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  1. What topics do I need to study (in order) so that I can study electromagnetics on the quantum scale?

  2. What is the name of the discipline studying electromagnetism on the quantum scale?

  3. Do I need to know nuclear physics?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Qmechanic Dec 21 '14 at 21:59

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Seems you're looking for Quantum electrodynamics (usually abbreviated as QED). $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 21 '14 at 21:38
  • $\begingroup$ AS well as the link Kyle gave you, see the Quantization of the electromagnetic field Wiki article for a brief "flavour" of the quantum field. That article is essentially Dirac's legacy and is the "field" side of the topic "quantum optics". Lagrangian mechanics is also a must for making the "quantum optics" / Dirac legacy, which grounded on Hamiltonian mechanics, fully relativistic. History topics IMO are helpful to make the "quantization procedures" seem less arcane. $\endgroup$ – WetSavannaAnimal Dec 21 '14 at 22:07
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Starting from scratch I would propose an order of topics to study as follows:

  • Kinematics (motion)
  • Dynamics (forces)
  • Rotational kinematics and dynamics
  • Collisions (momentum and impulse)
  • Vibrations and waves
  • Thermodynamics
  • Electricity (DC)
  • Electricity (AC)
  • Magnetic fields and forces
  • Electromagnetic waves
  • Light (optics, photons)
  • Quantum mechanics

Nuclear physics and all about atoms and molecules are good topics to continue with from here. But not necessary to get the hang of electromagnetism.

Get a book like University Physics by Young & Freedman. It is pedagogical gold for an eager physics student.

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