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Should I take QM 1 before completing Classical Mechanics?

  • Thread starter platonic
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I just transfered to Georgia Tech from Georgia State and I'm registering for classes. I ave taken Intro Phys 1 and 2, and intro to modern physics. I have math up to DE. I will be taking Classical Mechanics this semester, and am wondering if it is a good idea to take QM before completing the classical mechanics? We will be using the Griffiths book. In the introduction the author says that a strong grasp of classical mechanics is crucial. I got A's in all physics classes so far, but honestly my grasp of classical physics could be much stronger than it is now. Most students taking QM will have already taken classical mechanics, although classical mechanics is not listed as a prerequisite for QM. Will I be handicapped by taking it this semester? Because it seems like the classical mechanics class really refines your problem solving skills. Thanks.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I just finished QM1 at Tech having already taken class mech, you really don't need it at all in my opinion.
 
  • #3
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Thanks for the response. Do you have to know anything about partial differential equations? Also, how would you rate the difficulty of the class?
 
  • #4
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I went into the class not knowing anything about PDEs, the prof understood that this was the case for just about all students and he went over everything we needed to know, it wasn't a problem. The class was difficult, a few of the homework assignments were borderline impossible but the tests were generally fair and I feel that I really learned a lot, I enjoyed it.
 
  • #5
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Classical mechanics does help.

I remembered when I first took quantum mechanics without classical mechanics. It was initially very difficult to understand basic concepts of quantum theory because in QM there are a lot of classical counterparts. First instance, the operator methodology of the Hamiltonian. Then the Lagrangian, again, presented problems. Then there was angular momentum.

I don't think classical mechanics is crucial; I passed QM without classical mechanics. However, when I did finally take classical mechanics, the following semester, everything made more sense.
 
  • #6
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I'm sure there is a considerable jump in difficulty going from state to tech. Then in addition to that, the other students will have had a semester of class mech to further refine their problem solving skills. I guess I'll give it a try this semester, although I'm a bit apprehensive.
 
  • #7
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A bigger concern for you should be linear algebra. If you're not confident in what eigenvectors and eigenvalues are, what a basis is, etc. I'd recommend reviewing that stuff as soon as possible. I'm a senior at GT, and it seems like most people I know who struggle in QM are people who weren't very confident with linear algebra going into it. I took abstract vector spaces before taking QM and I think that that was a great help.
 
  • #8
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I'm pretty good with linear algebra, the basics anyway. I took introductory linear algebra this fall. Eigenvalues/eigenvectors, bases and stuff like that I'm good with. I was planning on taking abstract spaces this summer before taking QM in the fall. The only reason I'm thinking about taking QM now is because I don't want to take only one class this semester. I already have all the non physics courses I need. Taking QM this fall would also give me the opportunity to get an elective course like nonlinear dynamics this fall.
 

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