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Satisfied with the way your professor teaches QM?

  1. Oct 2, 2009 #1
    I for one am not satisfied with my professor's presentation of QM. The book she uses for the class is terrible(Peebles) and doesn't do a good job transitioning students from a classical mechanics mindset to a quantum mechanics mindset; Peebles is a graduate level textbook and so many of the concepts introduced in quantum mechanics are by-passed and we are assume to know , even though it is an introductory QM class for undergrads who had only had classsical mechanics and a modernphysics class; For the first few lectures of class, The correspondense principle is not introduced and I presume it will not be introduced for the remaining lectures since its the principle that connects classical mechanics with quantum mechanics; Concerning the mathematical formulation for QM, The math , which is mainly linear algebra and vector calculus, is not difficult to learn; However,I wish I were told why we use schrodinger equation and why the potential energy can be greater than the total energy , instead of just told to memorized these things.For Overall , my QM class is just a math class and we do not really discuss quantum physics, we only discuss the math for quantum physics, which no derivations are involve and we just memorize various mathematical concepts from linear algebra; Luckily for me, I took it upon myself to buy a really good QM text , that presents QM succintly at the undergrad level, but has the right amount of math needed to solve various QM problems at all ranges of difficulty. Bohm's Quantum theory is everything Peeble's textbook is not; Bohm's text discusses how various equations were derived, talks about many of the QM experiments that lead to establishing new physics concepts that characterize QM and the overall writing style is much clearer. How does your professor present QM to you? Is the presentation of QM generally clear or is it about as clear as a foggy car window and do you like the textbook that you use for your class?
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 2, 2009 #2


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    It could be worse. One day you should walk over to the chem department and see how they do it. This one time I walked by this physics QM class so I sat down to see what it was like. It was a funny class to pick because they were introducing bra-ket notation, so I asked if it was the first day and was told it was about halfway through. I kept thinking what did they do all that time so at the end I asked someone and they said "square well". They did square well for 16 lectures?
  4. Oct 2, 2009 #3
    For reference a typical series of undergrad QM lectures in the UK (i.e. multiple modules) would have an introductory course on the wave-mechanical approach, the second module would build up some applications and introduce some of the formalism and the final module would become more formal and focus on topics such as variational methods, perturbation theory etc.

    Typical books used are:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Quantum-Mec...sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254501448&sr=1-1" (Some areas)

    The course doesn't sound like it will be too effective as a first introduction to QM. What are the modules like after this one? What's the syllabus like for this course?

    Additionally it may be worth giving some feedback (in the constructive criticism sort of way) as to what parts of the course were helpful, what parts were unhelpful and also if you've come across some books you like perhaps mention that you found the book helpful as a first exposure and that the recommended course book, in your opinion, doesn't do a good job as an introductory book. Sometimes lecturers need some feedback on what s working and what isn't.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  5. Oct 3, 2009 #4
    I liked the way my professor presented quantum mechanics. He really tried to change our mindset from the classical to the quantum perspective. My professor also proved and derived everything or had us do it in the problem sets so nothing was really left unclear. In fact, he was so thorough that we barely got through any of the syllabus, which is my only real complaint about the course.

    As for the book, we used Griffiths which is OK. The book is very easy to read, which is nice, but I feel he does a poor job of presenting the technical aspects of QM. I felt that his chapter on the formalism of QM was just awful because he seems to gloss over the material. Fortunately, my professor picked up Griffiths' slack and covered the material in much more detail than Griffiths (probably too much detail.)

    It is unfortunate that your professor is doing such a poor job of presenting QM. It sounds like you are doing your best to make up for it though. I am not sure what Bohm's book is like, but it seems to be helping you to learn the subject. You shouldn't have to learn the subject purely from a book but it sounds like you're putting in quite the effort so it should pay off. Good luck.
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