- #1

DrSuage

- 46

- 10

This unexpected success has made me realize 2 things

1. I am actually very very interested in pursuing a career in physics research since there is **** else I can motivate myself to do apart from sit around and play guitar and write poetry. I know that it sounds like a horrible horrible cliche but the mathematical and theoretical side of things is what really grabs my attention - I find myself attracted to things because they are conceptually challenging (probably because I am a nasty showoff) and so I have now decided that the goal I wish to attack with gusto is doing a Phd in Particle Physics after I have finished my 4years integrated masters in Theoretical Physics.

2. That if I wish to execute the plan outlined in point 1, my life will have to undergo a significant change.

To this end I have decided to study significantly by myself this summer.

The advice I am going to need is going to have to be tailored specifically to my module choices for 3rd year (beginning in october) which are given below:

Foundations of Physics 3A - many particle QM, Nuclear and Particle Phyiscs

Foundations of Physics 3B - Statistical Mechanics, Modern Optics, Magnetic Materials

Key Skills - computing, General problem solving

Theoretical Physics - Advanced Quantum Theory, Covariant Electromagnetism and Special Relativity

Mathematics Workshop - Infinite Dimensional vector spaces and Hilbert spaces, Complex Analysis, Integral Transforms, Variational Calculus and Infinte Series manipulations.

Planets and Cosmology - Planetary systems and introduction to modern Cosmology.

What I know so far -

Maths

Elementary Mathematics

Calculus up to and including vector calculus (in a functional fashion - **** all formal proofs like a proper mathematician, a lot of handwavy stuff that I am not too happy with, but I can do most calculations)

Linear Algebra - we were taught this by a probable serial killer in 1st year. turned out that its a lot easier than he made it out to be

Fourier series and the transform

ODEs (a course which taught us how to solve them but not much about the structure/ interesting stuff)

PDEs - Separation of variables and nothing else

Physics

Classical Mechanics up to Hamilton-Jacobi Equation (although don't quiz me on some of the more tough stuff - I reckon the exam this year focussed on mainly lagrangian mechanics and some of the rotational stuff)

Electromagnetism - Maxwell's equations in differential form, some special techniques (multipole/method of images) optics, a bit on radiation.

Quantum mechanics - 2 courses, 1st one taught us how to do basic QM - schrodingers equation for various classic problems, hydrogen atom, intro to pertubation theory, 2nd one was a tad more mysterious - hilbert spaces, dirac notation, Heisenberg picture, time evolution, rotations and groups, spin 1/2 systems, ladder operators etc.

Thermodynamics up to maxwell relations

Special Relativity in an introductory fashion - lorentz transforms, energy momentum relation. nothing with 4 vectors or geometry yet.

I would like directions to appropriate literature that would allow me to advance from where I am. What topics in mathematics should I seek to gain a deeper understanding of? (stuff like group theory came up in the quantum theory course - we've never been taught it and nor does it seem like you can even do it as part of the physics undergrad degree since its not offered in the maths workshop classes. as I understand now Lie Groups/algebras are vital to QM so I should probably learn about them as well as a whole bunch of other stuff like differential forms and tensors).

What do you think the most constructive way to spend my summer would be physics-wise (bear in mind I am working a 9-5 in a building yard to support myself financially and pay off my debts)

Books I have:

Introduction to Electrodynamics - Griffiths (awesome - love this dude)

Introduction to Quantum Mechanics - Bransden and Joachain (awful - classic example of Durham nepotism - Bransden was a professor there for ages)

Mathematics for Engineering - Riley Hobson Bence (really good for introductions but not very formal at all)

Analytical Mechanics - Hand and Finch (I liked this book a lot but most people hated it)

Introduction to Thermodynamics - Shavit and Gutfinger (engineering book really. v dull)

University Physics - Young and Freedman. (now only useful for practising problem solving)

I also have the Carroll and Ostlie book on modern astronomy can't remember the title.

I hate the QM book - what's a better one and why?

what should I do to best prepare myself for the new topics next year?

also more generally on the life side of things - how does one approach the problem of remaining committed. I survived this year by cram revising for my exams (which was effective) but i suspect that the jump in difficulty next year will be considerable.

I am insanely lazy and prone to doing stupid things like getting high and missing class.

I appreciate that i will need to change my social life if i want to do this but i don't want to relinquish the good friends i currently have...

I want to fix my relationship with my parents but they refuse to talk to me until I've gone to rehab which I won't do because I am not and addict (never used real drugs like heroin or whatever, mostly mdma, cocaine, weed, ket or psychedelics and only for a night out or recreation). I am hoping if I can show them a dedication to my degree and pay them back the money I owe them that they might forgive me for being such a wasteman.

Cheers

Been a bit of an outpouring I know guys

any help appreciated

xx