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B What exactly is quantum physics?

  1. Aug 12, 2016 #1
    Hi! I have been watching videos and a documentary about quantum physics on topics such as Schroedinger's cat, quantum entanglement and quantum teletrasportation. I am currently in high school, and don't have such competence in math needed to understand what exactly is quantum physics, and I am afraid I got the wrong idea or the wrong excitement about quantum physics. I really though would like to know about quantum physics specifically about what it entails and is exactly, easier words a realistic idea or picture which the documentary fail to portray apparently. Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2016 #2

    Nugatory

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    Staff: Mentor

    Forget the videos and documentaries. Many of them are garbage, you have no reliable way of picking out the good ones, and even the good ones won't be organized in a way that presents the overall picture.

    Giancarlo Girardi's book "Sneaking a look at god's cards" would be a good start.
     
  4. Aug 12, 2016 #3

    bhobba

    Staff: Mentor

    At your level you need to build up to it gradually and move on as your math increases.

    Here is what I would recommend to start with:
    https://www.amazon.com/QED-Strange-Theory-Light-Matter/dp/0691024170
    https://www.amazon.com/Fields-Color-theory-escaped-Einstein/dp/0473179768
    https://www.amazon.com/Where-Does-Weirdness-Go-Mechanics/dp/0465067867

    But really you need to study calculus, the early exposure to which will also greatly help your high school studies. Here is the updated version doing that (but start with the above anyway):
    https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Calculus-Self-Teaching-Guide-2nd/dp/0471827223
    https://www.amazon.com/Theoretical-Minimum-Start-Doing-Physics/dp/0465075681
    https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Mechanics-Theoretical-Leonard-Susskind/dp/0465062903
    https://www.amazon.com/Structure-Interpretation-Quantum-Mechanics/dp/0674843924

    And of course, not just for QM but physics in general, the superb Feynman Lectures, which everyone interested in physics should devour:
    http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/

    Beyond that best to get back to us once you have read the above.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  5. Aug 13, 2016 #4
    I second to not look at popularisations, google "woo" and immunize yourself against it by reading standard texts and asking questions in a place like this.

    And there will be math...lots of math.
     
  6. Aug 13, 2016 #5

    A. Neumaier

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    Science Advisor
    2016 Award

    The popular videos are there to raise interest and to demonstrate that there is something exciting about quantum physics. But the details should not be taken too seriously, as they are a gross simplification of the real thing, and therefore a gross distortion of what needs a lot of study to comprehend.

    So take your excitement as motivation to dig deeper. Recognize that it takes years to understand the subject in depth but that already much more limited but serious study goes some way towards this goal. To get some guidance for how to learn the subject efficiently you might wish to look at Learning quantum mechanics at age 14, and other items from my theoretical physics FAQ at http://www.mat.univie.ac.at/~neum/physfaq/physics-faq.html
     
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