Reddit reviews: The best quantum theory books

We found 375 Reddit comments discussing the best quantum theory books. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 110 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.

Top Reddit comments about Quantum Theory:

u/dargscisyhp · 7 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

I'd like to give you my two cents as well on how to proceed here. If nothing else, this will be a second opinion. If I could redo my physics education, this is how I'd want it done.

If you are truly wanting to learn these fields in depth I cannot stress how important it is to actually work problems out of these books, not just read them. There is a certain understanding that comes from struggling with problems that you just can't get by reading the material. On that note, I would recommend getting the Schaum's outline to whatever subject you are studying if you can find one. They are great books with hundreds of solved problems and sample problems for you to try with the answers in the back. When you get to the point you can't find Schaums anymore, I would recommend getting as many solutions manuals as possible. The problems will get very tough, and it's nice to verify that you did the problem correctly or are on the right track, or even just look over solutions to problems you decide not to try.


I second Stewart's Calculus cover to cover (except the final chapter on differential equations) and Halliday, Resnick and Walker's Fundamentals of Physics. Not all sections from HRW are necessary, but be sure you have the fundamentals of mechanics, electromagnetism, optics, and thermal physics down at the level of HRW.

Once you're done with this move on to studying differential equations. Many physics theorems are stated in terms of differential equations so really getting the hang of these is key to moving on. Differential equations are often taught as two separate classes, one covering ordinary differential equations and one covering partial differential equations. In my opinion, a good introductory textbook to ODEs is one by Morris Tenenbaum and Harry Pollard. That said, there is another book by V. I. Arnold that I would recommend you get as well. The Arnold book may be a bit more mathematical than you are looking for, but it was written as an introductory text to ODEs and you will have a deeper understanding of ODEs after reading it than your typical introductory textbook. This deeper understanding will be useful if you delve into the nitty-gritty parts of classical mechanics. For partial differential equations I recommend the book by Haberman. It will give you a good understanding of different methods you can use to solve PDEs, and is very much geared towards problem-solving.

From there, I would get a decent book on Linear Algebra. I used the one by Leon. I can't guarantee that it's the best book out there, but I think it will get the job done.

This should cover most of the mathematical training you need to move onto the intermediate level physics textbooks. There will be some things that are missing, but those are usually covered explicitly in the intermediate texts that use them (i.e. the Delta function). Still, if you're looking for a good mathematical reference, my recommendation is Lua. It may be a good idea to go over some basic complex analysis from this book, though it is not necessary to move on.


At this stage you need to do intermediate level classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and thermal physics at the very least. For electromagnetism, Griffiths hands down. In my opinion, the best pedagogical book for intermediate classical mechanics is Fowles and Cassidy. Once you've read these two books you will have a much deeper understanding of the stuff you learned in HRW. When you're going through the mechanics book pay particular attention to generalized coordinates and Lagrangians. Those become pretty central later on. There is also a very old book by Robert Becker that I think is great. It's problems are tough, and it goes into concepts that aren't typically covered much in depth in other intermediate mechanics books such as statics. I don't think you'll find a torrent for this, but it is 5 bucks on Amazon. That said, I don't think Becker is necessary. For quantum, I cannot recommend Zettili highly enough. Get this book. Tons of worked out examples. In my opinion, Zettili is the best quantum book out there at this level. Finally for thermal physics I would use Mandl. This book is merely sufficient, but I don't know of a book that I liked better.

This is the bare minimum. However, if you find a particular subject interesting, delve into it at this point. If you want to learn Solid State physics there's Kittel. Want to do more Optics? How about Hecht. General relativity? Even that should be accessible with Schutz. Play around here before moving on. A lot of very fascinating things should be accessible to you, at least to a degree, at this point.


Before moving on to physics, it is once again time to take up the mathematics. Pick up Arfken and Weber. It covers a great many topics. However, at times it is not the best pedagogical book so you may need some supplemental material on whatever it is you are studying. I would at least read the sections on coordinate transformations, vector analysis, tensors, complex analysis, Green's functions, and the various special functions. Some of this may be a bit of a review, but there are some things Arfken and Weber go into that I didn't see during my undergraduate education even with the topics that I was reviewing. Hell, it may be a good idea to go through the differential equations material in there as well. Again, you may need some supplemental material while doing this. For special functions, a great little book to go along with this is Lebedev.

Beyond this, I think every physicist at the bare minimum needs to take graduate level quantum mechanics, classical mechanics, electromagnetism, and statistical mechanics. For quantum, I recommend Cohen-Tannoudji. This is a great book. It's easy to understand, has many supplemental sections to help further your understanding, is pretty comprehensive, and has more worked examples than a vast majority of graduate text-books. That said, the problems in this book are LONG. Not horrendously hard, mind you, but they do take a long time.

Unfortunately, Cohen-Tannoudji is the only great graduate-level text I can think of. The textbooks in other subjects just don't measure up in my opinion. When you take Classical mechanics I would get Goldstein as a reference but a better book in my opinion is Jose/Saletan as it takes a geometrical approach to the subject from the very beginning. At some point I also think it's worth going through Arnold's treatise on Classical. It's very mathematical and very difficult, but I think once you make it through you will have as deep an understanding as you could hope for in the subject.

u/FunkyFortuneNone · 6 pointsr/quantum

Friend asked for a similar list a while ago and I put this together. Would love to see people thoughts/feedback.

Very High Level Introductions:

  • Mr. Tompkins in Paperback
    • A super fast read that spends less time looking at the "how" but focused instead on the ramifications and impacts. Covers both GR as well as QM but is very high level with both of them. Avoids getting into the details and explaining the why.

  • Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution (Great Courses lecture)
    • This is a great intro to the field of non-classical physics. This walks through GR and QM in a very approachable fashion. More "nuts and bolts" than Mr. Tompkins but longer/more detailed at the same time.

      Deeper Pop-sci Dives (probably in this order):

  • Quantum Theory: A Very Brief Introduction
    • Great introduction to QM. Doesn't really touch on QFT (which is a good thing at this point) and spends a great deal of time (compared to other texts) discussing the nature of QM interpretation and the challenges around that topic.
  • The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces
    • Now we're starting to get into the good stuff. QFT begins to come to the forefront. This book starts to dive into explaining some of the macro elements we see as explained by QM forces. A large part of the book is spent on symmetries and where a proton/nucleon's gluon binding mass comes from (a.k.a. ~95% of the mass we personally experience).
  • The Higgs Boson and Beyond (Great Courses lecture)
    • Great lecture done by Sean Carroll around the time the Higgs boson's discovery was announced. It's a good combination of what role the Higgs plays in particle physics, why it's important and what's next. Also spends a little bit of time discussing how colliders like the LHC work.
  • Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time (Great Courses lecture)
    • Not really heavy on QM at all, however I think it does best to do this lecture after having a bit of the physics under your belt first. The odd nature of time symmetry in the fundamental forces and what that means with regards to our understanding of time as we experience it is more impactful with the additional knowledge (but, like I said, not absolutely required).
  • Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics
    • This is not a mathematical approach like "A Most Incomprehensible Thing" are but it's subject matter is more advanced and the resulting math (at least) an order of magnitude harder (so it's a good thing it's skipped). This is a "high level deep dive" (whatever that means) into QFT though and so discussion of pure abstract math is a huge focus. Lie groups, spontaneous symmetry breaking, internal symmetry spaces etc. are covered.
  • The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
    • This is your desert after working through everything above. Had to include something about string theory here. Not a technical book at all but best to be familiar with QM concepts before diving in.

      Blending the line between pop-sci and mathematical (these books are not meant to be read and put away but instead read, re-read and pondered):

  • A Most Incomprehensible Thing: Intro to GR
    • Sorry, this is GR specific and nothing to do with QM directly. However I think it's a great book acting as an introduction. Definitely don't go audible/kindle. Get the hard copy. Lots of equations. Tensor calculus, Lorentz transforms, Einstein field equations, etc. While it isn't a rigorous textbook it is, at it's core, a mathematics based description not analogies. Falls apart at the end, after all, it can't be rigorous and accessible at the same time, but still well worth the read.
  • The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics
    • Not QM at all. However it is a great introduction to using math as a tool for describing our reality and since it's using it to describe classical mechanics you get to employ all of your classical intuition that you've worked on your entire life. This means you can focus on the idea of using math as a descriptive tool and not as a tool to inform your intuition. Which then would lead us to...
  • Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum
    • Great introduction that uses math in a descriptive way AND to inform our intuition.
  • The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe
    • Incredible book. I think the best way to describe this book is a massive guidebook. You probably won't be able to get through each of the topics based solely on the information presented in the book but the book gives you the tools and knowledge to ask the right questions (which, frankly, as anybody familiar with the topic knows, is actually the hardest part). You're going to be knocking your head against a brick wall plenty with this book. But that's ok, the feeling when the brick wall finally succumbs to your repeated headbutts makes it all worth while.
u/JRDMB · 2 pointsr/Physics

I applaud your initiative and interest in wanting to learn more about QM. The advice I'll offer is based on your "having no physics background" and only pre-calculus math. That's ok, what matters more is the desire and application to learn more. I suggest that you initially stick with popular, layperson, conceptual materials and study them diligently and then keep going onto more in-depth materials.

I cannot in good faith recommend a single book about QM. I am going to offer a variety of materials (books, articles, videos) etc that I am either familiar with myself or others whose opinions I respect have recommended, and that I believe are at an appropriate level for you. From this and the other recommendations you receive, you'll probably find that you'll develop a feel for materials that are best for you. Also, for other book ideas, I highly suggest that you go to a local library and browse through the physics section and you'll probably find some books that appeal most to you.

The ideas below are in no particular order and you can pick and choose as you see fit:

For a preparatory short Scientific American article with some important to understand history and a lookahead to the future read 100 Years of Quantum Mysteries

Several people on reddit have highly recommended this LookingGlassUniverse video series on QM

For an easily accessible popular-level intro book, I've liked and many others have recommended How to Teach Physics to Your Dog by Chad Orzel.

I highly recommend a chapter from Sean Carroll's book From Eternity to Here on QM that he makes freely available on his website here. The book is not specifically about QM but this chapter is excellent and Sean Carroll is a clear, witty, and highly respected science communicator. This chapter has good material on the quantum wave function, the Schrödinger equation, and quantum indeterminacy.

Many have recommended the book by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw titled The Quantum Universe. I thought chapters 2 and 3 of this book were very well done but was not as keen on the later chapters. Maybe you could find a copy at a library and see what you think.

There are also some excellent materials online. One series of lecture materials I think is very good is 21st Century Science that is at the University of Oregon website. It's an excellent self-contained series of lectures and does not require math skills. It's includes more than just QM, which I recommend that you include in your study.

A nice article: 10 Quantum Truths About Our Universe

The article What is the Physics of Nothing on the energy of the quantum vacuum or zero-point energy.

Article: How does Quantum Mechanics Allow the Sun to Shine

The following are materials I wouldn't recommend to start with, but they're really good and deserve consideration:

This wouldn't be complete without a reference to the great Richard Feynman's lecture series. Part III is specifically on Quantum Mechanics. This is a classic textbook that has been used in many high schools and colleges over the years. I don't recommend starting with this, but I include it in case it might interest you.

Another reference that I wouldn't start with but feel it's good to include it in this listing is The Quantum Physics Sequence

I like this article by theoretical physicist Matt Strasler: Quantum Fluctuations and Their Energy

If you want a conceptual look at quantum field theory, particle physicist Matthew Buckley has a good article on this that is part of a longer series on particle physics. Knowing about quantum fields is important subject matter.

u/BlackBrane · 7 pointsr/quantum

This sub can be pretty good, but you're sure to find much more activity over on /r/physics. We usually like to direct questions to /r/AskPhysics but it's definitely not as well trafficked.

The main introductory textbook for physics undergrads is Griffiths, and for good reason. It's widely agreed to be the best book to begin a proper undertaking of QM if you have the key prerequisites down. You definitely need to be comfortable with linear algebra (the most important) as well as multivariable calculus and basic concepts of partial differential equations.

Im sure you can find some good free resources as well. One promising free book I've found is A Course in Quantum Computing (pdf). It actually teaches you the basics of linear algebra and complex numbers that you need, so if you feel weak on those this might be a good choice. I haven't really used it myself but it certainly looks like a good resource.

Finally, another well-regarded resource are Susskind's lectures at his website The Theoretical Minimum. He also has a book by the same name. They tend to be rather laid back and very gentle, while introducing you to the basic substance of the field. If you wanted, I'm sure you could find some more proper university-style lectures on Youtube as well.

u/homegrownunknown · 2 pointsr/chemistry

I love science books. These are all on my bookshelf/around my apt. They aren't all chemistry, but they appeal to my science senses:

I got a coffee table book once as a gift. It's Theodore Gray's The Elements. It's beautiful, but like I said, more of a coffee table book. It's got a ton of very cool info about each atom though.

I tried The Immortal Life of Henrieta Lacks, which is all about the people and family behind HeLa cells. That was a big hit, but I didn't care for it.

I liked The Emperor of all Maladies which took a long time to read, but was super cool. It's essentially a biography of cancer. (Actually I think that's it's subtitle)

The Wizard of Quarks and Alice in Quantumland are both super cute allegories relating to partical physics and quantum physics respectively. I liked them both, though they felt low-level, tying them to high-level physics resulted in a fun read.

Unscientific America I bought on a whim and didn't really enjoy since it wasn't science enough.

The Ghost Map was a suuuper fun read about Cholera. I love reading about mass-epidemics and plague.

The Bell that Rings Light, In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, Schrödinger's Kittens, The Fabric of the Cosmos and Beyond the God Particle are all pleasure reading books that are really primers on Quantum.

I also tend to like anything by Mary Roach, which isn't necessarily chemistry or science, but is amusing and feels informative. I started with Stiff but she has a few others that I also enjoyed.

Have fun!

u/armour_de · 8 pointsr/askscience

These rules arise from the solutions of the Schroedinger equation for a central potential.

The nucleus of the atom provides an attractive potential in which electrons can be bound. As the mass of even a single proton is roughly 1800 times that of an electron the nuclei can be treated as stationary charged points that the electrons orbit around. The resulting coulomb potential is a central potential, that is it only depends on the distance from the nucleus, not the direction from the nucleus.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen-like_atom for some of the derivation, but if you don't know differential equations and quantum mechanics at least at an introductory level it will not make much sense. Griffiths does a good introductory quantum text if you are interested in reading more. Link on amazon.com.

As it is a bound system in quantum mechanics only certain values of energy and momentum can be taken. The allowed energy levels are denoted by the quantum number n. The energy of a level is given is proportional to -1/n^2 in the simple hydrogenic atom model where the energy is negative that gives a bound state, and energies above zero are unbound, so as the energy increase the electrons in the higher n orbitals require less energy to become unbound.

For a given n there are certain values of angular momentum that can occur, and these are designated l and range from 0 to n. For a given l there are then the m_l magnetic quantum numbers ranging from +l to -l in integer steps. In the simple atom models the m_l do not effect the energy level.

Higher angular momentum of the electron implies a higher energy So 2s (n=1,l=0, m_l=0) has lower energy than 2p (n=2, l=1, m_l= 1,0,-1)

Each letter corresponds to an l value and arose from the way the lines looked in spectrographs and the meaning of the letter abbreviation is pretty much ignored these days with the current understanding of the the underlying quantum numbers.

s-> l=0 (sharp lines)

p->l=1 (principle lines)

d->l=2 (diffuse lines)

f->l=3 (fundamental lines)


Shows some of the simpler rules for determining the order of filling of the orbitals based on the energy level of the combined n and l values.

Two show how oxygen needs an octet to be stable we can do:

Oxygen has 8 protons and will be neutral with 8 electrons.

2 go into the 1s orbital, and it it is designated 1s^2, the superscript giving the number of electrons present in the n=1 l=0 m_l=0 and m_s =+1/2,-1/2. m_s is the magnetic quantum number for the electrons own internal angular momentum which has s=1/2 so can take m_s=+1/2 or m_s=-1/2.

The next higher energy orbital (look at the squiggly line diagram giving the filling order for electrons into orbitals, this is essentially filling in order of lowest energy orbitals first) is the 2s and it can have two electrons like the 1s, so we write 2s^2 for the full orbital.

There are now 4 more electrons to take care of, and they can go into the 2p orbital and that can hold up to 6 electrons, but we only fill in 4 for 2p^4 .

We can fully write the electron configuration as 1s^2 2s^2 2p^4 . If the oxygen borrows two more electrons (say one each from two hydrogens) they can move into the remaining 2p orbitals that are not full.

In the n=2 orbitals that then gives a total of 8 electrons.

Going into the higher orbitals requires more energy than the lower orbitals so it would not be a stable ground state. To put it differently if two hydrogen atoms are going bond to an oxygen it needs to go into a lower energy state than the separate atoms. If a bound state does occur with the lower energy atoms this is then an excited state that will decay into the grounds state by emission of a photon (light).

u/frodofish · 1 pointr/philosophy

My first response is that probabilistic doesn't mean unpredictable - just the opposite in fact. It may not be possible to say with 100% certainty the outcome of any particular event but the predictions of Quantum Mechanics ultimately boil down to Newtons laws on a macroscopic scale leaving little doubt about the power of prediction. Besides there are quantum effects such as tunneling which happen but would be classically impossible (tunneling is when a particle with finite energy passes through a larger potential barrier). It's a fascinating subject and without a doubt a strange one.

The classical physics treatment is Griffiths: http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Quantum-Mechanics-David-Griffiths/dp/0131244051

I don't know your math background but it requires a minimum of linear algebra and ordinary differential equations. In reality you need partial differential equations as well but you can get an enormous amount out of it without them. Without knowing your specific background it's hard to tell where to start and it's such a broad subject (hell I've had over a year worth of courses dedicated to the subject not to mention subatomic physics which is basically a continuation of QM and I still don't understand it all) that starting at all is impressive.

It's worth noting that there are two completely different (but equivalent) formulations of QM developed independently. One is almost entirely formulated through matrices the other being through the schroedinger equation. I am personally not deeply familiar with the matrix formulation but if you are strong in linear algebra and weak on ODE/PDE that might be a place to start.

If starting with a text book is too much (and it sure would have been for me had I not been taking it as a course) try going through wikipedia just to see what makes sense and what doesn't. If you start doing some reading and have any questions feel free to PM me and I would be happy to answer as best I can or head over to r/physics - they are generally nice guys as long as the question is fairly specific. Best of luck!

u/charlysotelo · 2 pointsr/Physics

I'm no physicist. My degree is in computer science, but I'm in a somewhat similar boat. I read all these pop-science books that got me pumped (same ones you've read), so I decided to actually dive into the math.


Luckily I already had training in electromagnetics and calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra so I was not going in totally blind, though tbh i had forgotten most of it by the time I had this itch.


I've been at it for about a year now and I'm still nowhere close to where I want to be, but I'll share the books I've read and recommend them:

  • First and foremost, read Feynman's Lectures on Physics and do not skip a lecture. You can find them free on the link there, but they also sell the 3 volumes on amazon. I love annotating so I got myself physical copies. These are the most comprehensible lectures on anything I've ever read. Feynman does an excellent job on teaching you pretty much all of physics + math (especially electromagnetics) up until basics of Quantum Mechanics and some Quantum Field Theory assuming little mathematics background.
  • Feyman lectures on Quantum Electrodynamics (The first Quantum Field Theory). This is pop-sciency and not math heavy at all, but it provides a good intuition in preparation for the bullet points below
  • You're going to need Calculus. So if you're not familiar comfortable with integral concepts like integration by parts, Quantum Mechanics will be very difficult.
  • I watched MIT's opencourseware online lectures on Quantum Mechanics and I did all the assignments. This gave me what I believe is a solid mathematical understanding on Quantum Mechanics
  • I'm currently reading and performing exercises from this Introduction to Classical Field Theory. . This is just Lagrangian Field Theory, which is the classical analog of QFT. I'm doing this in preparation for the next bullet-point:
  • Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell. Very math heavy - but thats what we're after isnt it? I havent started on this yet since it relies on the previous PDF, but it was recommended in Feynmans QED book.
  • I've had training on Linear Algebra during my CS education. You're going to need it as well. I recommend watching this linear algebra playlist by 3Blue1Brown. It's almost substitute for the rigorous math. My life would've been a lot easier if that playlist existed before i took my linear algebra course, which was taught through this book.
  • Linear Algebra Part 2 - Tensor analysis! You need this for General Relativity. This is the pdf im currently reading and doing all the exercises. This pdf is preparing me for...
  • Gravity. This 1000+ page behemoth comes highly recommended by pretty much all physicist I talk to and I can't wait for it.
  • Concurrently I'm also reading this book which introduces you to the Standard Model.


    I'm available if you want to PM me directly. I love talking to others about this stuff.
u/themeaningofhaste · 5 pointsr/AskAcademia

Griffiths is the go-to for advanced undergraduate level texts, so you might consider his Introduction to Quantum Mechanics and Introduction to Particle Physics. I used Townsend's A Modern Approach to Quantum Mechanics to teach myself and I thought that was a pretty good book.

I'm not sure if you mean special or general relativity. For special, /u/Ragall's suggestion of Taylor is good but is aimed an more of an intermediate undergraduate; still worth checking out I think. I've heard Taylor (different Taylor) and Wheeler's Spacetime Physics is good but I don't know much more about it. For general relativity, I think Hartle's Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity and Carroll's Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity are what you want to look for. Hartle is slightly lower level but both are close. Carroll is probably better if you want one book and want a bit more of the math.

Online resources are improving, and you might find luck in opencourseware type websites. I'm not too knowledgeable in these, and I think books, while expensive, are a great investment if you are planning to spend a long time in the field.

One note: teaching yourself is great, but a grad program will be concerned if it doesn't show up on a transcript. This being said, the big four in US institutions are Classical Mechanics, E&M, Thermodynamics/Stat Mech, and QM. You should have all four but you can sometimes get away with three. Expectations of other courses vary by school, which is why programs don't always expect things like GR, fluid mechanics, etc.

I hope that helps!

u/MahatmaGandalf · 2 pointsr/AskPhysics

You sound like a great audience for the series I recommend to everyone in your position: Lenny Susskind's Theoretical Minimum. He's got free lectures and accompanying books which are designed with the sole purpose of getting you from zero to sixty as fast as possible. I'm sure others will have valuable suggestions, but that's mine.

The series is designed for people who took some math classes in college, and maybe an intro physics class, but never had the chance to go further. However, it does assume that you are comfortable with calculus, and more doesn't hurt. What's your math background like?

As to the LHC and other bleeding-edge physics: unfortunately, this stuff takes a lot of investment to really get at, if you want to be at the level where you can do the actual derivations—well beyond where an undergrad quantum course would land you. If you're okay with a more heuristic picture, you could read popular-science books on particle physics and combine that with a more quantitative experience from other sources.

But if you are thinking of doing this over a very long period of time, I would suggest that you could pretty easily attain an advanced-undergraduate understanding of particle physics through self-study—enough to do some calculations, though the actual how and why may not be apparent. If you're willing to put in a little cash and more than a little time for this project, here's what I suggest:

  • Pick up a book on introductory physics (with calculus). It doesn't really matter which. Make sure you're good with the basic concepts—force, momentum, energy, work, etc.

  • Learn special relativity. It does not take too long, and is not math-intensive, but it can be very confusing. There are lots of ways to do it—lots of online sources too. My favorite book for introductory SR is this one.

  • Use a book or online resources to become familiar with the basics (just the basics) of differential equations and linear algebra. It sounds more scary than it is.

  • Get a copy of Griffiths' books on quantum mechanics and particle physics. These are undergrad-level textbooks, but pretty accessible! Read the quantum book first—and do at least a few exercises—and then you should be able to get a whole lot out of reading the particle physics book.

    Note that this is sort of the fastest way to get into particle physics. If you want to take this route, you should still be prepared to spread it out over a couple years—and it will leave a whole smattering of gaps in your knowledge. But hey, if you enjoy it, you could legitimately come to understand a lot about the universe through self-study!
u/kentaro86 · 2 pointsr/UCSantaBarbara

I don't have any old problem sets off hand, but I could point you towards all the topics you should know and be familiar with. It's basically the first 3 chapters of Griffiths -- by the end of the quarter you should know everything from these chapters extremely well.
As for an explicit list of things to do, I would recommend (in this order, more or less)

  • get familiar with using probability distributions, complex numbers (i.e. integrating probability densities to find probabilities, means, standard deviations, complex conjugates, norm squared, normalization, etc.)

  • try to grasp the idea of operators (e.g. position, momentum), observables/hermitian operators, commutation relations, and what is means when two observables commute or not (thing about eigenstates, sequential measurements, uncertainty principle,...)

  • derive solution to infinite square well (0 < x < a ; -a < x < a)

  • derive solution to harmonic oscillator (focus on algebraic derivation, raising and lowering operators are extremely
    important later on)

  • calculate expectation values of x, x^2 for the oscillator using ladder operators (this is to highlight orthogonality of eigenstates)

  • derive free particle, examine scattering (E > 0) and bound (E < 0) states

  • derive delta well, finite square well and calculate transmission/reflection coefficients (and bound states for delta well)

  • read up on and use Dirac notation until it is second nature. redo first bullet point with this notation (this could be useful to do first so that you can practice it)

  • understand the level of abstraction for a ket and what it means to "multiply" by a bra and express an equation in the basis (as described by the bra)

  • revisit the idea of operators in a specific basis

  • derive generalized uncertainty principle, revisit non-commuting operators

    Hopefully, that gets you started off, but for 110A it may be worth the time to learn Einstein summation notation -- it'll come in handy.

    Good luck!

    Edit: formatting
u/HQuez · 2 pointsr/AskPhysics

For math you're going to need to know calculus, differential equations (partial and ordinary), and linear algebra.

For calculus, you're going to start with learning about differentiating and limits and whatnot. Then you're going to learn about integrating and series. Series is going to seem a little useless at first, but make sure you don't just skim it, because it becomes very important for physics. Once you learn integration, and integration techniques, you're going to want to go learn multi-variable calculus and vector calculus. Personally, this was the hardest thing for me to learn and I still have problems with it.

While you're learning calculus you can do some lower level physics. I personally liked Halliday, Resnik, and Walker, but I've also heard Giancoli is good. These will give you the basic, idealized world physics understandings, and not too much calculus is involved. You will go through mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, and "modern physics". You're going to go through these subjects again, but don't skip this part of the process, as you will need the grounding for later.

So, now you have the first two years of a physics degree done, it's time for the big boy stuff (that is the thing that separates the physicists from the engineers). You could get a differential equations and linear algebra books, and I highly suggest you do, but you could skip that and learn it from a physics reference book. Boaz will teach you the linear and the diffe q's you will need to know, along with almost every other post-calculus class math concept you will need for physics. I've also heard that Arfken, Weber, and Harris is a good reference book, but I have personally never used it, and I dont' know if it teaches linear and diffe q's. These are pretty much must-haves though, as they go through things like fourier series and calculus of variations (and a lot of other techniques), which are extremely important to know for what is about to come to you in the next paragraph.

Now that you have a solid mathematical basis, you can get deeper into what you learned in Halliday, Resnik, and Walker, or Giancoli, or whatever you used to get you basis down. You're going to do mechanics, E&M, Thermodynamis/Statistical Analysis, and quantum mechanics again! (yippee). These books will go way deeper into theses subjects, and need a lot more rigorous math. They take that you already know the lower-division stuff for granted, so they don't really teach those all that much. They're tough, very tough. Obvioulsy there are other texts you can go to, but these are the one I am most familiar with.

A few notes. These are just the core classes, anybody going through a physics program will also do labs, research, programming, astro, chemistry, biology, engineering, advanced math, and/or a variety of different things to supplement their degree. There a very few physicists that I know who took the exact same route/class.

These books all have practice problems. Do them. You don't learn physics by reading, you learn by doing. You don't have to do every problem, but you should do a fair amount. This means the theory questions and the math heavy questions. Your theory means nothing without the math to back it up.

Lastly, physics is very demanding. In my experience, most physics students have to pretty much dedicate almost all their time to the craft. This is with instructors, ta's, and tutors helping us along the way. When I say all their time, I mean up until at least midnight (often later) studying/doing work. I commend you on wanting to self-teach yourself, but if you want to learn physics, get into a classroom at your local junior college and start there (I think you'll need a half year of calculus though before you can start doing physics). Some of the concepts are hard (very hard) to understand properly, and the internet stops being very useful very quickly. Having an expert to guide you helps a lot.

Good luck on your journey!

u/WillWeisser · 1 pointr/books

Personally, I think you would get great suggestions on /r/physics. But since you're here...

Since you seem like you're just dipping your toes in the water, you might want to start off with something basic like Hawking (A Brief History of Time, The Universe in a Nutshell).

I highly recommend Feynman's QED, it's short but there's really no other book like it. Anything else by Feynman is great too. I found this on Amazon and though I haven't read it, I can tell you that he was the greatest at explaining complex topics to a mass audience.

You'll probably want to read about relativity too, although my knowledge of books here is limited. Someone else can chime in, maybe. When I was a kid I read Einstein for Beginners and loved it, but that's a comic book so it might not be everyone's cup of tea.

If you really want to understand quantum mechanics and don't mind a little calculus (OK, a lot), try the textbook Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by Griffiths. Don't settle for hokey popular misconceptions of how QM works, this is the real thing and it will blow your mind.

Finally, the most recent popular physics book I read and really enjoyed was The Trouble with Physics by Smolin. It's ostensibly a book about how string theory is likely incorrect, but it also contains really great segments about the current state of particle physics and the standard model.

u/thepastry · 4 pointsr/Physics

I just want to point out one thing that everyone seems to be glossing over: when people say that you'll need to review classical mechanics, they aren't talking only about Newtonian Mechanics. The standard treatment of Quantum Mechanics draws heavily from an alternative formulation of classical mechanics known as Hamiltonian Mechanics that I'm willing to bet you didn't cover in your physics education. This field is a bit of a beast in its own right (one of those that can pretty much get as complicated/mathematically taxing as you let it) and it certainly isn't necessary to become an expert in order to understand quantum mechanics. I'm at a bit of a loss to recommend a good textbook for an introduction to this subject, though. I used Taylor in my first course on the subject, but I don't really like that book. Goldstein is a wonderful book and widely considered to be the bible of classical mechanics, but can be a bit of a struggle.

Also, your math education may stand you in better stead than you think. Quantum mechanics done (IMHO) right is a very algebraic beast with all the nasty integrals saved for the end. You're certainly better off than someone with a background only in calculus. If you know calculus in 3 dimensions along with linear algebra, I'd say find a place to get a feel for Hamiltonian mechanics and dive right in to Griffiths or Shankar. (I've never read Shankar, so I can't speak to its quality directly, but I've heard only good things. Griffiths is quite understandable, though, and not at all terse.) If you find that you want a bit more detail on some of the topics in math that are glossed over in those treatments (like properties of Hilbert Space) I'd recommend asking r/math for a recommendation for a functional analysis textbook. (Warning:functional analysis is a bit of a mindfuck. I'd recommend taking these results on faith unless you're really curious.) You might also look into Eisberg and Resnick if you want a more historical/experimentally motivated treatment.

All in all, I think its doable. It is my firm belief that anyone can understand quantum mechanics (at least to the extent that anyone understands quantum mechanics) provided they put in the effort. It will be a fair amount of effort though. Above all, DO THE PROBLEMS! You can't actually learn physics without applying it. Also, you should be warned that no matter how deep you delve into the subject, there's always farther to go. That's the wonderful thing about physics: you can never know it all. There just comes a point where the questions you ask are current research questions.

Good Luck!

u/The_MPC · 2 pointsr/Physics

That's perfect then, don't let me stop you :). When you're ready for the real stuff, the standard books on quantum mechanics are (in roughly increasing order of sophistication)

  • Griffiths (the standard first course, and maybe the best one)
  • Cohen-Tannoudji (another good one, similar to Griffiths and a bit more thorough)
  • Shankar (sometimes used as a first course, sometimes used as graduate text; unless you are really good at linear algebra, you'd get more out of starting with the first two books instead of Shankar)

    By the time you get to Shankar, you'll also need some classical mechanics. The best text, especially for self-learning, is [Taylor's Classical Mechanics.] (http://www.amazon.com/Classical-Mechanics-John-R-Taylor/dp/189138922X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1372650839&sr=1-1&keywords=classical+mechanics)

    Those books will technically have all the math you need to solve the end-of-chapter problems, but a proper source will make your life easier and your understanding better. It's enough to use any one of

  • Paul's Free Online Notes (the stuff after calculus, but without some of the specialized ways physicists use the material)
  • Boas (the standard, focuses on problem-solving recipes)
  • Nearing (very similar to Boas, but free and online!)
  • Little Hassani (Boas done right, with all the recipes plus real explanations of the math behind them; after my math methods class taught from Boas, I immediately sold Boas and bought this with no regrets)

    When you have a good handle on that, and you really want to learn the language used by researchers like Dr. Greene, check out

  • Sakurai (the standard graduate QM book; any of the other three QM texts will prepare you for this one, and this one will prepare you for your PhD qualifying exams)
  • Big Hassani(this isn't just the tools used in theoretical physics, it's the content of mathematical physics. This is one of two math-for-physics books that I keep at my desk when I do my research, and the other is Little Hassani)
  • Peskin and Schroeder (the standard book on quantum field theory, the relativistic quantum theory of particles and fields; either Sakurai or Shankar will prepare you for this)

    Aside from the above, the most relevant free online sources at this level are

  • Khan Academy
  • Leonard Susskind's Modern Physics lectures
  • MIT's Open CourseWare
u/Sean1708 · 9 pointsr/askscience

I personally quite like Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw's works, Why Does E=mc^2 and The Quantum Universe which talk about relativity and quantum mechanics respectively. I found these very accessible when I was doing my A-Levels (which I think is the equivalent of American High School) and they require absolutely no knowledge of maths.

If you're more interested in Grand Unified Theories (which I assume is what you're thinking of when you talk about two forces being the same force) then the only thing that comes to mind is The Elegant Universe which I've never read personally but I have heard very good things about it. It's about String Theory which is one possible GUT theory of everything (not quite the same as a GUT, see the reply) but does cover a few other areas as well.

Another book which I've heard good things about, but again haven't read myself, is In Search Of Schrodinger's Cat which has more of a focus on quantum mechanics.

Personally I would read both of Cox and Forshaw's stuff first because they are both very short so won't take long to get through. Then you can move on to one of the others, which are both a bit longer.

If you ask nicely on /r/physics or something similar they might also be able to suggest other things you would like.

Edit: There might be a Feynman Lecture or two that interests you as well but bear in mind that these are aimed at undergrads.

Edit2: I also just did a quick google search of site:reddit.com/r/physics books which threw up some pretty good results.

Edit3: String theory n'est pas un GUT, pardon my french.

u/rcochrane · 12 pointsr/math

When I've got a clear aim in view for where I want to get to with a self-study project, I tend to work backwards.

Now, I don't know quantum mechanics, but here's how I might approach it if I decided I was going to learn (which, BTW, I'd love to get to one day):

First choose the book you'd like to read. For the sake of argument, say you've picked Griffiths, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics.

Now have a look at the preface / introduction and see if the author says what they assume of their readers. This often happens in university-level maths books. Griffiths says this:

> The reader must be familiar with the rudiments of linear algebra (as summarized in the Appendix), complex numbers, and calculus up to partial derivatives; some acquaintance with Fourier analysis and the Dirac delta function would help. Elementary classical mechanics is essential, of course, and a little electrodynamics would be useful in places.

So now you have a list of things you need to know. Assuming you don't know any of them, the next step would be to find out what are the standard "first course" textbooks on these subjects: examples might be Poole's Linear Algebra: A Modern Introduction and Stewart's Calculus: Early Transcendentals (though Griffiths tells us we don't need all of it, just "up to partial derivatives"). There are lots of books on classical mechanics; for self-study I would pick a modern textbook with lots of examples, pictures and exercises with solutions.

We also need something on "complex numbers", but Griffiths is a bit vague on what's required; if I didn't know what a complex number is than I'd be inclined to look at some basic material on them in the web rather than diving into a 500-page complex analysis book right away.

There's a lot to work on here, but it fits together into a "programme" that you can probably carry through in about 6 months with a bit of determination, maybe even less. Then take a run at Griffiths and see how tough it is; probably you'll get into difficulties and have to go away and read something else, but probably by this stage you'll be able to figure out what to read for yourself (or come back here and ask!).

With some projects you may have to do "another level" of background reading (e.g., you might need to read a precalculus book if the opening chapters of Stewart were incomprehensible). That's OK, just organise everything in dependency order and you should be fine.

I'll repeat my caveat: I don't know QM, and don't know whether Griffiths is a good book to use. This is just intended as an example of one way of working.

[EDIT: A trap for the unwary: authors don't always mention everything you need to know to read their book. For example, on p.2 Griffiths talks about the Schrodinger wave equation as a probability distribution. If you'd literally never seen continuous probability before, that's where you'd run aground even though he doesn't mention that in the preface.

But like I say, once you've taken care of the definite prerequisites you take a run at it, fall somewhere, pick yourself up and go away to fill in whatever caused a problem. Also, having more than one book on the subject is often valuable, because one author's explanation might be completely baffling to you whereas another puts it a different way that "clicks".]

u/drewofdoom · 1 pointr/livesound

A few books to consider:


Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed. This one is... well... it helped me to understand some things about physics. Not all of it is relevant, and you'll have to draw some conclusions yourself as to how it all applies to audio engineering. At the very least, it's a great introduction to subatomic physics for people who aren't great with math. YMMV, but I found that a basic understanding of what sound waves actually do goes a LONG way. From there you can discern certain things like how ambient temperature and humidity will affect your mix.

The Business of Audio Engineering. Worth the price of admission, despite grammatical errors.

Mixing Engineer's Handbook. Might be worth it. Interviews with established recording engineers. Has some interesting info. Only the first half of the book is really worth reading, though.

Mixing Audio. Relevant information. Could almost act as a textbook.

That will at least get you started. I know that you're looking more for the mixing side of things, and that's great, but trust me on this. You will want to know as much as you can about all facets of theatrical/concert/special event work. THAT'S how you really get gigs.

u/Platypuskeeper · 1 pointr/askscience

> Cultural beliefs do actually influence ways of thought, scientific method included

The scientific method is not a "way of thought". It's a method. You're not providing any evidence to support that claim. The fact that different cultures have different patterns of thought is well-established, the idea that this makes science culturally relative is not. Are you saying logic is culturally dependent as well?

> Westerners tend to rely more on formal logic and insist on correctness of one belief over another when investigating conflicting opinions or theories, while easterners consider all the interacting environmental relationships,

A vague and unsubstantiated orientalist over-generalization if I ever heard one.

> One can even argue the Scientific Method is actually an invention of the western tradition

The automobile is a western invention too, and yet the Japanese understand them just the same way as we do.

>TL;DR: read something like The Geography of Thought for intriguing trends in how your Asian lab partner interprets data differently from you.

I've never run across a case where he did. Read a good book on philosophy of science to understand why natural science strives to eliminate bias, including cultural bias. It's not contingent on it but the exact opposite.

>Difference being Goswami was a quantum physics professor

There's no such thing as a 'quantum physics professor' or really a 'quantum physicist'. All physicists study quantum mechanics and nearly all use it, to different extents. Goswami's actual expertise is apparently nuclear physics, which does not imply any greater understanding of the foundations of quantum mechanics than that of most physicists.

> who wrote respected college textbooks

As far as I can tell, he's written one textbook on introductory quantum mechanics. I've never heard of him or his textbook before, and I see little reason to believe it's 'well-respected' or popular, as it only has 5 amazon reviews, as compared to 70 for Griffiths, an actual well-regarded textbook. Sakurai's "Modern QM" and Shankar's "Principles of QM" are popular and well-respected as well. Griffith's is also known for the consistent-histories interpretation of quantum mechanics, while the latter two are 'Easterners', yet don't subscribe to any of this kind of nonsense.

> My background is not in quantum physics, but sooner or later you guys will have to (you should?) reconcile your understanding of reality with how different cultural traditions interpret reality.

You haven't shown any depth of knowledge about 'cultural traditions'. You've made gross generalizations and outright false statements about these things. Calling Western philosophy 'materialist' while 'eastern' is supposedly uniformly 'idealist' (both terms are from Western philosophy) is flat-out wrong.

> Furthermore, the jump is discontinuous in that the electron is never in any orbit not defined by one of the probability clouds.

That's saying that mixed states and quantum superpositions do not exist. It's wrong, and introductory level understanding of formal quantum mechanics is enough to know it.

>Can you please point me to a more accurate description?

Show that the eigenfunctions of the electronic Hamiltonian are no longer eigenfunctions under the action of a perturbing external electromagnetic field.

> What is the interesting part of the delayed-choice experiment then if it's not that what we observe depends on how we measure it?

Did you make any effort at all to find out on your own, such as reading the wikipedia article? I don't see why I should spend time explaining it otherwise. The fact that "what we observe depends on how we measure it" is already evident in the double-slit experiment.

> the most interesting scientific discoveries come when interpretations of science and philosophy butt up against each other.

No, they don't. The most interesting scientific discoveries come when a well-established theory is proven wrong. Metaphysics has nothing to do with science. The Bell test is not philosophy, it's science. It's an empirical test of an empirically-testable thing.

> it appears that a non-local signal (that is, a deliberate faster-than-light transmission) is impossible

It's not the Bell test that says that, it's special relativity.

> Help me understand reality as you interpret it.

Now why the heck would I spend any time on doing that? There's a huge number of good, factual popular-scientific books on quantum mechanics and modern physics. There are plenty of good textbooks. There are good books on science and philosophy of science as well. But instead you waste your time on reading Goswami's nonsense, which would clearly be out of the mainstream to anyone who'd bothered to do a modicum of web searching beforehand. Then you defend it all, basically by stating that you know better than an actual scientist how science works.

You haven't shown that you've made even the slightest bit of a good-faith effort to understand either science, the scientific method and mindset, or established quantum physics. To me it appears that you came here seeking confirmation of what you'd already decided you wanted to believe.

Stephen Hawking, Brian Greene, Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Neil Tyson, Stephen Weinberg and Murray Gell-Mann, among others, have all written good popular-scientific books on modern physics. Just about all of them say something about quantum mechanics and the more popular interpretations of it. And for a more in-depth study of the philosophy of science surrounding quantum mechanics, read e.g. Omnes' "Quantum philosophy".

u/bosonsforlife · 3 pointsr/Physics

The first thing that popped in my mind while reading your post was: 'woah dude, slow down a bit!'. No, honestly, take things slowly, that's the best advice someone could have given me a few years ago. Physics is a field of study where you need a lot of time to really understand the subjects. Often times, when revisiting my graduate and even my undergraduate quantum mechanics courses, I catch myself realizing that I just began understanding yet another part of the subject. Physics is a field, where you have many things that simply need time to wrap your head around. I am kind of troubled that a lot of students simply learn their stuff for the exam at the end of the semester and then think they can put that subject aside completely. That's not how understanding in physics works - you need to revisit your stuff from time to time in order to really wrap your head around the fundamental concepts. Being able to solve some problems in a textbook is good, but not sufficient IMHO.

That being said, I will try to answer your question. Quantum mechanics is extremely fascinating. It is also extremely weird at first, but you'll get used to it. Don't confuse getting used to it with really understanding and grasping the fundamentals of quantum mechanics. Those are two very different animals. Also, quantum mechanics needs a lot of math, simply have a look at the references of the quantum mechanics wikipedia page and open one of those references to convince yourself that this is the case.

Now, I don't know what your knowledge is in mathematics, hence all I can give you is some general advice. In most physics programs, you will have introductory courses in linear algebra, analysis and calculus. My first three semesters looked like this in terms of the math courses:

  1. Sets and functions; mathematical induction; groups, fields and vector spaces; real and complex numbers, series and sequences, power series; matrices, linear systems of equations; determinants and eigenvalue problems

  2. More on linear systems of equations, eigenvectors, eigenvalues and determinants; canonical forms; self-adjoint matrices and unitary matrices; some analysis (topological basics, continuity)

  3. More on topology; hilbert spaces; differentiation and integration

    These were, very roughly, the subjects we covered. I think that should give you some basic idea where to start. Usually quantum mechanics isn't discussed until the second year of undergrad, such that the students have the necessary mathematic tools to grasp it.

    A book I haven't worked with but know that some students really like is Mathematics for Physics by Paul Goldbart. This essentially gives you a full introduction to most of the subjects you'll need. Maybe that's a good point to start?

    Concerning introductory texts for quantum mechanics, I can recommend the Feynman lectures and the book by David Griffiths. I know a ton of students who have used the book by Griffiths for their introductory course. It isn't nearly as rigorous as the traditional works (e.g. Dirac), but it's great for an introduction to the concepts and mathematics of quantum mechanics. The Feynman lectures are just classic - it's absolutely worth reading all three volumes, even more than once!

    EDIT: added some literature, words.
u/Iamlord7 · 3 pointsr/Physics

The Feynman Lectures will do the job, can be pretty expensive but you can just look at the online version here.

One book that deals with classical through modern physics is Physics for Scientists and Engineers with Modern Physics by Serway & Jewett. To (re)learn intro physics, really any similar book will do, and you can always get help from online resources, of which there are many.

A good text for Modern Physics on its own is Kenneth Krane's Modern Physics. It has a lot of problems (few physics textbooks don't, and you won't learn physics easily without them) but it has none of the other superfluous things you mention.

As far as math goes, maybe try using Khan Academy or a similar resource up through precalculus. As far as calculus is concerned, I can recommend Stewart's Essential Calculus as a pretty comprehensive textbook which covers a pretty wide area. I can also highly recommend Paul's Online Math Notes to help you learn algebra through calculus and differential equations.

u/snipatomic · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion

The Feynman lectures are really good, and they will take you from basic physics to quantum mechanics.

Get yourself a good groundwork in physics before you worry about flashy things like relativity. The ability to spout out fancy words about fancy-sounding fields really means nothing if you don't actually understand what you are talking about.

Now, this said, once you are ready to dive into quantum mechanics, I'd personally recommend Griffiths.

As a chemical engineer specialized in electron microscopy, I am partial to solid-state physics and physics at the atomic scale, so if you are interested in such small things, I would recommend Callister as an introductory book (it is basically the bible of materials science, and is an excellent beginner book and reference) and Kasap as a very readable book on solid-state physics.

With any such books, unless you are using the book for a class and it is required that you have a particular version, don't worry about getting the newest edition. An older edition will generally save you a lot of money if you purchase a hard copy. That said, it is easy enough to find most of them digitally if you are so inclined.

u/Alloran · 1 pointr/exjw

I do highly recommend Genome by Matt Ridley and A History of God by Karen Armstrong. It looks like Before the Big Bang might be a great idea too.

However, I'm noticing a bit of redundancy in your stacks and don't want you to get bored! In the presence of the other books, I would recommend Dawkins' The Ancestor's Tale in lieu of The Greatest Show on Earth. (Although, if you're actually not going to read all the other books, I would actually go the other way.) Similarly, I would probably choose either to read the God Delusion or a few of the other books there.

Other recommendations: how about The Red Queen by Matt Ridley, and The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes? These occupy niches not covered by the others.

The popular expositions on cosmology all look supremely awesome, but you should probably choose half of them. Another idea: read just The Fabric of the Cosmos by Greene, and if you love it, go ahead and learn mechanics, vector calculus, Electrodynamics, linear algebra, and Quantum Mechanics! Hmm...on second thought, that might actually take longer than just reading those books :)

u/shobble · 7 pointsr/books

In Search Of Schrodinger's Cat by John Gribbin is a very readable physics and quantum physics history sketch. Might be slightly dated now, although I can't think of anything directly contradicted by recent work. Then again, I'm not actually a physicist :)

The Quark and the Jaguar is quite a bit more complicated, but still quite accessible to the layperson and has a lot of interesting stuff.

Slightly less sciency, more maths/logic/computation is Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

A Guinea Pig's History of Biology is pretty much what the title says, although there's an awful lot about fruit-flies too. Quite a good review of the history of biological experimentation, especially genetics.

H2O: A Biography of Water from a previous editor of Nature, covers water across a variety of fields. The second half of the book is mostly a rant about cold fusion and homoeopathy though, from what I recall, but the first half makes up for it.

Most general-audience things by Richard Feynman are well worth the read. He's got some great physics lectures, and his autobiography (Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman?) is fun, but more for the anecdotes than the science.

Those are off the top of my head. If its something in a particular field, I might have some other ideas I'm currently forgetting.

u/deakannoying · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Oh man. Where do I begin?

It started with Edward Feser. Then Aquinas.

I recently compiled my 'short list' of books that were foundational for a Master's:

Start here:



Then go here:



G.K. Chesterton is always a good supplement (Heretics and Orthodoxy):


Bible Study:




(Jewish perspective on NT): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0195297709/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

After you've gotten through these (or maybe interspersed), get into de Chardin -- but be careful, because he toes the line into heresy with the noosphere stuff.

Then, start reading the theoretical physicist priests in our faith, Stanley Jaki, for example.

And this. This.

Finally, try to muddle through Spitzer. These guys have more smarts in their little finger than I will ever have.

Edit: I refreshed the thread and saw that you've already found Feser. Excellent. Are you familiar with John C. Wright as well? Sci-fi-writer-former-atheist-now-traditionalist-Catholic.

I'm interested in any science + metaphysics books you've come across too. . .

u/jello_aka_aron · 1 pointr/books

John Gribbin is a favorite science author of mine. In Search of Schrödinger's Cat is a cornerstone for understanding quantum physics as a layman and the follow-up Schrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality is also very good.

Michio Kaku is another good one. Rudy Rucker's nonfiction is definitely worth a look.

Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age is a pretty awesome account of the lab that pretty much single-handedly invented the modern computer age.

And lastly (offhand) there's nothing better than The Structure of Scientific Revolutions for a view on how our notions of what the Big Ideas are in science change.

u/hanazawarui123 · 8 pointsr/learnmath

Alright, I feel very excited to answer this question mainly because I always had a deep love for physics and maths.

Now the first thing to remember is that, you need to explore for yourself. Think of these subjects as the oceans, or space. Even though we know somethings about them, we do not know everything, and are always in uncharted territory.

You need to try and explore and find out which topics you like more, what arouses your curiosity, is it nuclear physics? is it astronomy? is it quantum mechanics?

The same goes for maths, do you like abstract maths, set theory? game theory? Statistical maths?

I love quantum mechanics and for me, these were the best books to arouse my curiosity for the subject.

In search of Schrodingers cat (https://www.amazon.in/Search-Schrodingers-Cat-Updated/dp/0552125555)


The trouble with physics (this is a vaster book talking about string theory as well) (https://www.amazon.in/Trouble-Physics-String-Theory-Science/dp/0141018356/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+trouble+with+physics&qid=1557578480&s=books&sr=1-1)


Moreover, try to look for online resources. One thing that I loved doing was looking at everyday objects and then wondering how they work.

And then just googling, "How blank works?"

for example, how do bulbs and tubelights work? How does a car engine work? Why is the sky blue? Think of the most absurd questions that you can ask yourself. Don't be afraid if they sound stupid.

Also, I would suggest you become a member of your local library if possible. Libraries are a great resource to find interests and hobbies.

And, tell your family and teachers too. Just tell them that you are interested in so and so topics and ask them for help.

I look forward to seeing you in the academic world.

If you ever need advice or help, then feel free to PM me.

P.S. I don't really care about age, but just in case you wish to know, I am 19.

u/slomotion · 1 pointr/books

If you don't know much about physics I would recommend The Dancing Wu-Li Masters by Gary Zukov. That's one of the main books that got me interested in the field. Clearly written enough for a 9th grader to understand. Also, It explores some philosophical parallels to physics which I enjoyed quite a bit (don't worry, it's nothing like What the Bleep)

Also, if you'd like some insight on how a genius thinks, I would recommend Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman? It's one of my favorite books of all time. There's actually no science in this book - it's basically a collection of anecdotes from Richard Feynmann's life. He talks about his experiences in college, grad school, and working on the A-bomb in Los Alamos among other things. Incredibly entertaining stuff.

u/phymert · 2 pointsr/gaybros

The first one can be learned from Griffiths' text, but it's definitely an 3rd/4th year physics textbook. If you have a strong background in math, though, much of the physics can probably be gleaned quickly enough from online introductory material.

As for the second, I've been told that Emmy Noether's Wonderful Theorem is a great read, but I haven't taken the time to check it out yet.

u/erdaron · 3 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by Griffiths is indeed an excellent textbook, and a standard in many undergrad courses. I would also recommend brushing up on vector calculus and linear algebra before diving into QM.

Honestly, Wikipedia articles often do a good job of explaining the fundamentals in a clear, accessible way. And its scientific accuracy is quite good.

There are also free courses online, such as through Coursera and MIT's OpenCourseWare.

u/guenoc · 1 pointr/Physics

Sweet. I think the best curriculum to approach this with, assuming you're in this for the long haul, would be to start with building a good understanding of calculus, cover basic classical mechanics, then cover electricity and magnetism, and finally quantum mechanics. I'm going to leave math and mechanics mostly for someone else, because no textbooks come to mind at the moment. I'll leave you with three books though:

For Math, unless someone else comes up with something better, the bible is Stewart's Calculus

The other two are by the same author:

Griffith's Introduction to Electrodynamics

Griffith's Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

I think these are entirely reasonable to read cover to cover, work through problems in, and come out with somewhere near an undergraduate level understanding. Be careful not to rush things. One of the biggest barriers I've run into trying to learn physics independently is to try and approach subjects I don't have the background for yet: it can be a massive waste of time. If you really want to learn physics in its true mathematical form, read the books chapter by chapter, make sure you understand things before moving on, and do problems from the books. I'd recommend buying a copy of the solutions manuals for these books as well. It can also be helpful to look up the website for various courses from any university and reference their problem sets/solutions.

Good luck!

u/InfanticideAquifer · 1 pointr/pics

>Can't imagine its existence

I can imaging that it exists. I can't imagine what it is like to exist in that way... I can't picture God's perspective. That's what I meant.

>Guaranteed to be wrong

There's a difference between guaranteed to be wrong and guaranteed to be incomplete. I would be shocked if my little view of the world turned out to be totally true, but I would still be very surprised if my belief that "God does not progress through time like we do" turned out to be true... it's sort of a negative claim, so I think it's actually really conservative. I'd be more surprised to learn that God passes through time like us than I would be to learn that there was no God, I think.

>Quantum mechanics

There's nothing stopping you from slowly learning it in your free time! If you have taken a college level intro physics sequence and intro calculus sequence, then you could begin an undergraduate QM book like Griffiths, although a bit more background is probably necessary to get all the way through it. I'm a big believer in self study, and things like /r/AskPhysics could partially substitute for having an expert lecturer in a traditional college setting.

u/robkroese · 1 pointr/Physics

Feynman's Six Easy Pieces is a great introduction to quantum mechanics. Gary Zukov's book The Dancing Wu Li Masters doesn't have a great reputation among physicists because it strays a bit into mysticism, but I think it's a pretty good read. Capra's Tao of Physics is in the same category. For an easy-to-understand discussion of the weirdness of quantum mechanics, Fred Kuttner and Bruce Rosenblum's Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness is excellent.

This is an Amazon list of books on the subject that I found helpful:

Robert Kroese, author of Schrödinger's Gat

u/cowboysauce · 2 pointsr/askscience

Do you want a formal understanding? If so, then there's a problem. The 4 fundamental interactions are not completely understood. The electromagnetic is very well understood and is covered by quantum electrodynamics. The weak interaction is also understood quite well and has been unified with the EM interaction into the electroweak interaction.

The strong interaction and gravity are not as well understood. There is no widely accepted theory of quantum gravity (gravity is currently described by general relativity). The strong force is described using quantum chromodynamics (QCD), however QCD is vey complicated (due to the fact that gluons carry color charge and interact with each other).

If you fine with that, then I have to ask, are you comfortable with classical physics? If not then start there. If you are, then you can continue on with quantum physics, this book is a very good quantum mechanics book.

If you want a lay person understanding, then I suggest you do some searches here on askscience, because there is a wealth of information regarding particle physics here.

One more thing, very few people call it "quantum physics", it almost always goes by the name "quantum mechanics".

u/kjhatch · 1 pointr/sciencefiction

If you're truly starting from scratch, I recommend Gary Zukav's The Dancing Wu Li Masters. It's old (published in 1979), but it provides an excellent layman's overview of modern Physics right up to that point so that you can get a foundation to build on with more recent publications. Here's a review/description of it:

> a book that manages to explain relativity and a lot more without resorting to a single bit of mathematics (except for asking you to grasp the not-too-onerous concept that the velocity of light, a constant 186,000 miles per second, is a product of its frequency and wavelength). After all, Mr. Zukav writes, "The fact is that physics is not mathematics. Physics, in essence, is simple wonder at the way things are and a divine (some call it compulsive) interest in how that is so. Mathematics is the tool of physics, stripped of mathematics, physics becomes pure enchantment."

There really is not much Math in that text. It's all theory, and explains the core concepts and terms you'll see referenced and repeated in newer books.

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

You know how when you're spinning the wheel of a bike, it takes work to stop it, or change the direction? That property is called angular momentum and is in some sense the "angular version" of linear (plain-old) momentum (the property that makes heavier, faster things harder to stop).
The spin of a particle is an inherent angular momentum; it's a property of the particle ITSELF, not of the STATE of the particle. Yes, that's weird. It's something that's very hard to understand without quantum mechanics.

Particles that have spin not equal to 1 are even more confusing! The best way to understand spin 1/2 particles comes from an analogy that Roger Penrose came up with: imagine a closed book with a belt stuck in it like a bookmark and attached to a fixed table. If you rotate the book by 360deg about an axis parallel to the belt, the book's back to where it started, but the belt has a twist in it. You can't, without moving the book, move the belt around in any way (we say "continuously deform it") so that the twist goes away. On the other hand, if rotate the book through 720deg, we have two twists that will go away if bring the belt around the book.

Why this happens is very difficult to explain, and impossible in an ELI5 context. I recommend you get a textbook in quantum mechanics. Griffths' is the most widely used, but it's targeted at 2nd year physics majors, and [Townsend]
(http://www.uscibooks.com/townsend2.htm) has a more accessible text targeted to freshmen. Penrose's Road to Reality is layman friendly book (I often joke that even medical students might be able to understand it), but reading it is a (very rewarding) ordeal. It covers what's essentially all of physics. On the other hand, it's only ~1200pages to cover the last 4 centuries of human understanding, so it's very handwave-y.

EDIT: links

u/ngroot · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

> Can you, or anyone else, link to some information that accurately defines quantum mechanics?

There's always the relevant Wikipedia article; Griffiths' book on introductory QM is also very clear.

If you want a brief, fairly non-technical summary, though, it's what I said before: in QM, the state of an object is contained in a wavefunction. That function evolves over time (following the Schrödinger equation). For a given wavefunction, you can find the probability of measuring a classical property (e.g,. position, momentum, energy) as having a particular value or falling within a range of values by applying an appropriate operator.

The uncertainty principle follows from this. A wave function which will result in most measurements of position being in a tight clump (i.e., an object with a well-defined position) will result in measurements of momentum that will vary widely, and vice-versa.

The usual analogy (which is actually very close to the mathematics in QM) that I've encountered is a rope under tension. If you give it a sharp jerk and induce a single peak that travels down the wave, the question "where is the wave" makes sense, but "what's its frequency" does not. The converse is true if you induce a standing wave: you can talk easily about the frequency, but the wave is everywhere along the rope.

> What I always end up with is this idea of perception=reality. That since we cannot measure where the electron is, it simply isn't. I don't buy this for a second.

Close, but let's be more precise: it's not that the electron doesn't exist, it's that classic properties that we think of as fundamental (position, momentum, etc.) aren't. In QM, a particle always has a wavefunction; that wavefunction determines the distribution of values you'll get if you try to measure a classical property. This means that generally you can't say that a particle "has" a particular position/momentum/whatever; you can only talk about the probabilities of finding it with such-and-such a position or momentum.

If you don't like the fact that this implies that classical properties are fundamentally random, you're in good company; that's what prompted Einstein's "God does not play dice" quip. Unfortunately, Bell's theorem and subsequent tests and confirmations of it essentially eliminate the possibility of local "hidden variables" which contain the "real" position/momentum/whatever of a particle. This leaves us stuck between accepting a stochastic universe and non-local interactions (which thanks to relativity, introduce causal paradoxes.)

u/Odds-Bodkins · 2 pointsr/Documentaries

Griffiths is beautiful written but pretty hardcore.

I studied maths rather than physics, and I enjoyed Lancaster's Quantum Field Theory for the Gifted Amateur

You're going to need a lot of maths that you won't have covered before, so it will take time. It's very rewarding though.

u/_uncarlo · 2 pointsr/meirl

This book got me into it, I read it more than 10 years ago, but it's still relevant (it's not like quantum physics has changed a lot). It explains everything very well and it has a lot of illustration. Super easy, fun, didactic read.

u/Cpt_Burrito · 2 pointsr/astrophysics

We're not even sure the constants are constant. It's entirely possible they do change in some complicated relationship on levels too large, too small, too fast or too slow for us to notice 'easily'. I know that dodges your question, but it's one hell of a question and answering it directly would be a marked step forward in our understanding of the universe.

Like chip said, the math is just a 'best fit' solution to the events we observe. If you've got the free time you could crack open this book and try moving things around and see what your new maths describe.

I hadn't even passed algebra when I graduated high school though so if you're in the same boat I was in then this book (specifically the later chapters) might give you a better perspective.

u/Weed_O_Whirler · 9 pointsr/Physics

First, the study of QM is really going to hinge on you grasping the fundamentals of linear algebra. Knowing calculus and differential equations would be very helpful, but without linear algebra, nothing will make sense. Particularly, you need to understand eigenvectors and eigenvalues as the Schrodinger Equation is an equation of that type. Here is a link to the MIT OpenCourseWare Linear Algebra Class complete with video lectures, etc. Completion of this class shouldn't require much more than a 16 year old's math understanding.

From there, if you are actually serious about pursuing this, get this book by David Griffiths, which is an into to QM that doesn't require too much calculus and it really good at explaining the concepts. With that book in hand, and actually trying to work through some of the problems, find another MIT OpenCourseWare class on the topic.

Secondly, please, please, please don't whine about downvotes. Every submission that gets popular at all gets some downvotes. Why? Who knows why, but it really isn't worth complaining about, and you will find there is a large portion of people who will downvote you simply because you complain about it.

u/dzizy · 1 pointr/occult

Not occult in the 'requires the proper colored robe' sense, more in the 'nobody fucking knows this shit' sense.









I don't know a single thing about you, who you are, what you are looking for, why you are interested, or why you care.

This just happens to be a great excuse to let people know about a couple books I care about.

A book is 'occult' by virtue of it containing information about which most people haven't a clue.

"Occult" anything need no special handshake.

u/mhornberger · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

I'm not big on monism, but I think it's interesting that modern inflationary cosmology is philosophically compatible with substance monism. You could see everything, all matter and energy, as a manifestation of or interaction between the underlying energy of the quantum vacuum.

I'm not reaching for some Dancing Wu Li Masters synthesis, or preaching woo, but for those who do want to find some link between philosophy and science, I think the philosophical ramifications of inflationary cosmology, and stochastic processes like evolution, deserve more attention than they get.

u/Nexusty · 8 pointsr/PhysicsStudents

A great introductory read would be "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by David Griffiths"

Great Author and great textbook. Pretty much most intro QM courses use this text.

Amazon Link

u/scienceisfun · 1 pointr/askscience

Wow, thanks for the Reddit gold, that's awesome! It's been my pleasure to have the discussion with you. As for a good textbook, I have a few suggestions. For a pretty good broad look at optics from both classical and quantum points of view, give Saleh and Teich a look. For purely quantum stuff, my undergrad textbook was by Griffiths, which I enjoyed quite a bit, though I recall the math being a bit daunting when I took the course. Another book I've read that I liked quite a bit was by Shankar. I felt it was a bit more accessible. Finally, if you want quantum mechanics from the source, Dirac is a bit of a standard. It's elegant, but can be a bit tough.

u/tikael · 1 pointr/PhysicsStudents

As for modern physics texts any of these should be fine but I have only glanced at them: Thornton and Rex, Krane, Bernstein, Fishbane, and Gasiorowicz

I read through Taylor and Wheeler's Spacetime Physics and it is really good if you want a lot of conceptual discussion of special relativity, not as much mathematics involved but honestly the math doesn't get too gnarly in SR anyways so conceptual might be the better approach to the topic. Unfortunately it only goes over SR, and not any of the other modern topics.

u/DetectiveDeadpool · 6 pointsr/space

There are plenty of interesting ways to learn it without learning math. My college offered a qualitative course on physics where we learned formulas, but rarely used them. There are also plenty of good books. I also found I was much better at the math in my physics classes than in math classes, because it made more sense. Obviously the high-level stuff though takes a lot of math.

Somewhat related: This is one of the best non-mathy books on quantum physics I've read

u/dolphinrisky · 1 pointr/trees

I meant his quantum book. There are a lot of varying opinions on Griffiths, but personally I enjoy his more informal writing style. It's nice when studying quantum because the physics can get a bit abstract and intangible, and Griffiths does a good job of giving you plain-English explanations of what is happening.

u/AlexandruBirsanu · 2 pointsr/DataHoarder

LOL, if 3TB is measly, my 10GB of maths, physics and computer science books must be microscopic! I think I have Bibliophilia for the subjects. It took me 10 years to collect all of them, so it's a very filtered collection. It's pretty much books like this one:
and this one
Djvu is an AMAZING format for books.

u/nitrogentriiodide · 3 pointsr/askscience

I know this isn't what you requested, but as a high schooler, I enjoyed In Search of Schödinger's Cat.

The top level presentations on QM are very light on math, and anything below that brings out heavy linear algebra, differential equations, calculus, etc. So you've probably got that top level covered, and now you need to start solving problems. You could get credit for your efforts by picking one of the undergrad versions of QM from the Chemistry and/or the Physics depts.

I took the chemistry route, so we used Atkins, Cohen-Tanoudji, etc. For all the classes that I took and TA'd, the professor might recommend a book, but rarely reference it.

u/Ebanflo · 1 pointr/QuantumWorld

That's pretty funny. You'll notice that I never made a claim about whether or not the matter exists in a non-vaporized state, I said it can't be observed in such a state. Here's Leonard Susskind giving a rough explanation of why. And what's observable (or what can be used to predict the outcome of observations) is the only relevant thing in a scientific discussion.

By the way, I did a bit of research and superpositioned states have actually been observed for atoms and photons, which was the original premise of the discussion. And honestly that's a pretty ridiculous premise, because regardless of whether or not these states are observable, manipulating them is the basis of quantum computation. And quantum computers work. They work very well.

Some advice: pick up an elementary quantum mechanics textbook before your next discussion about the topic (I would recommend Griffiths), and try your best to refrain from acting like a pretentious douchebag instead of providing arguments in debates.

u/djimbob · 4 pointsr/askscience

What are you trying to be? Have one book just slightly deeper than Greene's book, or actually learn theoretical physics to say become a theoretical physicist or at least understand it?

If the former, it will be difficult as there's a lot of things that might be tacitly assumed that you know about more basic physics. However, a very good intro to Quantum Mechanics is Shankar. I'd also look into Foster and Nightingale's relativity book for a brief introduction to special (read Appendix A first) and general relativity. Maybe after both try A. Zee intro to QFT if you want to learn more about QFT. If you want to learn about phenomenological particle physics, say look at Perkins. Also it may help to have a book on mathematical physics, such as Boas or Arfken. (Arfken is the more advanced book, but has less examples). Also it may help to get a basic modern physics book that has very little math, though I can't think of any good ones.

If the latter than you will have to learn a lot. Here's advice from Nobel Laureate theoretical physicist Gerardus t'Hooft.

u/2x4b · 10 pointsr/askscience

For a non-mathematical but no-nonsense book about quantum field theory, I'd recommend

u/UndDieSonneScheint · 2 pointsr/askscience

So this book might do you http://www.amazon.ca/Quantum-Field-Theory-Gifted-Amateur/dp/019969933X

I have never read it though so no guarantees. To gain a surface understanding of the standard model (like enough to understand the above comment) would require about six months of intro QFT and to do that you would want a solid understanding of NRQM and Advanced E&M along with a pretty solid footing in special relativity

u/hamfast42 · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

Not philosophy in any kind of traditional sense, but your description reminds me of this book on quantum physics .
Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed


It has gorgeous pictures and pretty short sections that are decently easy to digest.

u/lettuce_field_theory · 1 pointr/AskPhysics

>and the uncertainty principal imposes limits on what we can know through measurement.

Not what we can know, but that a particle's state at any time isn't given by a precise position and momentum (state of a classical particle). This sort of information doesn't exist. Instead the state of the particle is a wave function. The wave function gives probabilities to measure the particle to be in a certain position or alternatively to have a certain momentum. The probabilities for the two quantities are dependent on each other (via fourier transform). The uncertainty principle just says that any wave function can't both be precisely localised in momentum and position space. The best you can do is a bell shaped (gaussian) distribution in both position and momentum that have some nonzero width.

After measurement of position the particle is then in an eigenstate of definite position. That kind of state gives a uniform probability distribution for the momentum measurement (ie all momenta are equally likely, momentum can be anything if you measure that afterwards).

>In doing so, we are assuming space is a continuous object, there are particles in space that occupy a single point, and once measured, a particle has a well defined location even if we cannot entirely know that location.

In that instance we have just measured it so we do know it.

>If we still assume space is continuous but particles had some size and shape which is able to move in a non-uniform manner (different parts moving in different speeds or directions)

We can detect internal structure of particles in experiments. This is how we know the from is fundamental and the proton isn't. There's no evidence otherwise (though having an internal structure doesn't change much for the proton, it's also a quantum object) and there is no incentive of getting rid of what you call "weirdness", on the contrary, quantum theory gives the most accurate predictions we've ever had.

Describing the state of a particle by a wave function psi(t) instead of a pair of values (x(t), p(t)) is a more accurate description.

Your suggestion is literally choosing something that disagrees with experiments over something that agrees with them.

>our inability to measure its position could be related to how we try and collapse this into a single positional value. Or, what if particles are just bigger than what we would expect and in doing a measurement, we are only seeing a given piece a particle?

I agree with /u/cantgetno197 (who isn't a troll, he just told you something that's accurate but you didn't want to hear). I think your view might have to do with not knowing quantum theory very well yet. In that case I would be trying to learn about it (textbooks), not trying to get rid of it. https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Quantum-Mechanics-David-Griffiths/dp/1107179866

Yes books do teach you. They teach you intuition too, contrary to what you say (again you haven't read any quantum theory books but have already an opinion). How is anyone supposed to take someone saying he is learning seriously if he is dismissive of reading educational material?

>Besides, those who don't ask questions generally don't understand as well as they think, or they are unimaginative...

Those who don't read books are worse off, they don't ask very useful questions to begin with and don't make progress.

u/redgamut · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

"[RedGamut], are you a dad?" No, I reply to the seven year old boy. "You'd make a great dad." (When I was a counselor at a Golf Academy for kids)

Haha.. I remember as a joke, I would read them a bedtime story from The Dancing Wu Li Masters and they actually really enjoyed it and wouldn't let me stop reading it to them. :)

u/Dank_Hamiltonian · 2 pointsr/AskPhysics

First and foremost, you're going to need to get very comfortable with special relativity and quantum mechanics. QFT is heavily rooted in both subjects since it's essentially a way of reconciling the two, so you're going to need to get familiar with the formalism. For quantum mechanics, I recommend starting off with Griffiths if you haven't taken a class on the subject at an undergraduate level. It's pretty much the gold standard in undergraduate physics curricula. But that alone is not enough to fulfill the necessary background in quantum. After that you'll want to go through a graduate text such as Sakurai. You need to get very familiar with the Dirac formalism since it plays a large role in formulating quantum fields.

Special relativity isn't usually offered as a course on its own in most universities (as far as I know). Typically, it's part of a course on classical dynamics or electrodynamics. You could look for the relevant chapters in textbooks on those two subjects (such as Griffiths electrodynamics) or just go with the introduction that pretty much every QFT textbook has at the beginning. The main thing here is that you'll have to get used to working with tensors since they show up in Lagrangian densities, which are principal objects of study in QFT. This is also where classical field theory comes in, as classical fields are also described by Lagrangians.

Those are the main areas of physics that you need to know coming into the subject. As others have mentioned, you'll want to understand Hamiltonian and Lagrangian mechanics as well as classical E&M since a lot of the formalism involved in QFT stems from those subjects. Most people are introduced to quantum through the Hamiltonian formalism, and while you can do calculations in quantum without understanding where the formalism comes from in classical mechanics, you might be confused as to why the calculations work the way they do. You can also do calculations with a Lagrangian in QFT without really understanding what actually is, but again, if you truly want to understand the material it won't get you quite far enough. It is a graduate subject, after all. So you'll probably struggle to understand the material without having a solid undergraduate background in physics, but it's not impossible. It's also the kind of subject that requires multiple attempts to understand it. I took one semester of it as an undergraduate and there were a lot of gaps in my knowledge at the time, so I found it quite difficult. Then I took another class on it again after going through first year graduate courses in classical mechanics, quantum, and electrodynamics, and I had a better feel for the subject.

u/SegaTape · 4 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

David Griffiths' textbooks on E&M and quantum mechanics were easily the best textbooks I had as an undergrad. Clear, concise, refreshingly informal, and even a dash of humor.

u/StyxFish · 1 pointr/AskPhysics

This book by Nouredine Zettili is the reference I used most extensively through two semesters of my masters course. While there are many books that make great reading, this is the best aid to learning quantum mechanics on your own, in my opinion. The exercises and examples in particular are a treasure trove.

u/crackpot_killer · 1 pointr/EmDrive

If this is what the BBC is putting out for science journalism these days, they've lost a lot of respect and credibility. The article starts out with being misleading:

>The theorists say: "This is theoretically possible." The engineers then figure out how to make it work, confident the maths is correct and the theory stands up.


>These camps are not mutually exclusive of course. Theorists understand engineering. Engineers draw on their deep understanding of the theory. It's normally a pretty harmonious, if competitive, relationship.

They completely omit experimental physicists. Experimental physicists are the ones who design and build physics experiments. They are the ones with the understanding of theory, not the engineers. Don't get me wrong, I work with (mostly electrical) engineers, daily, and am continually impressed with their technical ability, but their knowledge of any advanced theory is almost non-existent. Their theoretical knowledge rarely goes beyond their undergraduate general education requirements (a couple of semesters of intro physics, and maybe an a little electromagnetic theory for the EEs). It's the experimental physicists who both have a theoretical understanding, through graduate-level course work in physics and keeping up with the latest updates in journals, and (usually) some engineering or technical ability that allows them to build experiments and interface with both theorists and engineers. Of course many engineers are employed to help develop the finer points of systems in physics experiments, but those systems themselves are usually first developed by physicists, e.g. fast electronics for data acquisition systems.

Going back to the article:

>Yet occasionally these two worlds collide. The theorists say something is just not possible and the engineers say: "We're going to try it anyway - it's worth a shot."


>There is one field of science where just such a contest has been raging for years, perhaps the most contentious field in all science/engineering - gravity control.

There is no contest, just like there is no contest about the existence of global warming. The contests exist only in the minds of people who doesn't really have a grasp of the subject. No reputable physicist - theorist or experimentalist - believes gravity control is possible with out current level of understanding. Why? Because we only understand gravity classically, i.e. General Relativity. There is no good theory of quantum gravity, what you'd likely have to understand to have any sort of "gravity control". I have never met an engineer who even understands GR, it's usually just not relevant to them, and Ron Evans seems no different, except he seems to embrace his ignorance and runs with it.

If you read Evans' book on Project Greenglow, it is the definition of crank science. It is filled with crackpot gems such as:

>Nowadays we might think of the ether in terms of the quantum vacuum of space.

No. That's not what the vacuum is or anyone who any understanding of quantum field theory will say it is. You can thumb through the text yourself and find - if you have some understanding of advanced theoretical concepts in physics - even more egregious violations of the laws of physics and our current understanding. Don't believe anything Evans says.

Again, returning the to BBC article:

>In the US, Nasa aerospace engineer Marc Millis began a parallel project - the Breakthrough Physics Propulsion Program

NASA needs to stop hiring crackpots like Millis and White, they give it a bad name. Millis has been posted here before and has developed ideas which include, but are not limited to:

>The differential sail was a speculation that it might be possible to induce differences in the pressure of vacuum fluctuations on either side of sail-like structure

Again, this shows a poor or non-existent understanding of some fundamental concepts in physics. It boggles the mind as to why NASA keeps hiring guys who have little to no understanding of them, to basically act as theorists. It's making NASA look like it doesn't know what it's doing in this area.

>Out of the blue, a Russian chemist called Dr Eugene Podkletnov claimed he'd stumbled on the answer by accident. By using rapidly spinning superconductors Podkletnov claimed he'd managed to create a "gravity shield".

> [...]

>Yet to theorists like Dr John Ellis, at Cern, it was no surprise when nothing came of it: "So this guy had the idea that by messing around with superconductors he could change the strength of the earth's gravitational field? Crap!"

Ellis' mocking reaction is in line with probably all reputable physicists. No one thinks superconductors can manipulate or block gravity in anyway, unless they've come up with a unified theory of gravity and electromagnetism, which of course, they haven't. Podkletnov, and by extension Tajmar, are engaged in fringe physics (fringe does not mean pushing the bounds, it means it's out of bounds and nonsensical), at best. Both display a clear lack of understanding of physics, and Tajmar's frequent publications in dis-reputable journals on topics that no real physicist would touch, demonstrate this.

The article then throws in a reference to the accelerating expansion of the universe and dark energy:

>Yet just when it seemed the engineers were running out of ideas, it was theoretical physics which threw them a lifeline.


>Recently it was discovered that the universe was not just expanding, but accelerating in its expansion, and suddenly the theorists had some explaining to do.

Yes, theorists have some explaining to do, but it most certainly doesn't throw these wrong ideas about gravity and propulsion "a line". No one knows what's causing the accelerating expansion of the universe, but that doesn't give anyone license to go "Well, we don't understand it, but it has to do with gravity, therefore, free propulsion system!". No. That would have been like late 19th century biologists saying they don't understand the mechanism for evolution (genetics) but they know it has to within biology, therefore "...the fountain of youth!". It displays a lack of understanding of the topic and the mechanism through which science progresses.

The article rounds off with the emdrive for which there is no evidence. None has been published in any reputable physics journal and the experiments so far would not be accepted by any reputable physicist, yet that doesn't stop the article from proclaiming:

>One device survived, almost unnoticed, from the Greenglow days - a propellant-less electromagnetic or EmDrive, created by British aerospace engineer Roger Shawyer.

Survived? No. It's been more than a decade and the thing 1.) still claims to violate Newton's Laws 2.) still not flying 3.) still has no evidence for its claims 4.) still not taken seriously by physicists.

As Ellis puts it in the article:

>"With the EmDrive, unlike a rocket, nothing comes out of it. So I don't see how you can generate momentum out of nothing."


If this is a taste of what Horizon will show then the BBC has seriously taken a step down in credibility and the network heads should reconsider airing this, and consult actual physicists for more than just a couple of lines. If the program's point isn't to point out these are crackpot ideas and teaches how to spot them, then they will be doing a huge disservice and harm to science education for the general public.

u/Zuvielify · 2 pointsr/quantum

Sorry, I'm just reading your comment now, 2 months late.

You touched on an important point though. Actually, it's sort of the reason I asked this question because I didn't want to get any false ideas. Remember this, the Copenhagen interpretation (just like the several other interpretations) are trying to explain things that we see in practice, in the real world. Any interpretation has to explain the experimental results.

The experimental evidence says our world is clearly stranger than our common sense/experience tells us. Like you said, "Where did the first classical system come from"? If observation occurs because something in a quantum state interacted with something in a "classical" state (whatever that is), what was the first observation that collapsed the first wave.

Many people will try to brush this aside, which is also part of Copenhagen, but really it's a question that's somewhat left to philosophers. Some people say "God" or "Consciousness", others channel the Many Worlds interpretation. Either way, we don't know how to explain why the universe appears classical because the world is definitely modeled most accurately by Quantum Theory. Researchers are putting bigger and bigger things into superposition all the time. Even objects big-enough to be visible to the naked-eye

If you're interested in that subject, check out the Quantum Enigma. It asks these questions in depth, and it's not one of those new-age books that are so easily dismissible.

u/rpros1 · 3 pointsr/books

My Recommendations:

Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality

Brian Greene Has Three Wonderful Books

The Quantum World: Quantum Physics for Everyone

The first one, is mostly history with a fair bit of Quantum/Particle physics.

Brian Greene covers topics from cosmology, quantum physics, and he is also a string theorist so he touches upon that.

The Quantum World is a more detailed introduction to quantum physics.

u/Parsolamew · 3 pointsr/IWantToLearn

The two best resources I have found for teaching physics are Motion Mountain and my old high school physics textbook, The Dancing Wu Li Masters.

Yeah, that second one sounds a bit odd, but it's basically everything going from motion to particle physics explained by a journalist fact-checking with a bunch of physicists. Well worth a read from the library, but probably a good second resource after you've gotten a grounding on the basics.

u/StiffyAllDay · 1 pointr/Documentaries

Oh mate, please do! I've read it 4 times now. It is perfectly written. Goes way back and explains the very fundamentals and pillars of the theories. Well worth the read! Let me know what you think of it when you pick it up!

In Search Of Schrodinger's Cat: Updated Edition https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0552125555/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_F7WCxbZ9F449T

u/jacobolus · 4 pointsr/math

> I studied it for A-level (age 16-18 in the UK, but likely has more content than the American equivalent) and did some applied maths, but I'm pretty rusty.

You might want to start by studying classical mechanics and electrodynamics then.

    • Anyway, as to your main question:

      Townsend, [
      A Modern Approach to Quantum Mechanics*](http://www.uscibooks.com/townsend3.htm) (amazon)

      This one starts more sensibly than most QM textbooks which try to (sorta) re-hash the historical development of the subject and are filled with problems and explanations with unnecessarily gnarly formulae.

      I think it gives a better idea of what quantum mechanics is about and how to think about it than e.g. Griffiths’s book.

      If you want something more introductory, it’s possible Townsend’s other book might suit you better – I haven’t looked at it though.
u/vicedriver · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion

I also really like "Where Does the Weirdness Go?" for easing into some of the interesting applications/meanings of quantum theory. Recommend for anyone who likes that stuff!

u/DeeperThanNight · 2 pointsr/Physics

Sure no problem. These are the texts I used as an undergrad:

Classical Mechanics: Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems, Thornton and Marion

Electrodynamics: Introduction to Electrodynamics, Griffiths

Statistical Mechanics: An Introduction to Thermal Physics, Schroeder

Quantum Mechanics: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, Griffiths

For special relativity I never used a book strictly devoted to the subject. Thornton and Marion will cover it at the end, and so will Griffiths E&M. However my favorite source on special relativity is Landau's Classical Theory of Fields, the first few chapters.

u/oro_boris · 2 pointsr/Physics

You might enjoy reading Gamow’s popular book

Mr Tompkins in Paperback (Canto Classics)


I read an older edition some 40 years ago and a recent edition again a few years back and it was as delightful to read it now as it was to read it then.

Another suggestion, although a little more advanced, is Feynman’s QED book

QED - The Strange Theory of Light and Matter (Penguin Press Science)


u/Araraguy · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

Assuming the first:

For an introduction, Shankar's Fundamentals of Physics is good, but it doesn't have workable examples and it covers a large range of literature in a short period. I'd recommend it if you just want an understanding of the maths, and not a fluency in doing it. University Physics is commonly used for classical mechanics. Moving on:

Light and Optics

Griffith's Quantum Mechanics

Schroeder's Thermal Physics


Those are just a few introductory books; not mentioned were statistical mechanics, solid state physics, nuclear, plasma, special and general relativity, quantum field theory, etc. These aren't all needed for an introductory study, though. This is what one would need if one hoped to understand the contemporary problems in the philosophy of physics. As I mentioned below, you need at least single and multivariable calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra; these can be developed as one goes.

u/k-selectride · 3 pointsr/Physics

There's Griffiths and Halzen and Martin which are suitable for undergraduates. They'll teach you how to calculate scattering amplitudes and some phenomenology and stuff like that. Anything more complicated than that would probably require a QFT book, in which case I would recommend Peskin and Schroeder. Ironically, I feel like you would learn QED way better with P&S than any other typical standard model book.

u/Ninja_of_Physics · 2 pointsr/math

I'm assuming this is an undergrad QM class so what you have will be more than enough. If you're in the states odds are the book they will be using is Giffiths Amazon link, PDF of the first edition. If you can Taylor expand and find eigenstates you'll be fine.

First semester undergrad quantum is mostly focused on learning how to solve the Schrodinger equation for a variety of Potentials. Expect it to be like first semester calculus, you gloss over the deeper mathematical rigor, and focus on being able to take limits and derivatives. First semester quantum is the same, learn how to solve the Schrodinger equation, and learn what physical meaning you can get from it.

u/CurvatureTensor · 3 pointsr/Physics

Math, math and more math. If you don't feel comfortable with differential equations, or if you're like I was after freshman year you don't know what a differential equation really is, then that's where you should start. Quantum Mechanics basically starts with an awesome differential equation and then goes from there.

Learning the math of this level of Physics on your own would be challenging to say the least, but if you want to dive in I'd suggest Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences by Boas. Pairing that with Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by Griffiths might be fun.

Nuclear theory goes into statistical mechanics, classical mechanics is multivariable calc/linear algebra, quantum field theory combines those two with differential equations and sprinkles in a bunch of "whoa that's weird" just to keep you on your toes. But it's really important that you know the math (or more likely you fake your way through the math enough to gain some insight to the Physics).

u/BetaDecay121 · 1 pointr/astrophysics

If you want to read some great books on astrophysics and quantum physics, I recommend the books written by Professors Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw: Universal and The Quantum Universe

They are brilliant books and deliberately shy away from using any complex mathematics, explaining in detail all of the maths that is used.

u/susySquark · 2 pointsr/IWantToLearn

This is THE book for that

Multivar calculus understanding more or less necessary, and familiarity with classical mechanics is pretty handy for tackling QM. Linear algebra is absolutely critical to understand everything well, mathematically speaking.

I personally liked Griffiths' book. The concepts are explained well and the examples are cleanly worked out. It's a decently accessible book and an easy read, which is always a plus.

u/shavera · 1 pointr/askscience

Let me disclaim that maybe there's a bunch of physics I'm forgetting that also uses these things. I'm probably a bit biased by thinking of what I do and what the people I know at school do.

But that being said, almost all physics careers I can think of at this point require some quantum mechanics. If you have a chance, pick up Griffiths' Quantum. That's the standard introductory text on the matter.

And just to be sort of equal-opportunity, engineering is always a wonderful field. It depends on how much you really love physics and want to do that.

u/mebbee · 3 pointsr/trees

That's the beauty of Buddhism. In an interview with Carl Sagan, the Dalai Lama said that if something in Buddhist beliefs did not align with scientific understanding, then it would make sense to discard that belief.

I believe that Buddhists have taken inner exploration into the realm of mental science. Their meditation techniques have a linear path that one can follow if they want to achieve an experience like OP talks about.

Anyway, I'll stop going on about it, because this is a wonderful topic and I don't want to write an essay at the moment. All I meant to say is that if one is interested in learning about the intersection between science and spirituality that I recommend this book:
The Dancing Wu-li Masters

u/WhataBeautifulPodunk · 2 pointsr/Physics


Easy: Zettili, Comprehensive reference: Cohen-Tannoudji

or if you want more foundational books

Easy: Schumacher and Westmoreland, Comprehensive: Ballentine

u/nemmonszz · 1 pointr/books

In Search of Schrodingers Cat is a great book on the origins of quantum physics. Really well written and easy to understand.

u/Bulldog65 · 1 pointr/Physics

Have you read the dancing wu li masters ? Its an oldie, but a fun and easy read.

u/Lemonkopf · 1 pointr/Physics

Unfortunately, a good understanding of quantum mechanics requires a basic understanding of classical physics.

I would recommend "The Dancing Wu Li Masters" by Gary Zukov. https://www.amazon.com/Dancing-Wu-Li-Masters-Overview/dp/0060959681/ref=sr_1_1 "6 Easy Pieces" by Richard P. Feineman https://www.amazon.com/Six-Easy-Pieces-Essentials-Explained/dp/0465025277/ref=sr_1_1? My personal favorite is "Understanding Physics" by Isaac Asimov https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Physics-Volumes-Magnetism-Electricity/dp/B000RG7YPG/ref=sr_1_2? HTH

u/wacky · 1 pointr/science

> I'm not sure which QM textbooks hardcore physicists use.

NOT that one.

If you're doing quantum physics, you're probably not interested that much in how molecules work. At some point you'll learn a little bit, so you know in what direction that goes, but quantum physicists leave chemistry to the chemists.

As for textbooks, I had Griffiths first (Griffiths is amazing, his E/M book too), then Sakurai, and then Nielsen and Chuang in the 5 courses I've taken so far. And we didn't get through each of those textbooks in full; just covered chapters here and there, like science classes always do.

u/ggrieves · 4 pointsr/IWantToLearn

Start off with a good undergraduate level book, such as Griffiths, you need a good grasp of differential equations first. (I think you can pick up partial differential equations through the course since most problems in introductory QM are separable and they walk you through the separation)

MIT has these resources, but unless you are a prodigy, I think you'll need a textbook with descriptive explanations to really get it.

If you're searching for free information, I'm not going to tell you to search torrents for "quantum mechanics" and "ebook" because that would be unethical. (being sure to select "file scan")

But a good place to start might be like this

u/Lanza21 · 3 pointsr/Physics

Get this book.

Also, this book seems good. Granted I knew QFT by the time I started reading that book.

QFT is hard. Obtaining an thorough understanding it is probably the hardest thing I've ever accomplished in my life. To be honest, nothing that can be understood via words or verbal explanations will lead you to understanding QFT. You HAVE to work through the math. The words which we use to describe "virtual particle" fail the concept so miserably that we might as well not try (in my opinion).

If Griffith's is the furthest you'll go in QM and an UG book is the furthest you'll go in CM, you'll have a rough task ahead of you. Luckily, Klauber is EXTREMELY thorough and walks you through everything.

u/fotografy · 1 pointr/quantum

I just read this and its absolutely amazing.


I have a technical background, but I have no reason to work through the math as a casual reader. This is a great explanation of QM without delving into the mathematical aspect too far.

u/Mr_Wendal · 1 pointr/askscience

A good read (which almost baby steps you through the processess) is Quantum Enigma by Rosenblum and Kuttner. Its very light hearted but informative, almost as if the two old boys are competing with eachother to make YOU understand. I loved the read and am looking forward to pick it up again soon after finishing some other books.

u/csp256 · 1 pointr/quantum

Not exactly what you are looking for, but the textbook with the lowest barrier to entry is (imo) QFT for the Gifted Amateur.

I would say that after Griffiths's QM book (also recommended) you are ready for your first (but probably not your last) attempt at Gifted Amateur.

If you know calculus, all you are lacking to get started on Griffiths is linear algebra.

Good luck!

u/somnolent49 · 2 pointsr/AskWomen


  • I make large batches of food which I can freeze and reheat.
  • I eat less meat, and when I do cook meat I eat it with rice or pasta to lower the overall cost.
  • I buy large boxes of snack bars at costco, and toss a handful in my bag. When I get tempted to buy food while I'm out and about, I eat a snack bar instead and wait until I get home to eat.
  • I eat smaller portions, and force myself to wait 10-15 minutes before going back for a second portion, to make sure I'm actually still hungry.


  • I buy international edition textbooks when available. For instance, the regular edition of one of my textbooks cost $136, while the international edition only cost $16.50. The only difference between the two is that my edition has a few extra book problems the regular edition does not.
  • I go to office hours for professors and TA's when possible. I'm paying thousands of dollars just to sit in a giant lecture hall for three hours a week, yet I can easily get another hour or two of one-on-one teaching from people who are brilliant in their field for free.
u/AwkwardTurtle · 1 pointr/Physics

There's a great book on the subject called Where Does The Weirdness Go?: Why Quantum Mechanics Is Strange, But Not As Strange As You Think, that I highly suggest reading.

It's a great intro to quantum mechanics.

u/xingbo92 · 2 pointsr/PhysicsStudents

I loved the book by Zettili! It’s easy to follow without much prior knowledge of the subject.

u/airshowfan · 1 pointr/askscience

Oh good! It's even more BS-ey than I had realized!

My knowledge of quantum physics is limited to what one can learn from popular books (1, 2, 3 ). Could you try to explain the differences between the underlying models/assumptions on which Orch-OR is based, and the models/assumptions in established/standard physics? I would appreciate it.

u/Sidnv · 1 pointr/Physics

Griffiths' Quantum Mechanics has a crash course in most of the linear algebra required to do a first course in quantum mechanics. It's not very complicated - you just need basic understanding of vector spaces, linear transformations and functionals, and inner products, with a little bit of practice using dual notation of vectors (not too much, just enough for the Dirac notation which the book explains). Griffiths' also has a good explanation of simple fourier series/transform.

The key thing is being able to do basic linear algebra without matrices since in most of the cases, the vector space is infinite dimensional. But spin is a good example where almost everything can be done with matrices.

Additionally, solving ordinary differential equations and using separation of variables for partial differential equations in 3-d quantum mechanics would help.

Group theory will be of help in more advanced classes. Dummit and Foote or Arton's books on algebra are decent introduction. They are a bit dense though. If you want a real challenge, try Lang's Algebra book. I don't know of any easier books though. My first algebra book was Dummit and Foote which can be done without any real prerequisites beyond matrix algebra, but isn't really well written.

Links to books: Griffiths, Dummit and Foote.

PS: I have ebooks of these two books in particular.

u/kramer314 · 1 pointr/PhysicsStudents

The single best undergrad quantum book I've found (and I've gone through a lot of them) is Zettili's Quantum Mechanics. Very thorough and doesn't skimp out on the requisite math, but also does a good job explaining things with tons of worked out problems/examples.

u/ShanksLeftArm · 5 pointsr/Physics

For Calculus:

Calculus Early Transcendentals by James Stewart

^ Link to Amazon

Khan Academy Calculus Youtube Playlist

For Physics:

Introductory Physics by Giancoli

^ Link to Amazon

Crash Course Physics Youtube Playlist

Here are additional reading materials when you're a bit farther along:

Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences by Mary Boas

Modern Physics by Randy Harris

Classical Mechanics by John Taylor

Introduction to Electrodynamics by Griffiths

Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by Griffiths

Introduction to Particle Physics by Griffiths

The Feynman Lectures

With most of these you will be able to find PDFs of the book and the solutions. Otherwise if you prefer hardcopies you can get them on Amazon. I used to be adigital guy but have switched to physical copies because they are easier to reference in my opinion. Let me know if this helps and if you need more.

u/DarkDjin · 6 pointsr/IWantToLearn

For both subjects you'll need a solid mathematical background. You'll need calculus and linear algebra. I recommend starting with it if you haven't learned yet. I really can't stress enough the importance of mathematics in both fields.

For basic quantum mechanics: Quantum Mechanics - David Griffiths (https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Quantum-Mechanics-David-Griffiths/dp/1107179866) or Fundamentals of Modern Physics - Robert Eisberg, the later being just an introduction to Q.M.

For general relativity: Bernard Schutz's A First Course in General Relativity (https://www.amazon.com/First-Course-General-Relativity/dp/0521887054).

u/Ralath0n · 3 pointsr/outside

(OOC: Learning quantum mechanics is rather difficult if you actually want to understand it. You need to know vector calculus to even begin on anything but the simplest problems. If you are serious about learning and you don't know much about math, start with Physics by Giancoli. That should take you from basic algebra to introductory quantum mechanics. From there (Or if you are math savvy) go with Quantum Mechanics: Concepts and applications. Once you finish those you'll have a good basic knowledge on quantum mechanics.

If that sounds like a lot of work and you're just looking for a 'laymans explanation' I can recommend the old Feynman lectures on QED. He explains this stuff pretty understandably without going heavy on the math.)

u/Guywi7hface · 1 pointr/Physics

I did MedLab at uni and have about the same level of maths. This book is a pretty good place to start...

u/tdunc86 · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Check this book out, The Quantum World, I'm no mathematician but this gave me a great understanding of what Quantum Physics actually is.. We're talking about the fabric of reality itself. It may change your perspective on a lot of things once you turn a few pages.

u/Machegav · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion

I dunno, the quantum world is extremely, extremely weird. Take a look into the classic double-slit experiment. If you are firing atoms through the slits and have a detector capable of sensing their passage over one of the slits, there will be no interference pattern. If you leave the detector there but turn it OFF, the interference pattern reemerges! The detector, by the way, is completely passive: it does not disturb the passing atom in any way save for being a large enough system for the atom's quantum state to "decohere" as soon as the detector's state is contingent on the atom's.

Try this book on for size. As an admitted layman myself, I found it a good overview of quantum mechanics and its implications, but I don't think anybody truly "understands" quantum mechanics.

u/NoSmallCaterpillar · 3 pointsr/Physics

Because Griffiths is infamous amongst those in the know, but not really to a wider audience, I'll leave this here:


He also has an excellent book on Electromagnetism that is a staple in the undergraduate curriculum.

u/Bleulightning · 8 pointsr/Physics

I have personally enjoyed Griffiths Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. It requires a reasonably basis in undergraduate level physics, but is definitely not a text for doctorate students.

u/bloodfist · 1 pointr/science

I highly recommend this book if you'd like to learn more. I can't speak for the validity of all the science in it, but it explained things very well to me, as a layman. http://www.amazon.com/Where-Does-Weirdness-Go-Mechanics/dp/0465067867

u/Devook · 2 pointsr/battlestations

>I love reading quantum mechanics.

Reading the pop-sci layman's guide to physics is not the same as "reading quantum mechanics." You wanna "read quantum mechanics" you're going to have to start with two years of calculus, a year of linear algebra, a year of statistics, a year of number theory, and this book.

u/jeexbit · 1 pointr/Psychonaut

Great book! The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot is in a similar vein... And The Dancing Wu Li Masters.

u/miczajkj · 8 pointsr/askscience

Don't read Feynman. While it's extremely dense and good, it's also very unconventional and hard to understand if you don't know where it's going already.
I'd suggest Griffiths or Zee's Nutshell. While both are technically textbooks, i think you can read them very well without necessarily understanding all calculations.
Of course, those are damn expensive so you should better look for them in a library.

u/schrodingasdawg · 2 pointsr/Physics

Shankar is a good quantum book, for an advanced undergraduate. Townsend is more elementary (for an intermediate undergraduate). And of course there's Feynman lectures volume 3 for something yet more basic. (And this one's at least free.)

u/quantum_guy · 10 pointsr/IWantToLearn

Why hello there... How much math do you know?

It would be best if you understood basic differential and integral calculus, and can then learn the basics of linear algebra. From there, you could pick up a book such as Griffith's Introduction to Quantum Mechanics and start learning at the undergraduate level.

u/Alekanekelo · 1 pointr/quantum

Op is referring to this book. But yeah I laughed quite a bit too.

u/Cubixdealer · 2 pointsr/TheRedPill


this book gives a great overview imo
if quantum stuff is what you are into

u/supersymmetricman · 1 pointr/Physics

This is the one I have, I think a third edition has come out since then. But I'll have to agree with others here, Griffiths is probably not the best book for QM. There are some parts which are well written, but it is lacking in many areas. Try something like Townsend.

u/rusticanus · 13 pointsr/Physics

Here it is on the Cambridge site and here on Amazon

The copyright date is 2017 so maybe they are still rolling it out. But it looks like it is still the 2nd edition with the same content as the 2004 Pearson one.

£42 is almost a reasonable price for a hardcover textbook. Good for Griffiths/CUP; screw Pearson.

u/BugeyeContinuum · 10 pointsr/askscience

Griffiths > Eisberg > Sakurai > Zee > Peskin

Peres and Ballentine offer a more quantum information oriented approach, read em after Griffiths.

Shankar before Sakurai, after Griffiths.

In that order. Your best bet though, is to find the appropriate section in the nearest university library, spend a day or two looking at books and choose whatever looks most interesting/accessible. Be warned, it seems that everyone and their cat has a book published on quantum mechanics with funky diagrams on the cover these days. A lot of them are legitimate, but make little to no effort to ensure your understanding or pose creative problems.

u/The_Wisenheimer · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion

Psychology is the social science related to human behavior.

Quantum Mechanics is the branch of physics that deals with the behavior of subatomic particles.

I'm not sure that the two subjects could be further apart.

For quantum mechanics, there are a ton of popular books on the subject. If you can ignore some of the sillier Eastern Philosophical rantings this is a pretty good introduction to quantum mechanics for someone without much education in Calculus, Linear Algebra, or classical physics.


u/swimmer91 · 5 pointsr/AdviceAnimals

Yeah quantum sucks. If you're not already using it, Griffiths's Introduction to Quantum Mechanics is pretty good:

And this guy has posted solutions with thorough explanations to most (maybe all?) of the practice problems:

u/oh_jonas · 5 pointsr/math

I strongly agree with these choices. Additionally, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by Griffiths.

u/Moneybags99 · 2 pointsr/Metaphysics

I can't believe no one has discussed the observer effect in quantum physics yet! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect_(physics)

Let's see if I can give a brief description without screwing it up too badly. Depending on the type of test you perform, you can make light photons act like a wave OR a particle. They have gone on to perform experiments where they make 'weak' measurements on the light before you randomly choose which test to do, and those weak measurements show that the light knows what type of test you are doing before you do the test. This means that your test's interaction with the light actually sent information back in time. Since all matter fundamentally acts the same as light (as a wave 'function' that collapses when measured), and since all matter is entangled since the big bang, somehow the order of matter of the whole universe was determined at the beginning of the universe by some future observer. This is all 'hypothetical' of course.

If you're interested I'd highly recommend this book http://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Enigma-Physics-Encounters-Consciousness/dp/0199753814

u/elelias · 5 pointsr/Physics

I've been thinking about buying QFT in a Nutshell. Better than Peskin & Schroeder ?

u/BigFatBeardo · 1 pointr/AskPhysics

Thanks very much for the advice! We are using A Modern Approach to Quantum Mechanics by John S. Townsend.

Edit: Amazon Link

u/VoodooSteve · 44 pointsr/Physics

My undergraduate courses in quantum mechanics used Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by Griffiths and is a really good introduction with enough details.

u/TheNicestMonkey · 31 pointsr/Bitcoin

>Can you describe quantum mechanics

Intro to Quantum Mechanics

This is effectively what you have done...

u/thegreatunclean · 2 pointsr/askscience

Unfortunately no analogies come to mind that would simultaneously let you understand the concept and be able to move on to more advanced stuff without getting hopelessly lost in the shortcomings.

Quantum mechanics is really only the tip of the iceberg, and much of the material you'll find is geared for people that want/need to be able to apply concepts like spin in a mathematically rigorous manner. I would sincerely recommend Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed if you're looking for a discussion of the basics without requiring the math.

I still don't believe I truly understand quantum mechanics (and really, who does?) but having a math-heavy background made it a lot easier. Being able to attack the equations myself made it a lot easier to grasp difficult concepts, I don't even really know where to start explaining it without mathematical terminology getting in the way.

u/ianmgull · 7 pointsr/quantum

This is the standard textbook that undergraduates first encounter. It assumes you already have a pretty firm grasp of calculus and linear algebra however.


I know it's not a site, but if you want to REALLY learn QM, this is how to start.

u/cant_think_of_one_ · 12 pointsr/cats

He was trying to learn.

I too like to learn with my belly. Sometimes I learn about food by eating it. Other times I try to learn about QFT by laying on my copy of Pesking and Schroeder.

u/SoSweetAndTasty · 1 pointr/AskPhysics

Books like Griffiths quantum or Nielsen and Chuang quantum information? From the sounds of your post you have some large gaps in your understanding.

u/GroundhogExpert · 2 pointsr/cringepics


Just flipping through the first pages should make it obvious how much previous knowledge is required just to begin understanding quantum mechanics.

Maybe this one is better: http://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Physics-Dummies-Steve-Holzner/dp/1118460820/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408628463&sr=1-1&keywords=quantum+mechanics+for+dummies

I just went through the first chapter in the dummies book, it's not much better.

u/worldspawn00 · 2 pointsr/politics

If you want to teach a kid quantum mechanics, I highly recommend "Where does the Weirdness go?"

u/firekow · 1 pointr/Physics

If you have taken a solid introductory physics course, this standard text steps through a good number of classic problems in an understandable fashion.

EDIT: Calculus, vectors, linear algebra (clarifies a whole lot of the concepts), ODEs and PDEs.

u/LennartGimm · 1 pointr/explainabookplotbadly

While you’re working on the rules, you might want to think about what types of books are permitted. Are scientific books like the Griffiths allowed? I could just give a very simplified description of QM and have people guess. Are historical books like Rubikon allowed? Opening the sub to simplified tellings of historical events.

I think this really depends on what type of content you and the users want to see. I personally would like the sub to remain focused on fiction and novels, but maybe on Sundays every type of book can be allowed in order to vent the chaos and have a little fun.

Also: You might want to ban certain books from this sub, if they are overdone. I could imagine Harry Potter, LotR and the bible to be posted often.

u/dsafish · 1 pointr/Physics

Check out Cohen, very cleared and it's structured so you can go as deep as you want into a subject.

u/omgzpplz · 8 pointsr/Physics

David J. Griffiths: E+M book, QM book.

Chances are you recognize him now?

u/pl213 · 1 pointr/physicsbooks

The book by Zettilli is very good and contains lots of work problems.

u/badmathafacka · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

If you want to talk about Quantum Mechanics, maybe you should be reading this book instead.

u/whatispunk · 0 pointsr/AskReddit

The book Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed does an incredible job of explaining the strangeness that is Quantum Physics in mostly layman's terms. But due to the sheer and utter weirdness that is the subatomic world, there are some things that are just going to be hard to accept and/or even grasp.

u/pjfoster · 5 pointsr/askscience

If you really want to learn quantum mechanics check out this intro book by David Griffiths. It assumes you know some calculus but that's about it.

u/blueboybob · 1 pointr/HomeworkHelp

halliday and resnick for general physics

1 - goldstein

2 - griffith

3 -

4 - griffith or jackson

u/woodne · 3 pointsr/Physics

I used Griffiths for my upper level Electro & Magnetostatics class.


Also I know the university I'm at uses the Griffiths book for Quantum Mechanics, however I have not taken the class.


Disclaimer: I am a math major.

u/i_am_cat · 2 pointsr/LearnJapanese

4000 yen on amazon.jp or $50 on amazon.com is not even close to insanely expensive. Many physics books and similar subjects are closer to the $100-200 range. The cheap ones are $50.

u/ELS · 3 pointsr/Physics

I think the most widely-used textbook for a junior level introductory quantum mechanics class (at least in US universities) is this book by David Griffiths.

u/wafflesforlife · 2 pointsr/chemistry

In addition to the McQuarrie book mentioned (my text for pchem), I would take a look at Griffiths book for QM. The two books are complementary to each other and I think reading them both gave me a big leg up!

u/dicey · 7 pointsr/Physics

Author of two widely used undergratuate physics texts: one for Electricity and Magnetism and one for Quantum Mechanics. He also authored the somewhat-less-widely used (perhaps mainly because it's a specialist subject in most undergrad programs) Introduction to Elementary Particles.

u/andershaf · 2 pointsr/askscience

Depends on your level, but any book with a title not far away from "Introduction to quantum field theory" will do the job if you already know a lot of physics. For instance, this is the text book of the introductory course at my university. But it is for people with a bachelor in theoretical physics.

u/omgdonerkebab · 19 pointsr/Physics

What is probably the most-used textbook for quantum field theory:

Peskin & Schroeder

The Higgs is covered in chapter 20, I believe. I think you only really need to study chapters 1-7, whichever chapter has Goldstone's theorem (11?), 15-16, and 20 to get to the Higgs material and cover the basics of quantum field theory and the Standard Model, although this skips the deeper aspects of renormalization.

u/OmnipotentEntity · 1 pointr/quantum

A Modern Approach to Quantum Mechanics By Townsend is the text that my class used. It's approachable and thorough, and requires only minimal prereq knowledge to get started (EM, Linear Algebra, some calculus, Complex numbers).

u/Kuroikami · 1 pointr/askscience

as an aside, a link from amazon of that book is here. While I don't work for the company, and do endorse locally-sourced books, some people find things hard to find from time to time. Sorry for the bother, and continue reading.

u/lejaylejay · 5 pointsr/quantum

What's your background? I'd probably start with math (sorry). Calculus and linear algebra.

Then Griffiths is probably to go-to intro text book. Though I never really got it until I read Sakurai. I'm not sure where to go for calculus and linear algebra self-study. Perhaps others can suggest.



u/nebos11 · 1 pointr/AskReddit

You might laugh me out of the building so to speak, but I'd add David J. Griffiths' introductory college-level book to that list. (http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Quantum-Mechanics-David-Griffiths/dp/0131118927/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348157753&sr=1-1&keywords=david+j+griffiths+quantum+mechanics). It's not going to blow anyone's mind with crazy philosophical mumbo jumbo, but I think it's the right place to start if you're unfamiliar the basics, i.e. Heisenberg uncertainty, Hilbert space, Schrodinger's Eq, and so on. Understanding the formalism and the fundamentals of QM is vital if you want to get into more esoteric stuff.