What we're about

This is a group for anyone who has ever rigorously studied physics or has wanted to. If you want to deeply understand the universe at its smallest and largest scales, you've found the right place.

For many of us physics is the most interesting, most difficult subject that exists. Because it's hard to learn by yourself, we made this group to do it together.

Join us to participate in lively discussions, attend fascinating talks, and learn core material in serious study groups. Everyone is welcome from every level of experience.

Upcoming events (4+)

Study & Discuss Relativity

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Just in time for the recent reveal of the Milky Way's central black hole! We are starting a recurring discussion & study group for the theory of relativity, both special and general.

(Note the start time of 4pm. We are experimenting with this earlier start time for our international friends.)

This is a casual, open-ended meetup with no specific agenda, timeline, or textbook. Some of us are reading through Guidry’s Modern General Relativity (https://www.cambridge.org/highereducation/books/modern-general-relativity/B2B02366754534313F559F30E6C86B9C) and others are using their own favorite books. Our overall hope is to exchange the bits & pieces that we know with one another and to discuss & try to find answers to our questions using whatever methods we want.

We also maintain a live chat server for staying in touch between meetups. Ask us for a link.

This event joins our other existing collaborative study tracks. Please note that this particular meetup series is a highly mathematical meetup for everyone who is serious about learning the advanced branches of math and physics that one needs to master in order to deeply understand the equations and applications of relativity. It is not a general discussion group for popular physics topics or sci-fi tangents. For casual physics chat, please attend our regular "Physics Discussion Group" event, held every third Wednesday of the month.

Penrose "Road to Reality" Chapter 22 cont'd: Quantum algebra, geometry, and spin

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Topic for July 2022: Quantum algebra, geometry, and spin (Chapter 22)

Continuing last month's discussion of Penrose's high-level overview of quantum mechanics, we will focus this month on the essential mathematical formalism and physical ideas that we'll need in order to understand the most exciting parts of the book in Chapters 23 and beyond.

You do NOT need to read any of the preceding chapters to participate! As with the rest of the book, you're not expected to understand everything you read, but instead merely to be exposed to the concepts. This book is a roadmap to reality, not the whole roadtrip!

It is highly recommended (as it always is the case with Penrose) to read complementary material to help your comprehension. In particular, you're encouraged to review Hamiltonian mechanics the Schrödinger equation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schrödinger_equation).

In addition, you're highly encouraged to attend our biweekly quantum mechanics study groups (June 3, June 17, July 1) since we're covering very relevant subjects.

Join us on the first Wednesday of every month for an open-ended casual discussion with our book club for Roger Penrose's "The Road to Reality," the magnum opus of one of the greatest theoretical physicists of our time. In a single volume, Penrose takes the reader from basic mathematical and logical arguments through advanced math and then onto modern physics, relativity, quantum theory, and beyond.

Please have access to a copy of the book and have read at least one chapter prior to attending. We would like to keep this meetup focused on making forward progress in the material. However, no specific reading or homework is assigned. We support each other to go at whatever pace is comfortable and we discuss material that we find interesting or challenging. Those of us who want to work on the problem sets can help one another. Sometimes someone will want to make a mini-presentation on a topic of their liking.

All meetings are conducted over Zoom. We also maintain a private chat room for those who want to stay in touch between meetings.

Differential Geometry Study Group

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Suggested homework for this week: See our running list of shared problems at the bottom of this event description. Everyone goes at their own pace; read up to whichever chapter you want and feel free to try the problems.

Differential geometry plays a central role in many of the most important branches of physics, including general relativity, electromagnetism, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, and quantum field theory. It is a broad discipline with many subbranches that are undergoing active research. For these reasons and more, there is a very high reward to be had in mastering the subject.

Hot off the presses in July 2021 is the new book, "Visual Differential Geometry and Forms," by Tristan Needham, author of the seminal "Visual Complex Analysis." Needham is a gifted teacher who regularly exposes concepts in entirely novel and illuminating ways. As a bonus, his works are heavily referenced in Penrose's "Road To Reality," which we are also currently reading in our meetup group (first Wednesday of each month).

We've started a study group for VDGF. The format is open-ended and the pace is casual: We spend an average of three meetings covering a chapter's worth of material and problems. We sometimes suggest specific problems (found at the end of each of the 5 "Acts" in the book) but encourage everyone to solve the problems which interest them and then discuss during the meeting.

As with our other meetups, in addition to the Zoom video calls, we maintain an online collaboration & resource-sharing community for staying in touch between events. Anyone interested can get information at the meeting.

If you don't yet have the book or haven't read the chapters for this week, don't worry! You are welcome to join us and participate. Everybody goes at their own pace. If you are just starting out, you are strongly encouraged to speak up at the meetings and ask questions about the early book material; going back to earlier chapters helps all of us solidify core concepts in our minds even as we go on to more advanced topics.

Running list of suggested problems for each chapter:

Act I (problems in Chapter 3)
- 1 or 2 or 3; 5; 6; 8; 14
- Use 3D graphing software, a 3D printer, a bowl of fruit, or any other visual aid to get a gut feeling about geodesics and Gaussian curvature.

Act II (problems in Chapter 7)
- Chapter 4: 1, 4, 10, 13
- Chapter 5: 15, 16, 17, 18
- Chapter 6: 27, 28

Act III (problems in Chapter 20)
- Chapter 8: 1
- Chapter 9: 2, 4

Basic and Advanced Quantum Mechanics (dual tracks)

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Attention Schrödinger & Heisenberg fans! Have you misplaced your wavefunctions and eigenvalues or never learned how to find them in the first place? Then join us for a biweekly study group to learn (or re-learn) quantum mechanics!

This is a "choose-your-own-adventure"-style event. You can join one of two "tracks" of study based on your level of experience and ability to commit time:

– The "Basic" track will study Leonard Susskind & Art Friedman's "Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum" with additional material pulled from David Griffiths' "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics" for those that want to go deeper.

– The "Advanced" track will study J.J. Sakurai's "Modern Quantum Mechanics" (Note: When reading, take note of the errata https://phys.cst.temple.edu/~tuf43817/ErrataSecondPrinting.pdf.)

Both tracks will run concurrently on the SAME Zoom meeting at the SAME time. Once you join the meeting, you will be able to select a breakout room for the track of your choice. (If you join the meeting late and don't see anybody there, make sure to look for the option to select a breakout room!)

We also maintain a live chat server for staying in touch between meetups. Ask us for a link.

This event joins our other existing collaborative study tracks. Please note that this particular meetup series is a serious study group for math and physics enthusiasts who are interested in learning the material deeply. It is not a general discussion group. For casual physics chat, please attend our regular "Physics Discussion Group" event, held every third Wednesday of the month.

Past events (180)

Basic and Advanced Quantum Mechanics (dual tracks)

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