Quantum Physics
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22-08-2015, 11:12 AM
Quantum Physics
Does anyone know any good resources to start learning about quantum physics? I find the subject fascinating and would love to learn as much as possible about it. Thanks!

[Image: Math-Fail-Pics-140.jpg]

(22-08-2015 07:30 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  It is by will alone I set my brows in motion it is by the conditioner of avocado that the brows acquire volume the skin acquires spots the spots become a warning. It is by will alone I set my brows in motion.
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22-08-2015, 12:18 PM (This post was last modified: 22-08-2015 12:28 PM by cjlr.)
RE: Quantum Physics
(22-08-2015 11:12 AM)Octapulse Wrote:  Does anyone know any good resources to start learning about quantum physics? I find the subject fascinating and would love to learn as much as possible about it. Thanks!

[Image: Math-Fail-Pics-140.jpg]

If I wanted to give a pitiably arrogant answer, I'd say my own posts on this forum...

Er, anyway, one of those four panels in the graphic is about relativity, which isn't quantum - and to say that the uncertainty principle leads to free will is leaning hard into Deepity territory.

There are a couple questions to lay out first. What sort of science background do you have? The answer as to what makes a good resource depends on what sort of material you already feel comfortable with. And what sort of understanding do you want to have? Extensive mathematical rigour probably isn't something most people are after...

My stock recommendations - for anyone learning about anything - are Stephen Hawking's duo, A Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell. But above that, the single greatest non-strictly-academic physics text I have ever encountered is Simonyi's A Cultural History of Physics: this guy, that is.


EDIT:
Sweet Noodly Appendage, stock is right...
(09-10-2013 01:13 PM)cjlr Wrote:  But let's see. Physics. You can't go wrong with Hawking (A Brief History of Time, The Universe in a Nutshell). Kind of esoteric though. I can also once again plug pretty much my favourite book ever (seriously!), A Cultural History of Physics by Károly Simonyi.
(17-03-2014 09:22 AM)cjlr Wrote:  I have perennial recommendations. First, Stephen Hawking's pair: A Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell.

Second - my bet for the single greatest book ever, Simonyi's A Cultural History of Physics. But, that one's quite a bit denser.

I look forward to giving the same answer for years to come!
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22-08-2015, 02:03 PM
RE: Quantum Physics
I would say I have an average understanding of science and physics. Mathematically I am at a university level in the use of algebra and statistics. I understand how to calculate probabilities and have learned some advanced algebraic tools such as linear programming. As for quantum physics, I have a rudimentary understanding. I am familiar with the sub-atomic components and forces, the ability of protons to behave like particles and waves depending upon observation due to the superposition principle. I guess I would like to know where to go from there

(22-08-2015 07:30 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  It is by will alone I set my brows in motion it is by the conditioner of avocado that the brows acquire volume the skin acquires spots the spots become a warning. It is by will alone I set my brows in motion.
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22-08-2015, 03:03 PM
RE: Quantum Physics
(22-08-2015 02:03 PM)Octapulse Wrote:  I would say I have an average understanding of science and physics. Mathematically I am at a university level in the use of algebra and statistics. I understand how to calculate probabilities and have learned some advanced algebraic tools such as linear programming. As for quantum physics, I have a rudimentary understanding. I am familiar with the sub-atomic components and forces, the ability of protons to behave like particles and waves depending upon observation due to the superposition principle. I guess I would like to know where to go from there

Calculus and linear algebra are the basic tools of quantum physics, the latter generally in formulating and the former generally in evaluating. But an approach purely from statistics and statistical mechanics would be pedagogically fascinating, actually - it'd even be somewhat viable, given that some of the purely mathematical the tools later repurposed for quantum treatments were originally devised as generalisations of probability theory.

I suppose, then, it depends on what you want to learn? How much formal rigour you want is really the deciding factor between what we might broadly call academic versus popular texts. If the latter, the three namedropped above are my picks, and I literally cannot gush hard enough about what a masterpiece I think Simonyi's work is. From Aristotle and Eratosthenes and the rudiments of epistemology and metaphysics all the way to speculative quantum field theory and the eve of the Higgs boson, all with extracts from source documents, cross-references, allusions to art and history. But seriously, buy this book.

If the former... well. I took a picture of a few of the books on my office bookshelf, nicely stacked on my desk:
[Image: cjlr_textbooks_zpsgy8hqxpw.jpg]
(beer stein for scale)

Griffith's Intro to Quantum is very clear with an almost conversational tone. Sakurai is good. Negele & Orland's quantum statistics or Jackson's electrodynamics are seminal works, but they're obtuse to the point of sadism if you ask those of us who had to work through some of the problems...

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22-08-2015, 04:04 PM
RE: Quantum Physics
Thanks, I just found a great website called profmattstrassler.com that has a lot of great information centered around the Large Hadron Collider. I'm learning a lot already!

(22-08-2015 07:30 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  It is by will alone I set my brows in motion it is by the conditioner of avocado that the brows acquire volume the skin acquires spots the spots become a warning. It is by will alone I set my brows in motion.
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22-08-2015, 06:07 PM (This post was last modified: 22-08-2015 06:27 PM by ZoraPrime.)
RE: Quantum Physics
It really depends what you want out of it. Mathematics will be the main barrier, with linear algebra, differential equations, and calculus being the most relevant as they underline the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics.

However, I'll go ahead and list texts in terms of mathematical barrier:
No Mathematics:
- The Quantum Universe by Brain Cox. Decent-enough popular science book that explains quantum mechanics. He chiefly relies on the feynman path integral formulation (although, he doesn't ever use that name) to try to explain quantum mechanics conceptually. Main barrier is that since Cox cleearly knows the mathematics but is trying his hardest not to use it, the book's "formalism" for how to transform wavefunctions is confusing. If you can understand the book's internal formalism, it's golden. If you can't, it'll probably confuse you.

Some Mathematics:
- Quantum Physics Eisberg and Resnieck. This would probably be my number one recommended source. This is a straight-up textbook that is designed for a pre-quantum class. It's not so advanced that it'll rely on all the mathematical trickery and always tries to explain as much as it can conceptually. Unlike Cox, this book won't try to find unorthodox methods to explain concepts. The downside is that because it's not trying to delve deep into the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics, whenever anything requires too much mathematics to explain, it'll shy away. Also, be warned, this is on the low side of mathematics. If you find the mathematics in this book too hard, the other textbooks (like Griffiths) will be much worse by comparison.

- Feynman Lectures Vol. 3: I haven't used this personally. If it's like any other Feynman lecture, he'll emphasize the concepts even though the mathematics is all there. I want to say Vol 3 is unique in that he takes the matrix mechanics approach; thus making the emphasis on linear algebra. I'm not sure how mathematical it gets, but I don't think it gets too bad. If nothing else, it's free, so may not be a bad place to start. Link: http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/III_toc.html This might also be an excellent place to start/

Note that what's usually missing without the mathematical formalism is understanding how wavefunctions evolve in time. Instead, the main emphasis in a text such as Eisberg and Resnick are they stationary states, i.e. wavefunction that don't evolve in time*.

*up to a phase.

Lots of mathematics:
- Quantum Mechanics and Elementary Particle Physics Griffiths. Griffiths is an excellent textbook author for junior level material. He's clear, says what needs to be said, and is conversational enough that he's easy to follow but thurough enought hat it doesn't seem like much is left out. His books do omit some material that are typically reserved for graduate courses, but such is life. Quantum Mechanics will focus on wavefunctions and how they evolve in time and how to find probabilities for wavefunction collapses; Particle Physics will focus on how particles interact; however chapter 4 and onwards has probably the highest bar of mathematics. Still, if you can, look at his Quantum Mechanics book and see how much of it you can follow--if the mathematics wasn't a concern, it'd be the go to reference for starting QM.

- MIT Lectures for Quantum I and Quantum II: If you're audiovisual, MIT has free lectures on this content. It's at the same level of material for Griffiths. The first lecture is very easy to follow and explains superposition damn well; however, later lectures again have the same mathematical barrier Griffiths has. Link: http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/physics/8-04-...ring-2013/


Also, just a comment about probability. Quantum mechanics does involve probability, but I'm not sure how much a typical statistics/probability course will help. The only construct that's useful is knowing what a probability density function (PDF) is in general, how expected value and higher moments are defined w.r.t. to an arbitrary probability density function, and how to get the cumulative density function (CDF). Even then, I wouldn't say finding the probability directly is the emphasis in a quantum mechanics course; the emphasis is finding the so-called probability amplitude, whose norm squared is related to a PDF.

Since most physics majors don't see these probability concepts like PDFs in a typical physics sequence, textbooks usually take time to explain the concept. I know for a fact that Griffith's Quantum Mechanics book does a pretty lucid treatment of all relevant probability concepts in the first chapter. However, while finding probabilities (and expected values) are usually the goal of a given quantum mechanics problem, actually calculating them usually feels like an after thought.



Although cjlr already pointed out that the third panel in the OP is relativity, it also bothers me that the second one is classical electrodynamics. But whatever; I'm honestly not sure how seriously the image is supposed to be taken given the last panel.
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22-08-2015, 06:39 PM
RE: Quantum Physics
(22-08-2015 06:07 PM)ZoraPrime Wrote:  It really depends what you want out of it. Mathematics will be the main barrier, with linear algebra, differential equations, and calculus being the most relevant as they underline the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics.

However, I'll go ahead and list texts in terms of mathematical barrier:
No Mathematics:
- The Quantum Universe by Brain Cox. Decent-enough popular science book that explains quantum mechanics. He chiefly relies on the feynman path integral formulation (although, he doesn't ever use that name) to try to explain quantum mechanics conceptually. Main barrier is that since Cox cleearly knows the mathematics but is trying his hardest not to use it, the book's "formalism" for how to transform wavefunctions is confusing. If you can understand the book's internal formalism, it's golden. If you can't, it'll probably confuse you.

Some Mathematics:
- Quantum Physics Eisberg and Resnieck. This would probably be my number one recommended source. This is a straight-up textbook that is designed for a pre-quantum class. It's not so advanced that it'll rely on all the mathematical trickery and always tries to explain as much as it can conceptually. Unlike Cox, this book won't try to find unorthodox methods to explain concepts. The downside is that because it's not trying to delve deep into the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics, whenever anything requires too much mathematics to explain, it'll shy away. Also, be warned, this is on the low side of mathematics. If you find the mathematics in this book too hard, the other textbooks (like Griffiths) will be much worse by comparison.

- Feynman Lectures Vol. 3: I haven't used this personally. If it's like any other Feynman lecture, he'll emphasize the concepts even though the mathematics is all there. I want to say Vol 3 is unique in that he takes the matrix mechanics approach; thus making the emphasis on linear algebra. I'm not sure how mathematical it gets, but I don't think it gets too bad. If nothing else, it's free, so may not be a bad place to start. Link: http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/III_toc.html This might also be an excellent place to start/

Note that what's usually missing without the mathematical formalism is understanding how wavefunctions evolve in time. Instead, the main emphasis in a text such as Eisberg and Resnick are they stationary states, i.e. wavefunction that don't evolve in time*.

*up to a phase.

Lots of mathematics:
- Quantum Mechanics and Elementary Particle Physics Griffiths. Griffiths is an excellent textbook author for junior level material. He's clear, says what needs to be said, and is conversational enough that he's easy to follow but thurough enought hat it doesn't seem like much is left out. His books do omit some material that are typically reserved for graduate courses, but such is life. Quantum Mechanics will focus on wavefunctions and how they evolve in time and how to find probabilities for wavefunction collapses; Particle Physics will focus on how particles interact; however chapter 4 and onwards has probably the highest bar of mathematics. Still, if you can, look at his Quantum Mechanics book and see how much of it you can follow--if the mathematics wasn't a concern, it'd be the go to reference for starting QM.

- MIT Lectures for Quantum I and Quantum II: If you're audiovisual, MIT has free lectures on this content. It's at the same level of material for Griffiths. The first lecture is very easy to follow and explains superposition damn well; however, later lectures again have the same mathematical barrier Griffiths has. Link: http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/physics/8-04-...ring-2013/


Also, just a comment about probability. Quantum mechanics does involve probability, but I'm not sure how much a typical statistics/probability course will help. The only construct that's useful is knowing what a probability density function (PDF) is in general, how expected value and higher moments are defined w.r.t. to an arbitrary probability density function, and how to get the cumulative density function (CDF). Even then, I wouldn't say finding the probability directly is the emphasis in a quantum mechanics course; the emphasis is finding the so-called probability amplitude, whose norm squared is related to a PDF.

Since most physics majors don't see these probability concepts like PDFs in a typical physics sequence, textbooks usually take time to explain the concept. I know for a fact that Griffith's Quantum Mechanics book does a pretty lucid treatment of all relevant probability concepts in the first chapter. However, while finding probabilities (and expected values) are usually the goal of a given quantum mechanics problem, actually calculating them usually feels like an after thought.



Although cjlr already pointed out that the third panel in the OP is relativity, it also bothers me that the second one is classical electrodynamics. But whatever; I'm honestly not sure how seriously the image is supposed to be taken given the last panel.

Awesome, thank you for the links! Particle physics is what I'm studying at the moment. I'm learning about the various types of quarks, anti-quarks and gluons that form hadrons. It was interesting to learn that proton particles, despite being seen as having two up quarks and one down quark actually have zillions of quarks and anti-quarks and gluons dashing around at near the speed of light and smashing into each other. I think next I will learn about how gluons act as carriers of energy in terms of gravitational and electro-magnetic forces.

(22-08-2015 07:30 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  It is by will alone I set my brows in motion it is by the conditioner of avocado that the brows acquire volume the skin acquires spots the spots become a warning. It is by will alone I set my brows in motion.
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22-08-2015, 06:43 PM
RE: Quantum Physics
(22-08-2015 06:39 PM)Octapulse Wrote:  Awesome, thank you for the links! Particle physics is what I'm studying at the moment. I'm learning about the various types of quarks, anti-quarks and gluons that form hadrons. It was interesting to learn that proton particles, despite being seen as having two up quarks and one down quark actually have zillions of quarks and anti-quarks and gluons dashing around at near the speed of light and smashing into each other. I think next I will learn about how gluons act as carriers of energy in terms of gravitational and electro-magnetic forces.

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22-08-2015, 08:18 PM
RE: Quantum Physics
(22-08-2015 11:12 AM)Octapulse Wrote:  Does anyone know any good resources to start learning about quantum physics? I find the subject fascinating and would love to learn as much as possible about it. Thanks!

This is where you should start: https://www.youtube.com/user/viascience

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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23-08-2015, 05:39 AM (This post was last modified: 23-08-2015 05:47 AM by Octapulse.)
RE: Quantum Physics
(22-08-2015 06:43 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(22-08-2015 06:39 PM)Octapulse Wrote:  Awesome, thank you for the links! Particle physics is what I'm studying at the moment. I'm learning about the various types of quarks, anti-quarks and gluons that form hadrons. It was interesting to learn that proton particles, despite being seen as having two up quarks and one down quark actually have zillions of quarks and anti-quarks and gluons dashing around at near the speed of light and smashing into each other. I think next I will learn about how gluons act as carriers of energy in terms of gravitational and electro-magnetic forces.

Charming, but strange. Drinking Beverage

Very strange but fascinating! Like how protons will act like waves as long as you aren't watching, or how quantum leap is observed in electrons. I don't know if this is related to quantum physics, but I read that the universal speed limit of 99.99% of the speed of light is due to reality breaking down as a result of something other than light travelling at the same speed.

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(22-08-2015 07:30 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  It is by will alone I set my brows in motion it is by the conditioner of avocado that the brows acquire volume the skin acquires spots the spots become a warning. It is by will alone I set my brows in motion.
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