Quantum Mechanics/engineering

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isiaiah d
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#1
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#1
Is there much quantum mechanics in a general or chemical engineering degree?
Im unsure as to whether to write it in my PS?
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Smack
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#2
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#2
(Original post by isiaiah d)
Is there much quantum mechanics in a general or chemical engineering degree?
Im unsure as to whether to write it in my PS?
I wouldn't imagine so, seems much more of a physics topic than an engineering one.
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isiaiah d
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#3
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#3
(Original post by Smack)
I wouldn't imagine so, seems much more of a physics topic than an engineering one.
so would you say I shouldn't learn about it? I thought it might be in mechanical engineering
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Smack
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#4
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(Original post by isiaiah d)
so would you say I shouldn't learn about it? I thought it might be in mechanical engineering
I studied mechanical engineering and it was not in the syllabus, and I'm struggling to see its relevance.

But I'm certainly not going to say you shouldn't learn about it because learning about things is good (and I must also confess to having purchased a book about quamtum mechanics myself, after having watched some interesting BBC 4 programmes about it, although I have not started to read it yet). You should be learning about new things to expand your mind - science, music, philosophy, art, history ... you're not just limited to learning what's going to come up during your studies. It's just that I don't see quantum mechanics being relevant or specifically useful to (mechanical) engineering.
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artful_lounger
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#5
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Materials Science/Engineering will probably cover a little bit. You might cover some vague aspects on an EE course including more detailed semiconductor or optoelectonics sections. You'll naturally cover it in a Nuclear Engineering course, although as far as I'm aware there are only 2 or 3 single honours Nuclear Engineering courses and the others are joint courses in Materials/Chemical Engineering (and only about 2-3 more of those besides). Some aspects might be sort of covered in a Chemical Engineering course; if they extend the thermodynamics treatment to more formal statistical mechanics (which usually isn't a core part of the course, but not infrequently an option) then it's likely you'll learn some basic ideas of quantum phenomena as it's relevant (as well as the very basic quantum chemistry needed to understand reaction mechanisms, bonding etc, although this is largely A-level material).

Quantum Mechanics is the mechanics of "things" on the quantum scale - i.e. atoms, molecules etc. Mechanical Engineers do not deal with anything on that scale, unless they are heavily on the materials side perhaps. The only thing they cover on that scale is considered either in a thermodynamics frame or continuum mechanics, which both generally consider the aggregate behaviour which gets modelled classically as a result, except for the more advanced research which will consider multiphysics models where the classical modelling stops working - this is usually beyond the scope of an undergraduate course in MechE (although not in Materials or Chemical Engineering, necessarily).

Unless you take it as an outside option, you won't cover it in MechE, CivE in any routine fashion, and I'd be surprised if it's available otherwise anyway. One thing which sort of overlaps that you will likely cover in a MechE course is analytical dynamics - specifically if you cover Hamiltonian formulations, these actually have some pretty deep links to quantum mechanics and the same concepts get used in that reference. You won't be solving any specific quantum problems but you'll be covering some of the same/similar mathematical methods someone might use in solving a quantum mechanics problem.

In general at undergraduate degree level, quantum is primarily the realm of Physics courses. It does come up in other courses, sometimes as a matter of course (e.g. Chemistry, Materials) and sometimes depending on the teaching options available (e.g. Maths), but by and large if you want to learn all the gory detail of it you want to be doing Physics (or those Mathematics degrees with a great deal of theoretical physics/applied mathematics options, e.g. Cambridge, Durham, KC etcL; alternately those that allow you to take quantum modules from the Physics departments, e.g. Warwick and UCL among others).
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isiaiah d
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#6
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(Original post by Smack)
I studied mechanical engineering and it was not in the syllabus, and I'm struggling to see its relevance.

But I'm certainly not going to say you shouldn't learn about it because learning about things is good (and I must also confess to having purchased a book about quamtum mechanics myself, after having watched some interesting BBC 4 programmes about it, although I have not started to read it yet). You should be learning about new things to expand your mind - science, music, philosophy, art, history ... you're not just limited to learning what's going to come up during your studies. It's just that I don't see quantum mechanics being relevant or specifically useful to (mechanical) engineering.
Thanks, I Guess I'll still read it then because I am interrested and the maths in there should be good preparation too. Do you just think I should not mention it in my PS/Interview unless I'm talking about the maths in the book?
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Smack
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#7
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#7
(Original post by isiaiah d)
Thanks, I Guess I'll still read it then because I am interrested and the maths in there should be good preparation too. Do you just think I should not mention it in my PS/Interview unless I'm talking about the maths in the book?
Your grades are much more important than your PS for engineering, and I believe only very few universities interview. Whether you do or don't mention quantum mechanics on your PS probably won't really make much difference.
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Helloworld_95
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#8
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Quantum engineering is very much a graduate level topic. The only time I've seen it come up in a university setting is the Doctoral Training Centre at Imperial, UCL, and Bristol. Be aware that you need to have a very strong background with high grades (mid 70s) and UK/EU residency to get into these programs, though it doesn't necessarily have to be a relevant background, physics, maths, or any kind of engineering should be ok.
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