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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/timms5000 · 6 pointsr/Physics

Regardless of the OPs eventual interests there's a reason we start with Newtonian stuff in most 101 type courses. I think its reasonable for OP to start there if they are serious, my recommendations are:


  • go through this Classical Mechanics course. While I haven't used this one in particular I can vouch for the quality and clarity of Walter Lewin's teaching.

  • Make sure you use the associated problem sets with any course you choose. The importance of solving actual problems can not be over emphasized.

  • When you find yourself struggling with the math (I promise that you will eventually) make sure you take the time to go learn some of the mathematics, if you like the MIT courses I think their math department also has lots of resources online.

  • Stick to a study schedule. Physics is fun but treat it like a sport, you can do it for fun but you won't get anywhere if you never practice


  • Feynman Lectures are a great middle ground between a rigor and accessibility. I highly recommend these for a fun way to learn the basics

  • Hawking's books are great reads

  • Cosmos was a wonderful series

  • If you want flashy and motivating, check out Brian Greene's stuff.

    From there, op can look at different fields, biophysics seems like it would be the most likely candidate in which case OP might also want to brush up on organic chemistry and learn how to use MATLAB.
u/oro_boris · 3 pointsr/Physics

> Why is a photon massless and still has momentum?

Because momentum isn’t actually p = mv, as in Newtonian mechanics, but it’s really

p = ( E/c^2 ) v

For objects with a non-zero mass m, moving non-relativistically, E is approximately equal to mc^2 and then p is approximately equal to mv, the Newtonian value.

However, photons are intrinsically relativistic. They have energy even though they don’t have mass (their energy is proportional to their frequency, E = hf, where h is Planck’s constant) and, so, they also carry momentum. In fact, since their speed (in vacuum) is always c, the magnitude of their momentum, using the above results, is always p = E/c = h f/c = h/wavelength.

> Why can't anything go beyond the speed of light? (Cliché but I never really understood why despite of many videos floating on YouTube)

Please take a read at this post I wrote here some time ago, where I address that question. Please ignore the first two paragraphs as those were part of a rant.

> How does a magnetic field originate?

A magnetic field is created by electric charges in motion. Since, however, motion is relative (you’re not moving with respect to your chair but you are moving with respect to, say, the Sun), so is a magnetic field. In a reference frame where an electric charge is at rest, you’ll only measure the electric field generated by the charge. In a reference frame where the charge is in motion, you’ll observe both an electric field and a magnetic field.

Excellent introductory books on special relativity, in my opinion, are (in increasing order of difficulty):

Special Relativity: For the Enthusiastic Beginner

Special Relativity (Mit Introductory Physics Series)


Spacetime Physics: Introduction to Special Relativity

Einstein’s own books are pretty great too, and are now in the public domain. Search the Gutenberg project for them.

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.] (

    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/wheres_my_vestibule · 3 pointsr/Physics

The Variational Principles of Mechanics by Lanczos is an amazing book for understanding calculus of variations. The majority of it covers ODEs rather than PDEs / field equations, but to be honest the book is so good that the generalization to field theory is almost obvious. It does have a chapter or two on fields though. The book has the most beautiful economy of words I've ever seen in a textbook, concise and yet crystal clear. Also, the book is cheap! Just $16 at Amazon right now. It's definitely written for physicists, it's not a math book at all.

I can't say enough good things about this book. Reading it was the first time I understood calculus of variations. He actually explains what you are doing conceptually when you vary a path, whereas I feel like most physics books introduce it solely as a mathematical manipulation. I finally gained a good intuition for it.

My introduction to calculus of variations in field theory came through classical electrodynamics in Landau & Lifshitz and Jackson. I agree that those books don't tell you at all how it works; they just start performing manipulations and you just follow what they do.

u/Aeschylus_ · 4 pointsr/Physics

You're English is great.

I'd like to reemphasize /u/Plaetean's great suggestion of learning the math. That's so important and will make your later career much easier. Khan Academy seems to go all through differential equations. All of the more advanced topics they have differential and integral calculus of the single variable, multivariable calculus, ordinary differential equations, and linear algebra are very useful in physics.

As to textbooks that cover that material I've heard Div, Grad, Curl for multivariable/vector calculus is good, as is Strang for linear algebra. Purcell an introductory E&M text also has an excellent discussion of the curl.

As for introductory physics I love Purcell's E&M. I'd recommend the third edition to you as although it uses SI units, which personally I dislike, it has far more problems than the second, and crucially has many solutions to them included, which makes it much better for self study. As for Mechanics there are a million possible textbooks, and online sources. I'll let someone else recommend that.

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/Carthoris · 1 pointr/Physics

There are some amazing answers above me Calamitizer's being exeptional in my opinion but I thought I would try my hand at answering.

Given your discussion of black holes I want to point out that a black hole and other singularities are the ultimate barrier, the smallest 'point'. A Schwarzschild black hole exists theoretically as a point surrounded by an event horizon. The event horizon is what you would actually see and it would appear much larger, however this event horizon is just a visible boundary, it is the radius (from the black hole) at which the escape velocity is greater than the speed of light.

If you haven't read it A Brief History of time is a great book and explains black holes and their functioning in great detail.

u/Cletus_awreetus · 6 pointsr/Physics

This is definitely above your level, and it's from 1982 so it's a little outdated, but if you're really interested in astrophysics then it might be worth checking it out and trying to work through at least the first few sections. I think it's written so that you can follow it without too much math involvement.

Frank Shu - The Physical Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy

Otherwise, there are a lot of great popular-writing (i.e. not a textbook) books about physics/astrophysics. Here are a few:

Stephen Hawking - A Brief History of Time

Carl Sagan - Cosmos

Neil deGrasse Tyson - Death By Black Hole, and Other Cosmic Quandaries

My biggest advice, though, for taking physics in high school is to try to do as well as you possibly can in your math classes. Those are the most important for getting into physics. If you do well in math then physics should be pretty easy.

u/daelin · 2 pointsr/Physics

For introductory physics, I'd recommend Giancoli, Physics for Scientists and Engineers. You may want something in addition to this for deeper math, but Giancoli is fantastic for getting the core ideas and integrating them across different phenomena. After Giancoli, you will understand almost everything a lot better.

After Giancoli, things get a lot rougher. Your next objective is Classical Mechanics. You cannot learn Quantum Mechanics without studying Classical Mechanics in depth. You can try, as I did, but you are in for a world of pain that you won't fully grasp until you take Classical Mechanics seriously. You will especially want to pay attention to periodic and harmonic systems. Giancoli's main disadvantage is a weak treatment of periodic systems. Any Classical Mechanics book will make up for this.

At this point you will also need a companion book to take you through Classical Mechanics and everything that follows (Statistical Mechanics, Electrodynamics, Quantum Mechanics). That book is Mary L. Boas' Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences. Frankly, upper level undergraduate physics textbooks assume you have this knowledge. It's a fantastic book and it would have saved me a world of pain if I'd known about it right from the beginning.

Anyhow, after Giancoli you should look at Boas, then you may choose "Classical Mechanics" by Thornton & Marion. This book assumes you have Boas. Then you can plunge into Griffiths' Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, which assumes you have Boas. However, you'll have an easier time of the material if you read Griffiths' E&M book first, which assumes you have Boas. You'll also be well-served with a Statistical Mechanics textbook. Blundell & Blundell (Introduction to Thermal Physics) is a wonderful book conceptually, except that it lacks solutions. The mathematical and conceptual ideas in each of these subjects were fundamental to the development of Quantum Mechanics, and familiarity with the subjects is assumed by QM textbook authors.

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/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/Jtrinity45 · 1 pointr/Physics

oh! oh! I've been waiting to share this. Alice in Quantumland
I read it when I was in 8th grade and it got me hooked on nuclear science. Hardly any equations, just some cool concepts explained through a brilliantly written story.

Edit: ok, it's not a textbook. just something fun to read if you're newly interested in atomic science :)

u/mst3kcrow · 2 pointsr/Physics

>I'm a 17 year old senior in HS looking to major in physics or engineering next year when I go off to college. I'm subscribed to this subreddt because I find it very interesting. That being said, I don't have an extensive background on physics and was very curious about the Higgs-Boson.

Good for you! We need more people going into the hard sciences. Take the following with a grain of salt, just wanted to share some hindsight. When it comes to physics, start early. I highly recommend a book called Thinking Physics. I didn't find out about it until college when a TA recommended it in an intro course; wish someone told me about it in High School. It would be right up your alley. :) Also, don't be discouraged if the math roughs you up a bit when you get to linear algebra.

u/Snowtred · 8 pointsr/Physics

I would recommend Introduction to "Elementary Particle Physics" by David Griffiths

Its generally considered a higher-level undergrad book, but as a PhD student I still look at it from time to time, especially if I want to teach a specific subject. He will review the SR and Quantum for you, but at a level that you'd want to have seen it before. There's calc and a little bit of linear algebra, but at such a level that you could learn them for the first time through this text (assuming you've had SOME Calc before)

From there, the next level is sort of "Quarks and Leptons" by Halzen and Martin, which people are generally less excited about, but I enjoyed it.

After that, the top standard that even theorists seem to love is "High Energy Hadron Physics" by Martin Perl, where there are parts of that text that I still struggle with.

u/Excalibur42 · 2 pointsr/Physics

1st year super keen physics student here. I'm particularly passionate about plasma physics and I'm doing a research project this semester as well as an extension to my physics course in that field. I've already ordered a copy of Chen's 3rd edition, and have a hard copy of Fusion Physics as well as a library copy of Griffith's Electromagnetism (only 2nd edition though; worth getting the new one?)

Anyone have suggestions for texts/resources for physics along the same lines?


u/InfanticideAquifer · 1 pointr/Physics

There are actually a lot of good popularizations of quantum mechanics written by physicists for the general public.

I remember Brian Greene's books having a pretty good conceptual description of relativity and quantum mechanics.

There's also Alice and Quantumland.

Stephen Hawking's books are probably the "classics of physics popularization". Just stay away from the bland looking orange book on page 2 ;) .

The Einstein Paradox was excellent. It explores modern physics concepts (including quantum mechanics) in a series of Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Highly recommended.

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/k-selectride · 3 pointsr/Physics

I don't know of any decent online particle physics resources. But there are two good books at the undergraduate level I can think of Griffiths and Halzen and Martin

For superconductivity you want to learn many body quantum mechanics, ie non-relativistic quantum field theory. The most common recommendation is Fetter and Walecka, but I might consider Thouless to be superior on account of it being 1/3rd the length and probably only covers core topics. If you feel like dropping a lot of money, Mahan is very good, but also somewhat exhaustive. Might be worth having as a reference depending on how serious you get. I would get F&W and Thouless simply on account of how cheap they are.

u/fermion72 · 1 pointr/Physics

My favorite introduction to physics is Asimov's Understanding Physics. It does get somewhat advanced, but Asimov is such a great writer (IMHO) and it will give you a survey of the field like none other that I think you'll enjoy it.

u/treeses · 2 pointsr/Physics

Now that the 3rd edition has been published, used copies of the 2nd edition of The Art of Electronics is super cheap. I think this is the best intro circuits book for self study. Alternatively, I've really enjoyed Practical Electronics for Inventors too, and it covers more modern stuff (like it has a chapter on arduino). Both of these start with the basics, though Practical Electronics written for a more general audience so it is easier on the math.

For electromagnetics, I've heard Electricity and Magnetism is pretty good. It does cover some circuits stuff, but so much of circuits is about electronic components that you really need a dedicated circuits book to understand them.

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/Physics

QED, Six Easy Pieces, and Six Not So Easy Pieces are great reads for the interested layperson. Also, Einsteins original Relativity is great, and doesn't have super-complicated math.

u/kendawg_69 · 4 pointsr/Physics

It was my favorite book in undergrad and from what I remember it's really well written. I recall that if I was confused about a topic in lecture I could go to the relevant chapter and end up with a clear understanding.

Admittedly it's been a while since I last read it but hopefully there may be some more helpful reviews here


u/2x4b · 2 pointsr/Physics

I don't know about layman, but Griffiths Electrodynamics is a standard first text in university.

A good bit to have a layman's understand of is the following. These two Maxwell's equations:

>divergence E = non-zero (in general)

>divergence B = 0 (always)

(not sure how much of a layman you are, but divergence = triangle then a dot, see the first and second equations down in the table here, doesn't really matter what divergence actually means for this).

The first of these is a statement of the fact that there are electric monopoles (E=electric field), i.e. a positive or negative charge sitting all on its own. The second says that there are no magnetic monopoles (B=magnetic field). Which is to say that you can't have the north pole of a magnet without having a south pole next to it. This is a subject of some discussion, but no-one has detected one yet.

Another good thing about Maxwell's equations is that they were written down before Einstein discovered Special Relativity, but they are already correct in special relativistic terms. They tell us that we'd been studying and quantifying relativistic effects long before Einstein's work, we just didn't call these effects relativity, nor realise that the same sorts of laws govern the motion of massive objects rather than just electric and magnetic fields.

u/NuneShelping · 1 pointr/Physics

Epstein, Thinking Physics (

This book is wonderful. It is almost a bathroom reader, but it has amazing depth and great lessons that range across all of physics.

u/dajaymo · 1 pointr/Physics

A brief history of time. Hands down the best primer on theoretical physics.
Also Sagan. Easy reads, though you will have to read certain sections a dozen times to really get them. Still the best for building a framework IMO

u/Phaen_ · 1 pointr/Physics

I have no experience with Young's books, but if you want to look into alternatives a very popular text book for physics is Physics for Scientists & Engineers by Giancoli, perfect for introductionary courses into classical mechanics. For a more advanced text book about classical mechanics you might want to look into Classical Mechanics by John R. Taylor.

u/TomatoAintAFruit · 1 pointr/Physics

For an undergraduate approach I recommend Schroeder. However, this book starts with thermal physics which is, well, a bit boring ;). The math is not hard, but developing that 'physics instinct' can sometimes be challenging.

For a more advanced, but very nice and systematic text, I recommend Toda, Kubo, et al.. Another graduate text is Huang.

There are also the books by Feynman and Landau and Lifshitz Pt. 1 (Pt. 2 is quantum field theory, which at this stage you probably will want to avoid).

u/We_have_no_future · 2 pointsr/Physics

Yes, Bryson's is a good one. I'd also recommend some classic books: 1. The Universe and Dr. Einstein. 2. About any book written by George Gamow, like One Two Three . . . Infinity. 3. Thinking Physics. I think all these books are quite motivating.

u/saints400 · 2 pointsr/Physics

Im currently in a mechanics physics course and this is the main text book we use

I'd say it's pretty good and an easy read as well

We have also been using a math text book to complement some of the material

Hope this helps

u/conquerer7 · 10 pointsr/Physics

Take a charge just sitting there, and suddenly whack it. A moving charge has a different electric field than a stationary one, it's strongest in the plane perpendicular to the motion. The field lines for this moving charge will be straight, but squished towards that plane.

But if you're a light year away, you can't know that instantly. You'll still see the same field that the stationary charge made. The information that the charge is now moving propagates out at the speed of light, so you get a shell moving outward in which the field suddenly shifts, from the stationary charge field to the moving charge field. That is a light wave.

You can also see from this description how the intensity depends on what angle you're at, and why it depends on acceleration (the faster you accelerate, the thinner the shell/wave and the bigger the change in E, so the big E in the shell is even bigger).

Why do you need acceleration? If the charge has been uniformly moving forever, the field will be "correct" everywhere. Of course, if you suddenly stop it, you'll launch another wave. If you move the charge sinusoidally, you'd get pretty much what you'd expect.

I can't draw a nice picture, but this is basically what's on the cover of the latest edition of Morin/Purcell E&M. That book is where I heard about this nice intuitive picture, which is great for people like me who can't do advanced math. :D

u/primus454 · 28 pointsr/Physics

That is advanced physics for you. If it were easy, there would be as many people in physics lectures as something like business administration. Most topics won't stick the first, second, or even third time around.

As for electromagnetics, I could recommend:

Feel free to get an older addition.

u/mrcmnstr · 2 pointsr/Physics

I thought of some books suggestions. If you're going all in, go to the library and find a book on vector calculus. You're going to need it if you don't already know spherical coordinates, divergence, gradient, and curl. Try this one if your library has it. Lots of good books on this though. Just look for vector calculus.

Griffiths has a good intro to E&M. I'm sure you can find an old copy on a bookshelf. Doesn't need to be the new one.

Shankar has a quantum book written for an upper level undergrad. The first chapter does an excellent job explaining the basic math behind quantum mechanics .

u/hes_a_dick · 5 pointsr/Physics

For freshman/ sophmore honors EM in the US, I think that's A-level in Britain or something? Anyways, Purcell and Morin's Electricity and Magnetism is absolutely great.

Basically it was written by Purcell, Nobel Prize winner in 1952, and uses special relativity and a few other assumptions to derive all of electricity and magnetism, rather than the other way around. Morin came along in the third edition, added a bunch of problems and changed the units from Gaussian to MKS. If your mechanics course covers some special relativity, I strongly recommend this book.

Warning, vector calculus is necessary, Purcell gives an overview, but it's not a full treatment.

Third edition with Morin's extra problems

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/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/fantasticmrbond · 1 pointr/Physics

My introduction to both General and Special Relativity was from John Taylor's Classical Mechanics, in free pdf form or in a dead trees format. The General Relativity section is lumped toward the end of the 'Special Relativity' chapter. It would be a great place to start.

u/john_o · 2 pointsr/Physics

Do you know what textbooks you'll be needing next year? It might be a good idea to get a hold of them early and familiarize yourself with the material.

The go to undergraduate E&M book is Griffith's, Introduction to Electrodynamics. E&M is tough for a lot of people, so it'd be nice to have a leg up by reading through some of this book before the semester starts. Griffith's writing style is really easy to follow and he tries to guide you threw important derivations without skipping around too much. There's a reason this book is so ubiquitous in undergraduate physics.

u/BugeyeContinuum · 1 pointr/Physics

Theres good reason for colleges to drill mechanics into kids, because mechanics is the ONLY mathematical model you have a good intuition about. Science and engineering are all about mathematical models of real world systems, to deal with the more complex ones, its a good idea to have a grasp on the simplest one we know.

That said, you'd be surprised at the insanely complex systems you can describe using just F=Ma and waves. They don't teach this at college, because the purpose of introductory level physics courses in college is to cater to the lowest common denominator. One way out is to try and solve real world problems you can come up with, another is to procure a book that emphasis problem solving, i.e uses F=Ma but make you think.

IMO : Reading only popsci is not very satisfying. The stuff in popsci is fun, but its a rather experience shallow unless you can actually understand the stuff. It does serve as motivation to get to the actual physics that the popsci deals with though.

u/nikofeyn · 1 pointr/Physics

i recommend the following books by shankar (who is also the author of a well known quantum mechanics book). the books are accompanied by the open yale courses on physics.

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/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. "6 Easy Pieces" by Richard P. Feineman My personal favorite is "Understanding Physics" by Isaac Asimov HTH

u/Animastryfe · 2 pointsr/Physics

If you want to learn more about special relativity, I suggest you read this textbook. My half semester special relativity class used this book, and I think a highschool student with a good background in classical mechanics should be able to go through most of it.

u/mathwanker · 2 pointsr/Physics

Halliday & Resnick would be my recommendation. We used their Physics, Parts 1&2 when I was a student, not their Fundamentals of Physics, which seems to be a different book (and the two books were published simultaneously for a while; I was never sure what the difference was).

If you want individual books, try Kleppner & Kolenkow for mechanics, and Purcell for E&M. Those are often used in honors sections of freshman physics, since the problems tend to be a bit harder. There's also Newtonian Mechanics by A.P. French, which was used for freshman mechanics at MIT for a while (not sure if it still is). French's introductory books on Special Relativity and Quantum Physics are also good. But for relativity my favorite intro-level book is Spacetime Physics by Taylor & Wheeler.

u/c_is_4_cookie · 8 pointsr/Physics

Griffith's quantum is OK. Not bad, but all in all it lacks a bit of depth. I recommend Shankar's book. It covers a lot more of the basic formalism that lays the foundation for quantum mechanics. I would say it falls into an odd area in that it cover more material than is needed for an undergrad class, but not quite enough for a grad class. Nonetheless, it is an excellent introduction, especially for self-study.

u/ErDestructor · 0 pointsr/Physics

Principles of Quantum Mechanics, Shankar

In my opinion, easier to follow than Griffiths. It explains principles better. Covers bra-ket, integral and matrix forms throughout. Many fewer gaps in getting from point a to point b than Griffiths. For someone studying on their own, the fewer gaps the better.

u/FieldLine · 1 pointr/Physics

Any suggestions on how to approach high-level physics without a formal math background?

I am an engineer with an academic concentration in signals processing and a minor in physics, so I do have a strong quantitative background. However, my training was heavily slanted towards ad-hoc problem solving rather than rigorous analysis, so I find myself lost as I tackle topics grounded in formal mathematics.

Specifically, I have been reading Lanczos' The Variational Principles of Mechanics, a popular analytical mechanics text, with great difficulty.

Is it worth reading a pure math book on differential geometry or something similar? How do most graduate students study advanced physics, when an undergraduate physics education doesn't use much math beyond basic PDEs?

u/Concordiaa · 4 pointsr/Physics

I highly recommend David Griffith's Introduction to Electrodynamics. It is a classic undergraduate text in electrodynamics. His style is a bit wordy, but I feel it complements all of the mathematics well. It begins with a good overview of vector calculus which is necessary to do college level E&M, so the text is manageable even if you haven't been exposed to calc 3 yet.

u/jz57fuckyouotherjz57 · 1 pointr/Physics

I up-voted just for the title. I would also agree in that Griffith's book Introduction to Elementary Particle Physics is a good choice. I did an REU in Nuclear Physics, and this book was really helpful to me. Here is a link.

u/goatsecxy · 1 pointr/Physics

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking is also good. Its famous because it makes things like spacetime easy to understand. I've read it several times. Learn something new each time.

u/YoshiKwon · 1 pointr/Physics

I've heard pretty good things about Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum by Leonard Susskind. I imagine it also has the added advantage of matching the Standford course he did that can be found on YouTube

u/lohborn · 1 pointr/Physics

Spacetime Physics is the best introduction to special relativity I know. It will get your mind through the unintuitive parts if you give it time.

u/rantonels · 7 pointsr/Physics

ok, the thing is you cannot expect to be able to tackle relativistic quantum field theory without a very solid knowledge of relativity (among other things). A very good introductory textbook to special relativity is Taylor's and Wheeler's, and also Rindler's spends more time explaining tensors and indices.

u/_zen_calm_ · 6 pointsr/Physics

If I were you, I would study from Purcell (Berkeley physics course volume number 2). This is the best to begin with. And DO all the problems! After that if you still want better understanding, Griffiths - Introduction to electrodynamics is very good. Do not touch Feynman or Landau until you complete those 2, they are very bad for beginers but after you are familiar with the subject they are true gems.

u/larsgj · 1 pointr/Physics

For starters you can read Asimovs Understanding Physics. It's a concept-describing TEXT book. There's almost no pictures, no math and no pop-culture-references. It's the opposite of Serways classic physics book which I used back in the day. Asimov is a good writer and tells about physics in an understandable way. I bought the book used for one dollar :) Best quality/price book I own.

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/Adam_Ewing · 2 pointsr/Physics

I agree, however for a first year physics student a bit more depth is required too. Something like Classical Mechanics by Taylor would work well as a supplement, especially to introduce and to familiarize the student with the mathematical side.

u/Echolate · 3 pointsr/Physics

Anyone had any first hand experience with Lancazos' Variational Principles of Mechanics?. I'm almost through Landau's Mechanics and was interested in learning more about the action principle, although I don't have any background in the calculus of variations and such.

u/SanchoLoamsdown · 2 pointsr/Physics

Alice in Quantumland. There might be a free pdf somewhere online. I briefly checked out this book in high school and it seems like a potentially cute/graspable way to describe physics.

u/nerga · 4 pointsr/Physics

Get a decent book in Mathematical Methods, it will teach you basically everything you need for physics up to a good point. Boas is good.

u/djimbob · 2 pointsr/Physics

Jearl Walker has a cool book with a bunch of fun physics "problems" (though it seems like a newer printing than mine).

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/commonslip · 4 pointsr/Physics

I recommend the following book on the subject: The Variational Principle Of Mechanics which elaborates on the relationship between the two views much more effectively than I can.

u/Monsieurcaca · 4 pointsr/Physics

Yes, this book is a good introduction to general mechanics with applied integrale/differential calculus :

u/SchmittyRexus · 3 pointsr/Physics

Boas Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences has a lot of useful math, although it is mostly focused on DEs and complex analysis.

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/andrewr_ · 1 pointr/Physics

My reason is because I've been teaching myself linear algebra during the summer and thought it might be a good idea to practice my new skills in physics.

Edit: I hadn't thought about re examining classical mechanics from a more advanced perspective. To confirm the textbooks you're talking about is this Morin and this Taylor?

u/functor7 · 2 pointsr/Physics

I agree here, they may be a little more "mathy" than what you're looking for but they cover important topics to physics and engineering. Byron and Fuller is pretty good and has already been mentioned, it's less mathy and more focused on how physicists treat the subjects.

Just stay the hell away from Boas, I have a degrees in math and physics, and that book is completely useless and confusing for physicists and extra disrespectful to mathematics

u/mehmetegemen · 2 pointsr/Physics

Maybe theoretical minimum by Leonard Susskind? I'm reading classic mechanics of this series and it's awesome, gives a totally new perspective to you and also teaches scientific notation.

u/thinkyfish · 1 pointr/Physics

Asimov's Understanding Physics is great for a guided tour.

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/bubble_gum272 · 44 pointsr/Physics

The Electrodynamics book by Griffiths is a standard textbook for a reason. He explains topics well and has good examples. This is the link to it.

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/limitz · 1 pointr/Physics

Well, I don't mind reading a few equations. My former institute would be ashamed of me if I couldn't even do that.

Let me clarify. By "non-mathematical", I don't want to read pages and pages of derivations, justifications, and proofs. I want to get a book with excellent qualitative descriptions of the particles, their functions, the stories behind their discoveries, experimental descriptions of the verification of each one, and how they interact with each other.

I've been looking at these few titles:

Do you any experience with these few?

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/Penguin929 · 9 pointsr/Physics

If you want a textbook Introduction to Elementary Particles by Griffiths has quite a bit in it and has some nice examples worked out. Should be in a university library.

u/Gluesuf · 2 pointsr/Physics

Alice in Quantum Land! It's a nice intro and very basic understanding of the quantum world.

u/GRelativist · 2 pointsr/Physics

Learning physics is learning to think. Start here, don't cheat, you will thank me when your done.

u/sebso · 2 pointsr/Physics

15 might be a good age to introduce her to some Dick.

u/Dorun · 1 pointr/Physics

I really like ballentine's and shankar's text books

u/geneyus · 1 pointr/Physics

For thermo/stat mech, the standard undergraduate texts are Schroeder (, and I guess Blundell & Blundell (

For Quantum Physics the standard undergradate books are the quantum mechanics books by Shankar, Griffiths, and sometimes Messiah. I personally didn't like any of them, I learned from Cohen-Tannoudji but it is more difficult mathematically. For more advanced books you can look at Sakurai or Landau's book.

There is no real standard book that I'm aware of for Nuclear/subnuclear physics for undergrads (because it is really a graduate level book). But I think Griffiths has a book on particle physics if you like his quantum mechanics book. He does like to talk alot though just so you know.

u/InfinityFlat · 3 pointsr/Physics

I'm going to give a very different recommendation from everyone else, and point you toward The Flying Circus of Physics. For tying physics to interesting "everyday" phenomenon it's a compilation second to none.

u/weforgottenuno · 3 pointsr/Physics

Yes, it is definitely focussed on variational calculus, but I still found it highly readable. It is also far from out of print: it's available as a Dover paperback:

u/Deadmeat553 · 2 pointsr/Physics

The Feynman Lectures, Volume III and Susskind's Quantum Mechanics Theoretical Minimum are both great resources. Neither one is like reading a textbook (which can be quite tiring), but both manage to cover all of the stuff that you should need to cover.

u/StartDale · 2 pointsr/Physics

No not reliable at all. New age spiritual nonsense with the word quantum thrown around with no rhyme or reason!

Read any of these instead. Actual physics books for new to physics readers;

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life

Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics Explained by its Most Brilliant Teacher

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/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/UltraVioletCatastro · 1 pointr/Physics

You might want to try Taylor and Wheeler it is an introduction to the basics of GR whose math prerequisite is calculus.

u/getting_serious · 2 pointsr/Physics

Get Epstein's book Thinking Physics. Every physicist loves it, it requires no mathematical knowledge whatsoever, and I have seen more than one professor struggle with finding answers. This doesn't teach you the underlying mathematical structure, leaves out most of what you need to pass exams, but once you're through, you've built up a thorough understanding of the world around you.

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/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/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/phazer40 · 4 pointsr/Physics

Griffiths has a book on it

David Griffiths,
Introduction to Elementary Particles

u/tikael · 1 pointr/Physics

The two intro texts you'll see all the time for quantum are Shankar and Griffiths. I would recommend Shankar of those two since Griffiths skips a bunch of critical mathematical definitions. However, even Shankar may be a bit above your current math level. I don't know what 6th form or A-level means but quantum can get into ugly math and weird notation very quickly.

u/icecoldmind · 2 pointsr/Physics

In case you're new here. We ( well not me really ) physicists really hate the example of Shrödinger's cat. It's a poor example that only raises questions in the wrong direction. It goes right into the weird type of philosophy that we, as scientists, try to avoid at all costs. If you want to know more about quantum mechanics, which is supposed to be the subject of the so-called Shrödinger's Cat, there are plenty of pop-sci books and YouTube channels. If you want to know the real physics, as in the math, you can try Griffiths ( You need calculus and some algebra ).

u/SingleMonad · 6 pointsr/Physics

For this whole discussion, I'm going to stipulate to the Copenhagen Interpretation and wavefunction collapse. There are alternatives, but you asked specifically about this one.

It depends on the measurement. Say you go to observe a particle in the infinite square well, and you've arranged your observation so that when you look, you only look in the 'right' half of the well (the region L/2 < x < L). Imagine further that the state Ψ0 before measurement is a general superposition of energy eigenstates, with non-zero probability amplitude in both halves. And then you look in the right half, and you don't see the particle. What is the wavefunction now? It can't be a delta function. If it were, where would the delta function peak be?

The answer is contained in an axiom (see chapter III of of Claude Cohen-Tannoudji's Quantum Mechanics, or chapter 4 of Shankar's):
Immediately after measurement, the new wavefunction is Ψ1 = ℙ Ψ0, where ℙ is the projector onto the eigenspace corresponding to the result of your measurement (and in the non-delta function cases, suitably renormalized to unit probability, i.e., so that < Ψ1 | Ψ1 > = 1).

So how does that work for the half-a-box measurement? The operator A for that measurement is something like

A = a ℙL + b ℙR.

A is a sum of two projectors, ℙL for the 'left' side (0<x<L/2), and ℙR for the 'right' (L/2<x<L). The coefficients a and b are the measurement eigenvalues corresponding to the different measurement outcomes. We don't need them, but I included them for completeness. Notice that ℙL+ ℙR is the identity operator. The particle is either in the left or right side, no other possibilities exist. This is in accord with another postulate: that the eigenvectors of any observable form a complete basis of the state space.

This just looks awful right? But don't worry, we're almost there. Because, by the postulate, the new (post-measurement) wave function is

1> = ℙL| Ψ0 >.

How did I get that? We measured that the particle wasn't in the right well. Therefore it must be in the left. Our measurement outcome was "it's in the left well." The projector onto the corresponding eigenspace is ℙL.

Now, what does it look like in position representation? Well first we need the projector
L = ∫0L/2 dx |x> <x|.

Then we need the new wavefunction Ψ1:

| Ψ1 > = ℙL | Ψ0 > = integral dx' from 0 to L/2 of | x' > < x' | Ψ0 >, or

| Ψ1 > = integral dx' from 0 to L/2 of Ψ0(x') |x'>.

Then we need the position representation of Ψ1, which is

Ψ1(x) = < x | Ψ1 > = integral dx' from 0 to L/2 of Ψ0(x') <x|x'>.

Now, <x|x'> is δ(x-x'), i.e. infinite (that special infinity that integrates to 1) when x=x' and 0 otherwise. So we can do this integral! We just get the integrand when the δ function is infinite, and 0 otherwise.

So Ψ1(x) is equal to our starting wavefunction Ψ0(x), so long as x is within range of the integral (0,L/2). If x is outside that range, Ψ1(x) = 0.

Finally(!), let's interpret this. We measured that the particle wasn't in the right side. The post-measurement (collapsed) wavefunction is zero in the right side, but unchanged (except for a renormalization) in the left!

TL;DR: Find the projector corresponding to your measurement outcome. Apply it to your pre-measurement wave function (and maybe do some normalization). That's the post-measurement wave function.

edit: getting thesubscripts right, and maybe the ∫0L/2 dx too.

u/waveman · 1 pointr/Physics

Alternative to Schroeder "An Introduction to Thermal Physics" for self-study?

Overall this is quite a good book but I am trying to use it for self-study and the author refuses to release any answers to the problems. His explanation was that if he releases any answers he cannot later un-release them.

Compounding this, his problems are often multi-stage problems where parts of a problem depend on earlier parts and one problem depends on the result of previous problems. In some cases you have 3 multi-stage problems building upon one another. At some point you realize something went wrong but you have no clue where...

OK lesson learned: For self study you need answers so you can check your understanding. This is just basic learning theory - you need feedback.

I have looked at a few TP books but none have answers for checking eg Kittel Thermal Physics, Blundell "Concepts in Thermal Physics".

He does have an answer book for instructors only.