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Starting Place For Quantum Physics

  1. Feb 11, 2008 #1
    My knowledge on this subject is near to nothing, but I would be very much interested in learning some of the basics. Could anyone provide me with some online resources that could help me gain some understanding of this field of physics. Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2008 #2

    CompuChip

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    What are your mathematics skills like :smile:? If you know something already about differential equations, probabilities and integrals, you might just want to buy David J. Griffiths book "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics" right away. It is IMO very well written, with lots of explanations; starting with lots of examples and only introducing the mathematical formalism later on, and showing how beautifully it actually fits together.

    But, you need some mathematical background (basic stuff, but still you need it)
     
  4. Feb 11, 2008 #3
    My knowledge of Differentials and Integrals is pretty bog standard, I know the basic workings of them. People have given me some book suggestions in the past but it is very much an online source that I am looking for, firstly as I just want a good introduction I wouldn't like to buy a book to discover its not for me. I am going to a library over this next week where I will look for any information I can, but now I just want an online resource.

    Thanks =]
     
  5. Feb 11, 2008 #4
  6. Feb 13, 2008 #5

    malawi_glenn

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    Any copy of an introductory book in QM from your library would do good :)
     
  7. Feb 13, 2008 #6

    Defennder

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    For those who own and have used Griffith's Intro to QM, do you know if that textbook provides excercises with answers to problems? If not, can you recommend some texts which do?
     
  8. Feb 13, 2008 #7
    I prefer Zettili, Quantum Mechanics: Concepts and Applications because it's bulky in size and has plenty of examples which are very well selected and presented in detail (step-by-step approach really).
     
  9. Feb 13, 2008 #8

    CompuChip

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    Griffiths has exercises. In the important results he also gives the answer, so you know if you did it right. There is no appendix with answers though.
     
  10. Feb 13, 2008 #9
    I guess that he equally needs exercises and solutions to these.
     
  11. Feb 13, 2008 #10
    I think the Feynman Lectures (Volume III) are a fantasitc introduction and very easy to understand.
     
  12. Feb 13, 2008 #11

    The trick with Feynman Lectures is that almost everyone who has read this gets an impression that he understands physics, but in fact most of readers still do not. The impression of easiness of the subject which the reading of the Lectures gives is often wrong, IMO.
     
  13. Feb 13, 2008 #12
    Feynman was one of the first to admit that no one realy understands physics!
     
  14. Feb 13, 2008 #13

    ZapperZ

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    Actually, what he said was something to the effect that no one understands Quantum Mechanics. However, this has been bastardized and been misinterpreted, mainly by people who have never studied quantum mechanics, and by crackpots as a license to make things up.

    Zz.
     
  15. Feb 13, 2008 #14
    My point is that nobody _should_ believe they understand QM, especially not after reading the Lectures. Nonetheless, I think it is a good introduction.
     
  16. Feb 13, 2008 #15

    ZapperZ

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    I'm actually on the opposite end. I don't think the Feynman lectures are a good introduction to physics. Pedagogically, it is very difficult. I highly recommend it to seniors, and anyone studying for the GRE and qualifying exams, but I do not recommend it to freshmen.

    Note that the Feynman Lectures were written not by Feynman. They were lecture notes taken when he taught intro physics at Caltech. In "Genius" by Gleick, he described how difficult the lectures were for the undergraduate students to follow, resulting in many dropping the course. On the other hand, graduate students and other faculty members flocked to the lectures. This emphasizes my point that the book is good for someone who already understands a bit of undergraduate physics, but not someone who is trying to learn it.

    Zz.
     
  17. Feb 13, 2008 #16
    That's a good point. I did have a pretty good undergraduate physics base (even though I was a Comp. Engineer) going into the Lectures.
     
  18. Feb 19, 2008 #17
    I was just thinking about this, as well. What about for someone like me who had pre-calculus 20 years ago and hasn't done any hard math since? Should I start with pre-calculus again to sharpen my math skills, move on to actual calculus, and then dive into the Intro to QM stuff? I'd really like to understand it more. My physics education didn't go beyond high school physics, although I was really good at it at the time. I'd love to get back into it, but I'm not sure where to start.

    Thanks,
    John
     
  19. Feb 19, 2008 #18

    dx

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    I disagree. There are many parts of the Feynman lectures that are suitable as introductions. Infact, I think that the second volume on electromagnetism is one of the best introductions to the subject. Many people say that the volumes are unsuitable because they dont have excercises and worked out examples. This doesnt make the books useless. Examples and excercises can be found everywhere, and it is quite easy to find a book with examples and excercises at the right level to supplement Feynman's books.
     
  20. Feb 19, 2008 #19

    ZapperZ

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    I never count against any book just because it doesn't have exercises. That has never been a factor at all. However, I do try to look at a book based on how well it deals with the subject matter from someone who has never seen it before. Having been that someone who did try to use the Feynman Lectures when he was in intro physics under the delusion that he could learn from it better than the course's textbook, I can speak from personal experience (and the experience of the people in my study group who all tried to use it) that it was a struggle.

    Now I can see, with hindsight, how terrific the book is. There are parts that are just plain brilliant, and if one actually could understand it, there's a wealth of information there in just a few paragraphs. But this is like an author looking at his own paper. You read everything and it is crystal clear to you. I can read many parts of the book that I had struggled with as a first year undergrad and I can't remember why it was so difficult back then. This is because one has had a clearer perspective on how various things fit in with each other.

    Maybe the book works for others. But based on my experience, and based on what I've seen, I would not recommend it for first year undergraduates. And from what I've read in Glick's book, I'd say there's ample evidence that many other students at Caltech had the same problem when the material was first presented.

    Zz.
     
  21. Feb 19, 2008 #20

    George Jones

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    You might want to try The Strange World of Quantum Mechanics by Daniel F. Styer.
     
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