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Self study for the coming vacation

  1. Dec 31, 2014 #1
    i plan to take up a subject for self study in the coming vacation (starts 22/1) anyway i want to understand quantum mechanics but my pace so far is so slow, because well, i think the math is tough in most books and there is no appropriate introduction. I am in engineering school, so my limit of math knowledge is calculus of complex numbers. A friend told me that i need to do classical mechanics rigourously to understand quantum mechanics. I want to do all the prerequisites for quantum mechanics (since i clearly lack them) and maybe then tackle one of those tough quantum mechanics books. So if i should do classical mechanics rigourously or math rigourously then please recommend some books or even propose new ideas :D

    Thank you :D
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 31, 2014 #2
    Kolenkow introductory mechanics
  4. Dec 31, 2014 #3

    George Jones

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    I am sorry, but I don't think that "An Introduction to Mechanics" by Kleppner and Kolenkow is a good choice for Ahmad. Almost paradoxically, I think it is both too little and too much at the same time.

    It is too little because it doesn't cover Lagrangians or Hamiltonians. I think that seeing an introductory treatment of Hamiltonians is useful before reading a "real" book on quantum mechanics.

    It is too much because the problems might be a little too difficult, so that a non-physics major trying to use Kleppner and Kolenkow as a stepping stone for more advanced material might end up getting bogged down and spending too much time.

    I am very interested in the questions

    1) "What mechanics text should be used for self-study by an engineering student interested in moving on to quantum mechanics?"

    2) "What quantum mechanics book should the engineering student use for self-study?"

    I am afraid that after 20 years of university teaching, I don't have satisfactory answers to these questions.

    I think that answers should give books that are somewhat concise, clear and pedagogical, at some appropriate (not too much, not too little) level, but it might not be possible to satisfy these criteria simultaneously.

    Possible answers to 1): "Analytical Mechanics" by Fowles and Cassiday (treats Lagrangians, but not Hamiltonians); "Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems" by Thorton and Marion (takes too long get to get to long Hamiltonians; "Classical Mechanic" by Taylor (pedagogical, but too wordy, takes way too long top get to Hamiltonians).

    I am not satisfied with any of these answers, and I am very interested in what other folks have to say.
  5. Dec 31, 2014 #4
    It may be true that kolenkow would be hard for self study. However the poster has knowledge of calculus over the complex plane. He said he wanted an understanding from classical mechanics to quantum. When somebody says they want to understand, a person assumes he want ' s to know the ins and outs of the subject matter at hand. Maybe I am looking at from a person inclined towards mathematics, such that, I enjoy rigor and am excited if I can prove things(regardless of how trivial or complex it is). The poster has a higher mathematical ability then I do and I find kolenkow to be easy to understand.

    I have a nonexistent physics background so maybe my judgment is poor regarding kolenkow.
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