I had is that a lot of the derivations and examples we were given consisted of lots of weird ways of doing non-intuitive things to get your answer. For example... you are stuck, but if you note that you can add and subtract the same thing, suddenly you are done! or if you have |r|, that can actually be |r*e^ix| for ANY real x because magnitude of that e^ is always 1 so it's fine... small tricks like that from my experience get you very far. It also involves a lot of quite complicated integrals. But we now have ways of handling that with mathematica and things like that.

    I still like it though... it really depends how much experience you have with maths, because there is a lot of it... (just like in any other physics course really)
  5. Dec 22, 2007 #4
    If you were going to reccommend a book on this subject, that doesn't have much assumed knowledge as far as the mathematics goes, what would you reccommend?
    I looked at Quantum Mechanics Demystified, looked inside the book, but I found the math pretty intimidating.
  6. Dec 22, 2007 #5

    George Jones

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The Strange World of Quantum Mechanics by Daniel F. Styer.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook