maths study via The Open University

SM358 books here

My SM358 – quantum mechanics – books have arrived, two looking slightly damaged and one looking quite sorry for itself.

Not sure what happened there.

Will get around to flicking through them tonight.

Until then, I’m pressing them underneath a couple of hundred kilograms of cast iron weights plates to straighten them out.


10 responses

  1. James Williams

    If you need any help with quantum just ask, about to start my project module on quantum entanglement, scary!

    January 24, 2013 at 5:01 PM

  2. Cheers mate. 🙂
    Your project sounds spooky. 😉
    Have cracked open book one of three and it’s not quite what I was expecting.
    Not sure exactly what I was expecting – all the maths is there but it seems sort of wordy if that makes sense.
    It’s all laid out like a “nice” book to read, not some vicious maths text.

    January 24, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    • Chris Finlay

      Yeah well it’s written for physicists not mathematicians. If you want scary maths try Landau and Lifshitz volume 3. Did the maths IMCA last night some of the wording of the questions a bit confusing but got a respectable mark

      Looks like we are in for an interesting 9 months

      January 25, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    • James

      yea that’s exactly what I was getting at when I said you didn’t need to revise any maths for it. The books for quantum are really interesting and not a chore at all to read, which I’m sure will please you. However if you wanted to be challenged mathematically then it’s the wrong subject, the hard part is just getting your head around the crazy world of QM and trying to get away from classical notions.

      Good luck!

      January 25, 2013 at 7:41 PM

  3. Had a quick look through book one – looks pretty straight-forward.
    Pretty happy with the ideas or explanations behind QM – I tend to lie in Chris’ camp with interpretations to be honest.
    Seem to remember Chris doing a long post on his blog ages back about his interpretations. Can’t find it though.
    Any chance of a link Chris mate?
    About to write out TMA 2 for complex analysis, and will then take a week or two out to crack on with revising for these actuarial CT exams – the first couple of which look easy post-M343. 🙂

    January 28, 2013 at 2:38 PM

  4. Will check up on that Landau et al book later, Chris.
    Really difficult to find a stretching text which remains accessible to a third year undergraduate.

    January 28, 2013 at 2:41 PM

  5. Jamie, what does the QE project entail? Some form of dissertation?
    Sounds interesting now I’ve had a think about it. Is it something that can be added on as a “free choice” in the named maths degree?
    Cheers mate.

    January 28, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    • James

      It’s a dissertation, reading lots of scientific journals and presenting your findings, a lot about how you plan and progress as much as about the content.
      Not really my sort of thing, plus I’m doing it alongside my second year practical module and mst326… Plus I now have a second job. A first is looking difficult, need 85% on both mst326 and the project!

      the module code is sxp390

      January 28, 2013 at 7:35 PM

  6. Chris Finlay

    Hi Keith the core of my argument about why I think the so called mysterious aspects of quantum mechanics are not really that mysterious are in these two posts on two state systems

    There I show that one can recast ordinary probability in the language of quantum physics so one write a ‘wave function’ or probability state vector for a coin which via the Born rule then gives the probabilities of a coin being heads or tails. But the probability amplitude is just that a device for generating the correct probabilites. No one says that a coin is in a superposition of the two states heads or tails. And it certainly doesn’t collapse

    In the second part I show that by the extension to complex probability amplitudes one can also then reproduce the key result in the analysis of two state quantum systems namely a sinusoidal dependence on the phase difference between two slightly different possibilities.
    Again this just follows from the maths of complex numbers.

    Ok the question is why we need to revert to complex numbers to account for quantum phenomenon but once we have accepted that the rest follows.

    I’ve recently discovered that there is a whole branch of probability called quantum probablity in which traditional probability theory based purely on real numbers is seen as a subset of quantum theory based on probability applied to complex numbers and gave a recent post about it here

    Hope this helps.

    January 28, 2013 at 9:19 PM

  7. Cheers Chris.
    Have been reading through your blog catching up.
    I really hope this course goes all complex analysis and probability theory in places.

    February 20, 2013 at 12:15 AM

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