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Susskind lectures on Quantum Physics

  1. Apr 20, 2013 #1
    Are the susskind lectures a good way to learn quantum physics?
    I am doing just the introduction to quantum physics in high school and we have done:

    Black body radiation, photoelectric effect, Rutherford, Bohr's, Compton effect, pair production, a lot about de Broglie wave-matter duality, confirmation of W-M duality, linear superposition, uncertainty principle, Wolfgang Pauli's work, quarks etc.

    I would like to self learn actual quantum physics before I go to uni. I have the Zettili textbook but I found lectures from Stanford by Leonard Susskind so are they good? Is that how quantum physics is tought in most unis? The thing is that I want to prepare myself for uni quantum physics so I don't waste my time.

    Also, what's the math level required for quantum physics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 20, 2013 #2
    The lectures are pretty nice. But please don't rely on those lecture alone. They should be merely a secondary resource, not a primary one.
    It is crucial that you get an actual textbook on QM and work through that. In particular: do as many challenging problems as you can. Just reading the book or watching the lectures will teach you very little.

    The prerequisites to QM are (imo):
    - Calculus I, II and III
    - Differential Equations
    - Linear algebra proof based (not necessary, but HIGHLY recommended)
    - A very good grasp of classical mechanics, including Hamiltonian mechanics

    If you do QM without those prerequisites, then you will only get a watered down version. It's better to secure the prereqs for now and not to go into QM too quickly.
  4. Apr 20, 2013 #3


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    Since you're in high school, if you know calculus and algebra Susskind's lectures are a very good resource.

    However they are not like the standard undergraduate courses. They cover only the very basic ideas. As an undergraduate you will learn a lot more than what Susskind covers.
  5. Apr 20, 2013 #4
    I need to learn differential equations (for some reason this isn't covered in high school maths) and Hamiltonian mechanics properly then :)

    Do you recommend any textbooks/sites to learn these?
  6. Apr 20, 2013 #5
    Yeah, I looked through the Zettili textbook, looks way more complicated then Susskind's.
  7. Apr 20, 2013 #6
    When I began to learn QM on my own I watched some Susskind lectures. There is a series of video lectures by professor J. J. Binney of Oxford which covers more. I think the Binney lectures might be more representative of undergraduate QM at one of the better universities. The Susskind lectures might be more basic and don't cover as much.

    As for the math knowledge, I would say you must know some things about calculus, linear algebra, and complex numbers first. That is, you should have the equivalent of BC calculus that covers derivatives, integrals, and Taylor series expansions, and also one semester of linear algebra. You should know complex number concepts like complex multiplication, complex conjugate, and Euler's formula/polar representation.

    Familiarity with Fourier analysis, Dirac deltas, and generalization of elementary linear algebra concepts to continuous functions might be beneficial. I knew about those when I began to study QM in earnest.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013
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