A question to physicists: Should I have an advanced level of mathematics?

In summary, the individual is a university student graduating with a major in law, but has a passion for physics and hopes to pursue a degree in the field, specifically in astrophysics. They inquire about the necessary level of mathematics for this career path and are advised that advanced mathematics is crucial, including calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, and more. Additionally, the possibility of becoming a physicist or mathematician without prior interest or skill in the field is considered to be rare. The individual is given advice to study Special Relativity as a starting point for pursuing their dream.
  • #1
N2020Ar
4
1
Hi there.

I'd like to ask you, educated folk, a question.
I'm graduating from university next summer. My major is the law.
Although, all the time I keep some kind of passion for physics. Even though I am not a techie. I realize that I graduated as a dummy in math, physics, and chemistry due to my teachers. They're good at their business but not at teaching.

I have one year of more or less spare time. And I decided to dedicate myself to something new. I would really like to try to submit for a physics major at some university. I would like to employ myself in the space industry. Or maybe astrophysics. It's my dream.

The question is. In order to become a physicist/astrophysicist, should I have an advanced level of mathematics?

*Excuse me for my English. It is not my native language.
 
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  • #2
N2020Ar said:
The question is. In order to become a physicist/astrophysicist, should I have an advanced level of mathematics?

Yes. A large part of modern physics is applied mathematics. Astrophysics is perhaps the most competitive area (if you look on this forum everyone wants to be an astrophysicist) so you'll need a good PhD.
 
  • #3
PeroK said:
A large part of modern physics is applied mathematics.

Do we can single out some subset of mathematics which is especially applied in physics?
 
  • #4
N2020Ar said:
Do we can single out some subset of mathematics which is especially applied in physics?
Calculus, vector calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, complex numbers and some complex analysis. For astrophysics you would need differential geometry and tensor analysis (for GR). Probability and statistics would be useful. Plus a whole bunch of mathematical methods: Fourier Analysis, Laplace Transforms etc.
 
  • #5
PeroK said:
Calculus, vector calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, complex numbers and some complex analysis. For astrophysics you would need differential geometry and tensor analysis (for GR). Probability and statistics would be useful. Plus a whole bunch of mathematical methods: Fourier Analysis, Laplace Transforms etc.
Thanks for your answer. I'll keep it in mind, that's exactly what i need.
One more question. Is it ever possible to meet a person who became a physicist or a mathematician not being a techie before?
 
  • #6
N2020Ar said:
Thanks for your answer. I'll keep it in mind, that's exactly what i need.
One more question. Is it ever possible to meet a person who became a physicist or a mathematician not being a techie before?
I suspect they are few and far between. Like musicians who had no interest in music as a child. Maybe it happens.

If you want some serious advice: teach yourself Special Relativity (it doesn't need much maths). If you can do that you've got a chance.

http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~djmorin/Relativity Chap 1.pdf

Or:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6453378-special-relativity
 
  • #7
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Related to A question to physicists: Should I have an advanced level of mathematics?

1. What level of mathematics is considered advanced for a physicist?

The level of mathematics required for a physicist depends on the specific field of study and research. Generally, a strong foundation in calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations is considered essential. In addition, knowledge of advanced topics such as group theory, complex analysis, and partial differential equations may also be necessary.

2. Why is an advanced level of mathematics important for physicists?

Mathematics is the language of physics. It provides the tools and techniques necessary to understand and describe the complex phenomena of the physical world. Without a strong mathematical background, it would be difficult to develop theories and models that accurately explain and predict the behavior of physical systems.

3. Can someone become a successful physicist without advanced mathematics?

While a strong grasp of mathematics is crucial for success in physics, it is not the only factor. Creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills are also important qualities for a physicist. However, without a solid understanding of advanced mathematics, it may be challenging to fully comprehend and contribute to the field.

4. How can I improve my mathematical skills for physics?

The best way to improve your mathematical skills for physics is through practice. Work through problems and exercises in your textbooks, attend lectures and workshops, and seek help from professors or tutors if needed. Additionally, reading books and articles on mathematical methods in physics can also be helpful.

5. Is it ever too late to learn advanced mathematics for physics?

No, it is never too late to learn. While it may be more challenging to learn advanced mathematics at a later stage in life, it is certainly possible with dedication and hard work. Many successful physicists have started their mathematical training later in life and have still made significant contributions to the field.

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