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Other A module choice between Cosmology and Fluid Mechanics...

  1. Mar 27, 2017 #1
    Hi all,

    I study Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at university. Next year, I'll have a choice between three modules;
    1. Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
    2. Cosmology
    3. Fluid Mechanics
    My main interest is Condensed Matter Physics; therefore, thermodynamics and statistical physics is a given (it always was, as I'm not really convinced that studying physics can be done without a grounding in thermodynamics). Quantum mechanics is compulsory in my course and of course, I already have a grounding in Electromagnetism.

    So... that leaves Cosmology and Fluid Mechanics. I actually cannot, for the life of me, decide which to pick. Perhaps it's because from the small amount I know, they seem to be very similar; both require sophisticated mathematics and deal with vector calculus, which I like. I've been told that fluid mechanics is a lot more useful than cosmology, but that's not even a factor in my decision at the moment.

    Some further details:
    • Fluid mechanics will be taught with much greater mathematical rigour than cosmology; that's great! However, the students I know who're studying cosmology say it's supposed to be more enjoyable.
    • The lecturer for fluid mechanics is very demanding and apparently hard to deal with whilst the lecturer for cosmology is known to be excellent and easy to get along with. I've actually dealt with both before and I think they're both great; I actually like how brutal the fluid mechanics lecturer is. Both are experts in their fields.
    • The modules are undergraduate level, but tensor calculus is used in both. Fluid mechanics is, according to more senior students, apparently much harder than cosmology, but everything is difficult for me and I get through it all the same.
    So, all you physicists and mathematicians on this great forum; would you be so kind as to sell me your favourite of two? What are the pros and cons of either?

    Thank you for reading!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2017 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Go with the friendly Cosmology prof if you're not concerned about applicability or being the one to solve the Navier Stokes million dollar millennial challenge although fluid mechanics could be applied to cosmology at some point.

    However, I think you decided that already.

    You could also read the Frost poem, "The Road Not Taken" for inspiration:

  4. Mar 27, 2017 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    If you are interested in condensed matter you should do fluid mechanics. It's useful for a lot of things/research and the math techniques you learn should be helpful. People have recently been studying hydronamical regimes in strongly interacting metals.
  5. Mar 28, 2017 #4
    Thank you both for the advice! That was a great poem, jedishrfu; I admit I completely misunderstood it at first but with a bit of research, its meaning got through.

    I'll be going with fluid mechanics. From what it looks like? I'm probably going to be one of three people taking the module, but that barely matters. It's not like choosing fluids automatically bans me from ever studying cosmology; I have no qualms studying independently.
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