Mathematics might be more of an environmental science than we realize. Even though it is a search for eternal truths, many mathematical concepts trace their origins to everyday experience. Astrology and architecture inspired Egyptians and Babylonians to develop geometry. The study of mechanics during the scientific revolution of the 17th century brought us calculus.
Remarkably, ideas from quantum theory turn out to carry tremendous mathematical power as well, even though we have little daily experience dealing with elementary particles.
The bizarre world of quantum theory — where things can seem to be in two places at the same time and are subject to the laws of probability — not only represents a more fundamental description of nature than what preceded it, it also provides a rich context for modern mathematics. There is of course a long-standing and intimate relationship between mathematics and physics. But the book cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and read the letters in which it is composed.
It is written in the language of mathematics. But these days we seem to be witnessing the reverse: the unreasonable effectiveness of quantum theory in modern mathematics.
Ideas that originate in particle physics have an uncanny tendency to appear in the most diverse mathematical fields. This is especially true for string theory. Its stimulating influence in mathematics will have a lasting and rewarding impactwhatever its final role in fundamental physics turns out to be. The number of disciplines that it touches is dizzying: analysis, geometry, algebra, topology, representation theory, combinatorics, probability — the list goes on and on.
One starts to feel sorry for the poor students who have to learn all this! What could be the underlying reason for this unreasonable effectiveness of quantum theory? In my view, it is closely connected to the fact that in the quantum world everything that can happen does happen. In a very schematic way, classical mechanics tries to compute how a particle travels from A to B. For example, the preferred path could be along a geodesic — a path of minimal length in a curved space.
In quantum mechanics one considers instead the collection of all possible paths from A to Bhowever long and convoluted.
The laws of physics will then assign to each path a certain weight that determines the probability that a particle will move along that particular trajectory. So, in a natural way, quantum physics studies the set of all paths, as a weighted ensemble, allowing us to sum over all possibilities. A striking example of the magic of quantum theory is mirror symmetry — a truly astonishing equivalence of spaces that has revolutionized geometry.The mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics are those mathematical formalisms that permit a rigorous description of quantum mechanics.
This mathematical formalism uses mainly a part of functional analysisespecially Hilbert space which is a kind of linear space. Such are distinguished from mathematical formalisms for physics theories developed prior to the early s by the use of abstract mathematical structures, such as infinite-dimensional Hilbert spaces L2 space mainlyand operators on these spaces. In brief, values of physical observables such as energy and momentum were no longer considered as values of functions on phase spacebut as eigenvalues ; more precisely as spectral values of linear operators in Hilbert space.
These formulations of quantum mechanics continue to be used today. At the heart of the description are ideas of quantum state and quantum observables which are radically different from those used in previous models of physical reality.
While the mathematics permits calculation of many quantities that can be measured experimentally, there is a definite theoretical limit to values that can be simultaneously measured. This limitation was first elucidated by Heisenberg through a thought experimentand is represented mathematically in the new formalism by the non-commutativity of operators representing quantum observables. Prior to the development of quantum mechanics as a separate theorythe mathematics used in physics consisted mainly of formal mathematical analysisbeginning with calculusand increasing in complexity up to differential geometry and partial differential equations.
Probability theory was used in statistical mechanics. Geometric intuition played a strong role in the first two and, accordingly, theories of relativity were formulated entirely in terms of differential geometric concepts. The phenomenology of quantum physics arose roughly between andand for the 10 to 15 years before the development of quantum theory around physicists continued to think of quantum theory within the confines of what is now called classical physicsand in particular within the same mathematical structures.
The most sophisticated example of this is the Sommerfeld—Wilson—Ishiwara quantization rule, which was formulated entirely on the classical phase space. In the s, Planck was able to derive the blackbody spectrum which was later used to avoid the classical ultraviolet catastrophe by making the unorthodox assumption that, in the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with matterenergy could only be exchanged in discrete units which he called quanta.
Planck postulated a direct proportionality between the frequency of radiation and the quantum of energy at that frequency. The proportionality constant, his now called Planck's constant in his honor.
InEinstein explained certain features of the photoelectric effect by assuming that Planck's energy quanta were actual particles, which were later dubbed photons. All of these developments were phenomenological and challenged the theoretical physics of the time. Bohr and Sommerfeld went on to modify classical mechanics in an attempt to deduce the Bohr model from first principles. They proposed that, of all closed classical orbits traced by a mechanical system in its phase spaceonly the ones that enclosed an area which was a multiple of Planck's constant were actually allowed.
The most sophisticated version of this formalism was the so-called Sommerfeld—Wilson—Ishiwara quantization. Although the Bohr model of the hydrogen atom could be explained in this way, the spectrum of the helium atom classically an unsolvable 3-body problem could not be predicted. The mathematical status of quantum theory remained uncertain for some time. In de Broglie proposed that wave—particle duality applied not only to photons but to electrons and every other physical system.Quantum Mechanics Concepts: 1 Dirac Notation and Photon Polarisation
The physical interpretation of the theory was also clarified in these years after Werner Heisenberg discovered the uncertainty relations and Niels Bohr introduced the idea of complementarity. Werner Heisenberg 's matrix mechanics was the first successful attempt at replicating the observed quantization of atomic spectra. Within a year, it was shown that the two theories were equivalent. It was Max Born who introduced the interpretation of the absolute square of the wave function as the probability distribution of the position of a pointlike object.
Born's idea was soon taken over by Niels Bohr in Copenhagen who then became the "father" of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. The correspondence to classical mechanics was even more explicit, although somewhat more formal, in Heisenberg's matrix mechanics. In his PhD thesis project, Paul Dirac  discovered that the equation for the operators in the Heisenberg representationas it is now called, closely translates to classical equations for the dynamics of certain quantities in the Hamiltonian formalism of classical mechanics, when one expresses them through Poisson bracketsa procedure now known as canonical quantization.
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It only takes a minute to sign up. I do have math knowledge but I must say, currently, kind of a poor one.
I did a basic introductory course in Calculus, Linear algebra and Probability Theory. Perhaps you could suggest some books I have to go through before I can start with QM? I depends on the book you've chosen to read.
But usually some basics in Calculus, Linear Algebra, Differential equations and Probability theory is enough. For example, if you start with Griffiths' Introduction to Quantum Mechanicsthe author kindly provides you with the review of Linear Algebra in the Appendix as well as with some basic tips on probability theory in the beginning of the first Chapter.
Also, some special functions like Legendre polynomials, Spherical Harmonics, etc will pop up in due course. But, again, in introductory book, such as Griffiths' book, these things are explained in detail, so there should be no problems for you if you're careful reader. This book is one of the best to start with. You don't need any probability: the probability used in QM is so basic that you pick it up just from common sense. QM seems to use functional analysis, i. It would be nice if you had taken a course in ODE but the truth is, most ODE courses these days don't do the only topic you need in QM, which is the Frobenius theory for eq.
Review it. I suggest using Dirac's book on QM! It uses very little maths, and a lot of physical insight. It does the basics pretty well. Griffith's would be the next logical step. After that there is Shankar.
PS:I dont have any physics and math background except a few basics. You'll see the math there, but you'll need to do the deep background studies on all the math from Chapter 2.
Sign up to join this community. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top. Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. What is the math knowledge necessary for starting Quantum Mechanics? Ask Question. Asked 8 years, 11 months ago. Active 5 years ago. Viewed 82k times. SE question: math. You can learn quantum mechanics with nothing more than junior high school algebra; you just won't be learning it at the same level of mathematical depth and sophistication.
Active Oldest Votes. This was the one I was taught with and it provided an excellent starting point.
Relationship between mathematics and physics
You need linear algebra, but sometimes it is reviewed in the book itself or an appendix. I would recommend learning matrix mechanics, which is reviewed quickly on Wikipedia. The prerequisite is Fourier transforms. When it was proved that parity was violated, someone asked him what he thought about that.The relationship between mathematics and physics has been a subject of study of philosophersmathematicians and physicists since Antiquityand more recently also by historians and educators.
In his work Physicsone of the topics treated by Aristotle is about how the study carried out by mathematicians differs from that carried out by physicists. Before giving a mathematical proof for the formula for the volume of a sphereArchimedes used physical reasoning to discover the solution imagining the balancing of bodies on a scale.
The current situation is that the mathematical knowledge used in physics is becoming increasingly sophisticated, as in the case of superstring theory.
Quantum Questions Inspire New Math
Some of the problems considered in the philosophy of mathematics are the following:. In recent times the two disciplines have most often been taught separately, despite all the interrelations between physics and mathematics. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Relationship between mathematics and physics. Buchwald; Robert Fox 10 October The Oxford Handbook of the History of Physics. OUP Oxford.
World Scientific. Essentials of Physics. PHI Learning Pvt. International Congress of Mathematicians. Archived from the original PDF on Aristotle: the desire to understand Repr. Cambridge [u. King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. Retrieved 13 June Scientific Discovery: Logic and Tinkering. SUNY Press. Bibcode : ehmj.
Newton Harvard University Press.Add to Wishlist. By: Frederick W. Byron, Jr. Book Reg. Product Description Product Details This textbook is designed to complement graduate-level physics texts in classical mechanics, electricity, magnetism, and quantum mechanics. Organized around the central concept of a vector space, the book includes numerous physical applications in the body of the text as well as many problems of a physical nature.
It is also one of the purposes of this book to introduce the physicist to the language and style of mathematics as well as the content of those particular subjects with contemporary relevance in physics. Chapters 1 and 2 are devoted to the mathematics of classical physics. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 — the backbone of the book — cover the theory of vector spaces.
Chapter 6 covers analytic function theory. In chapters 7, 8, and 9 the authors take up several important techniques of theoretical physics — the Green's function method of solving differential and partial differential equations, and the theory of integral equations. Chapter 10 introduces the theory of groups.
Mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics
The authors have included a large selection of problems at the end of each chapter, some illustrating or extending mathematical points, others stressing physical application of techniques developed in the text. Essentially self-contained, the book assumes only the standard undergraduate preparation in physics and mathematics, i.
The text may be easily adapted for a one-semester course at the graduate or advanced undergraduate level. Mathematical Analysis of Physical Problems. Partial Differential Equations of Mathematical Physics. Equations of Mathematical Physics. Classical Mechanics: 2nd Edition. Lectures on Gas Theory. Mathematics for Physicists. Magnetism and Transition Metal Complexes.
Condensed Matter Physics. Concepts of Force. Relativistic Quantum Fields. Topology and Geometry for Physicists. Advanced Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists. A Survey of Physical Theory. Detonation: Theory and Experiment. Introduction to Mathematical Fluid Dynamics. The Classical Electromagnetic Field.
Optical Processes in Semiconductors. Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge. Concepts of Mass in Classical and Modern Physics. Theoretical Nuclear Physics. Foundations of Potential Theory.Since the beginning, Quantum Physics has been very tightly connected with Mathematics, a link further strengthened by the subsequent developments of Quantum Field Theory and Particle Physics, of General Relativity - both classical and quantum - and Astrophysics, of Many Body Theory and Solid State Physics, up to Quantum Information and its possible applications to quantum computers.
The aim of the conference is to present the most recent aspects of research in these fields through the talks of the most known and active international researchers involved in them. There will also be some public lectures Alain ConnesNoam D.
ElkiesWe shall also celebrate the 60th birthday of our friend and colleague Roberto Longo. De ConciniA. De SoleS.
DoplicherG. GallavottiA. GiulianiT. IsolaG. Jona-LasinioG. MorsellaG. PiacitelliG. July 8 - 12, Mathematics and Quantum Physics Roma, Accademia dei Lincei Since the beginning, Quantum Physics has been very tightly connected with Mathematics, a link further strengthened by the subsequent developments of Quantum Field Theory and Particle Physics, of General Relativity - both classical and quantum - and Astrophysics, of Many Body Theory and Solid State Physics, up to Quantum Information and its possible applications to quantum computers.
Invited Speakers: D. Bahns D. Buchholz S. Carpi A. Connes J. Cuntz S. Doplicher R. Haag M. Izumi V. Kac Y.If numbers cannot have infinite strings of digits, then the future can never be perfectly preordained. Strangely, although we feel as if we sweep through time on the knife-edge between the fixed past and the open future, that edge — the present — appears nowhere in the existing laws of physics.
The timeless, pre-determined view of reality held by Einstein remains popular today. Physicists who think carefully about time point to troubles posed by quantum mechanics, the laws describing the probabilistic behavior of particles. At the quantum scale, irreversible changes occur that distinguish the past from the future: A particle maintains simultaneous quantum states until you measure it, at which point the particle adopts one of the states.
Mysteriously, individual measurement outcomes are random and unpredictable, even as particle behavior collectively follows statistical patterns. This apparent inconsistency between the nature of time in quantum mechanics and the way it functions in relativity has created uncertainty and confusion. Over the past year, the Swiss physicist Nicolas Gisin has published four papers that attempt to dispel the fog surrounding time in physics.
As Gisin sees it, the problem all along has been mathematical. Gisin argues that time in general and the time we call the present are easily expressed in a century-old mathematical language called intuitionist mathematics, which rejects the existence of numbers with infinitely many digits.
If numbers are finite and limited in their precision, then nature itself is inherently imprecise, and thus unpredictable. Gisin, 67, is primarily an experimenter. He runs a lab at the University of Geneva that has performed groundbreaking experiments in quantum communication and quantum cryptography. But he is also the rare crossover physicist who is known for important theoretical insights, especially ones involving quantum chance and nonlocality.
On Sunday mornings, in lieu of church, Gisin makes a habit of sitting quietly in his chair at home with a mug of oolong tea and contemplating deep conceptual puzzles.
Consider the weather. Now expand this idea to the entire universe. In a predetermined world in which time only seems to unfold, exactly what will happen for all time actually had to be set from the start, with the initial state of every single particle encoded with infinitely many digits of precision.
Otherwise there would be a time in the far future when the clockwork universe itself would break down. But information is physical. Modern research shows it requires energy and occupies space.
Any volume of space is known to have a finite information capacity with the densest possible information storage happening inside black holes.