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Courses Advice on physics course selection

  1. Mar 17, 2009 #1
    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..
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2009 #2
    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.
  4. Mar 18, 2009 #3
    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.
  5. Mar 18, 2009 #4
    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
  6. Mar 18, 2009 #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.
  7. Mar 18, 2009 #6
    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.
  8. Mar 18, 2009 #7
    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..
  9. Mar 18, 2009 #8
    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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