Let’s Learn Quantum Mechanics: Week One Update

Last Monday, I announced a new ultralearning project: trying to get a good grasp of the physics behind quantum mechanics. In particular, I decided to try to tackle MIT’s 8.04 – Quantum Physics I, similarly to how I tackled other MIT classes during the MIT Challenge.

As an experiment, I decided to try livestreaming the entire project. Every lecture I watch, problem set I do, Feynman Technique I try and frustration I encounter is all happening live on camera:

How the First Week Went

In terms of the class content itself, the first week went fairly well. There are 24 lectures and 10 problem sets. By the end of the first week, I have gotten through the first 10 lectures and 4 problem sets.

The pace, however, shouldn’t imply I’ve been finding the class easy. Most of the problem set questions have stumped me without getting hints back-and-forth from the solutions, so it’s clear there’s still a lot of work to be done.

In particular, my prerequisite classes are either missing (I didn’t do 8.03) or rusty (I did do 8.01, 8.02, 18.01, 18.02 and 18.03, but almost eight years ago). So there’s be a simultaneous difficulty of managing the hard QM content, along with refamiliarizing myself with a lot of hard math techniques.

Despite those difficulties, I still think I’ll make good progress towards my eventual goal (a strong intuition about the basics of QM) by the end of the month.

While the class itself has had ups and downs, livestreaming has been much easier than I thought it would be. Part of the motivation for doing this project was to test out the process of livestreaming a challenge where I understand the learning process fairly well.

My Progress So Far…

Day One

Day Two

  • Spent the whole day (morning and afternoon) watching lectures. (Up to lecture 8).

Day Three

  • Spent morning to finish up to lecture 10.
  • Spent afternoon working on problem set one.

Day Four

  • Finished up to end of problem set two.

Day Five

AS SEEN IN