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Where do I go from here?

  1. Aug 9, 2004 #1

    I actually find that I cannot understand most physics texts because most of them are very mathematical in nature. And I'm wondering what are the steps do I have to take in order to achieve some knowledge on mathematics in order to understand physics texts, especially those on quantum physics and quantum mechanics. I was thinking if like a step-by-step guide can be given, like what do I learn, which is more accessible to what I know now, then what do I learn after that. Like maybe, learn number theory first then abstract algebra? Something like that, thanks for any help, I kinda need it, so when I go to the library, I know what stuff I need, thanks.

    Currently, I can do basic calculus, basic differentiation and integration, I am a 16-year old, doing my O levels and I can do, basic calculus, 2nd derivatives, integration and stuff. So where do I go after this? Thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 9, 2004 #2


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    The catch words:
    Vector calculus, linear algebra and differential equations!!
    You are ready to study these concepts now (I assume you with basic calculus meant one-variable calculus, if you've already proceeded beyond that, sorry about my assumption)

    These disciplines are absolutely essential, in addition you'll need to work yourself into basic probability theory.
    Calculus of variations and group theory will come in handy as well..
  4. Aug 9, 2004 #3


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    Pick up this text (which I HIGHLY recommend to anyone majoring in physics, engineering, and other physical science):

    Mary Boas "Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences" 2nd Ed. (Wiley).

    This text is meant to be studied on one's own, and assumes basic knowledge in college level mathematics at the intro calculus level. The latter chapter will require more mathematical sophistication. It is aimed at students in their 2nd or 3rd year before they are faced with advanced undergraduate classes that require that they know the mathematics that accompany these subjects.

    There is an accompanying Students Solution Manual, which I also recommend. In it, she just doesn't show you how to solve a few selected problems, she sometimes EXPLAINS the reason for solving it one way and not the other.


    P.S. This text contains all of the topics suggested by arildno (except for group theory, which isn't something commonly needed in most areas of the physical sciences). [Y'know, I should get a commission for doing this.....]
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2004
  5. Aug 9, 2004 #4
    Hey thanks for the help, I'll definitely go catch up on those. Yea, you're right, 1 variable calculus is as far as i can go. And to zapperz, I'm not too sure if libraries here in Singapore have that book, but I'll go look for them.

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