Advice on physics course selection

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  • Thread starter jin8
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  • #1
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I'm a physics major in UIUC, and I will be a sophomore next semester. These days I'm considering to take intermediate EM 1(we'll use Griffths), intermediate Mechanics 2(Marion) and quantum mechanics 1(Griffths) for next semester.
Now I just want to know is it possible? I'd like to hear some of you who took EM and quantum shares some thoughts on these courses.
Till now I have great grades in Physics and Math, this semester I took intro EM, Mechanics 1(Marion), vector calculus and abstract linear algebra, and I got all A or A+.
Plus, is complex analysis a must for quantum mechanics? a friend suggests me take complex analysis before quantum and I really can't see why?

Any comments will be appreciated..
Thanks
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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My friend is a physics major at UIUC, so I'll ask him about the particular courses you guys have. As for complex analysis, I wouldn't recommend taking it unless you want to. In 20 weeks of quantum I encountered complex analysis once, in doing a particular integral. If you're interested, by all means take complex analysis, but I wouldn't say it will be all that helpful in your class.
 
  • #3
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Thanks a lot.. Actually I love math and will definitely take complex analysis before graduation. But the thing is I have to take real analysis before complex analysis, it is a prerequisite in our math department.
 
  • #4
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From my friend:
"do take complex analysis before quantum. It's an easy A for someone who's good at math and physics. If you are getting or have gotten an A in Mechanics 1, it may be ok to take quantum 1, EM 1 and mechanics 2, but don't take any 4th course that may be demanding in any way at the same time. Also, pay attention to professors: put off EM if it's being taught by Munir Nayfeh--take it with James Wiss instead."

I'm glad to hear that you plan to take complex analysis eventually, since I think it's extremely fun. And it makes sense that real analysis would come first, but I'm willing to bet you'll enjoy that too.

Anyway, good luck with choosing your classes
 
  • #5
Also to add to jdougherty's advice on maths: if possible take a BVP (Boundary Value Problem) course in math (note: I think they are sometimes billed as Partial Differential Equations courses).

I didn't take complex analysis until after QM and performed fine... but I did have a BVP class that included wave and standing wave solutions in my tool belt.
 
  • #6
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Oh, physics girl phd makes a good point. My school doesn't have a PDE class for physics majors (we're expected to just pick it up along the way, I guess), but if you have access to a class on Diff. Eq's then I would second that recommendation.
 
  • #7
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Oh, thank you so much...
It's unfortunate that next semester's intermediate EM will be taught by Munir Nayfeh..
I plan to take real analysis and ODE along with my 3 physics courses, and I probably can't take complex analysis or PDE next semester since they conflict with my physics classes.

These days I'm waiting for my application result of General Relativity REU program, I think the chance of getting in is just like winning a lottery or something :P
If they reject me, then I will go to Berkeley and pick up some summer courses, and probably self-study some math I hope...

Thanks a lot, your and your friend's advice really helps..
 
  • #8
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Thanks.. Oh.. PDE..
The thing is, I even didn't take ODE yet..
But I think my background is a little different since I'm an international student from China.
In high school I didn't learn any calculus or beyond, however, I was in Math Olympiad class and have won several national and provincial awards on math competitoins.
So usually I can learn math pretty fast.
Actually I should take Diff. Eq this semester, but I somehow want to defer it to next semester so I can take the proof-oriented ODE class instead of the class designed for Engineering students.
 

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