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Which is easier to learn, QM or GR?

  1. May 31, 2010 #1
    I will eventually learn both, but as far as mathematics goes (not concept,) which is easier to learn, Quantum Mechanics or General Relativity? I really am asking in terms of mathematics, because I know Quantum Mechanics has more application but I am not using that as a factor.

  2. jcsd
  3. May 31, 2010 #2
    Both require something which most regard at first sight to be 'new and tricky'. For QM you will need to learn all about vector spaces and operator algebra, whereas GR needs a firm grounding in differential topology and tensor analysis.

    I suppose both are equally difficult at first look, since both require mathematical concepts of the like you will not have encountered before.

  4. May 31, 2010 #3


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    Definitely QM: At the introductory level it's mostly linear algebra, and some PDEs. You may have already picked all of this up in your studies. GR on the other hand needs a good amount of what is probably new math: namely differential geometry and tensor analysis.
  5. May 31, 2010 #4
    Heh, for a second I read QM as "QFT." I'd definitely say QM. Yeah, you need to learn a bunch of linear algebra, but most people do that their sophomore year. And since the new math is introduced in a physics context, I found QM a lot easier than GR.
  6. Jun 2, 2010 #5

    George Jones

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    How many one-semester courses are used to cover QM in a typical undergrad program? How many one-semester courses are used to cover GR in a typical undergrad program?
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