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Question
Hi,
I am a 19 year old student from India. I am studying in first year of engineering but i want to study quantum mechanics in whatever time i get. I am not able to figure out where to start. Should i get a standard text on QM or first start with the math ?. I dont know what level of math the subject requires. I wanted to buy feynman lecture series but many articles said that it is not for beginners and does not contain rigorous math.please suggest some book(s) to start with.The only physics text i have is 8th edition of resnick-halliday-walker.
Thank you.

Answer
Hi Ajay:

Before you can really study QM, you will need to have completed a course in differential equations.  By the second year of your engineering you will have that experience.  Then get yourself a real Modern Physics text, such as Tipler, and study that.  Once you have completed that, you can approach a serious QM text such as the one by Griffiths.  A course in applied differential equations (like classical mechanics) and a course in matrix methods would also be advisable.

Basically, QM is not a subject you can really learn in the first year of university.  Whether you are an engineering major or a physics major.  It is a third year course and you need the tools that are developed in the first years to be able to do more than simply have vague notions of the subject.

Cheers,

Carlo

Careers: Physics

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Carlo Segre

Expertise

I can answer most questions about studying physics in college and graduate school; questions about condensed matter physics; x-ray physics; synchrotron radiation; and general and modern physics. I can also answer questions about careers in academia.

Experience

Professor of physics for 30 years at Illinois Institute of Technology. Academic adviser for undergraduates and graduate students. I have served on university promotion and tenure committees, search committees for Deans and Department Chairs. I have also been an Associate Department Chair and an Associate Dean. I have 34 years experience in materials science research and I have been responsible for building and now managing a User facility at the Advanced Photon Source.

Organizations
American Physical Society
Sigma Xi
American Chemical Society
American Associate for the Advancement of Science
International Centre for Diffraction Data (Fellow)
International X-ray Absorption Society


Publications
Nature; Physical Review Letters; Physical Review; Applied Physics Letters; Journal of Physical Chemistry; Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials; Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics; Solid State Communications; Physics Letters; Journal of Low Temperature Physics; Journal of Crystal Growth and Design; Physics Letters; Journal of Applied Physics; Journal of Archaeological Science; Physica C; Corrosion Science; Electrochimica Acta; Journal of Nuclear Materials

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. Physics, 1981 - University of California, San Diego
M.S. Physics, 1977 - University of California, San Diego
B.S. Physics, 1976 - University of illinois, Champaign-Urbana
B.S. Chemistry 1976 - University of illinois, Champaign-Urbana

Awards and Honors
Duchossois Leadership Professor of Physics, IIT Fellow, International Center for Diffraction Data

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