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As a physicist, should I boder about mathematics proofs/demonstrations

  1. Jun 1, 2013 #1
    As an aspiring theretical physiciat, besides the general concept and its applications, as well as proficiency at dealing with a certain mathematical ''thing'' (identities, properties, theorems, techniques...) should I focus too on the demonstrations, proofs or I just have to take them from granted and apply them like tools?
     
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  3. Jun 1, 2013 #2
  4. Jun 1, 2013 #3

    WannabeNewton

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    You never have to take anything for granted. If you don't want to take something for granted then you can very well learn the relevant mathematics from a math text and see all the proofs. You should never take something for granted if you don't want to.
     
  5. Jun 1, 2013 #4

    tiny-tim

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    Hi MadAtom! :smile:
    As a theoretical physicist, if you want to make any new discoveries then yes you need to know what's possible, so you need to understand all those pernickety conditions at the start of maths proofs, and why they're necessary.

    (of course, if you only want to make old discoveries … like people who try to predict the past … then it doesn't matter! :wink:)
     
  6. Jun 1, 2013 #5

    phinds

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    Uh ... you might want to "boder" a bit about English, else you're going to have problems writing papers.
     
  7. Jun 1, 2013 #6
    I always feel bad about myself when I do it... Thank you all.
     
  8. Jun 1, 2013 #7
    Sorry for that. English is not my main language...
     
  9. Jun 1, 2013 #8

    SteamKing

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    That's OK. We thought you might have a cold.
     
  10. Jun 1, 2013 #9
    you dont need to bother too much about all of them but you need to atleast know how to prove them if you have to. having some kind of intuitive feel for how something can be proved or why something should be true also helps.
     
  11. Jun 2, 2013 #10
    I think basic proficiency in proof writing is a great skill to have for a theoretical physicist. You probably won't be doing many proofs in advanced theoretical physics, but things can get quite mathy and I can't imagine proceeding very far with a good understanding unless one has a good amount of "mathematical maturity", which proof-writing courses develop. Of course proofs and mathematical maturity are extremely important (from what I can tell) if you want to be doing stuff at the fence of math and physics, such as rigorous quantum field theory and the more mathy parts of string theory.

    For an intermediate approach, I recommend the book "Gauge Fields, Gravity and Knots" by Baez.
     
  12. Jun 2, 2013 #11

    lisab

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    Proofs rarely come easy for anyone. In the beginning, you should just make sure you follow the logic. You've taken geometry, right? Did you understand those proofs?
     
  13. Jun 2, 2013 #12

    phinds

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    Well, your English is WAY better than my ability to speak your language :smile:
     
  14. Jun 8, 2013 #13
    Actualy my Linear Algebra and Analytical Geometry course wasn't proof based. Is that a big problem?
     
  15. Jun 8, 2013 #14

    Dembadon

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    I don't think it's a "big" problem, but if you want to rigorously learn mathematics, then you'll need to spend a lot of time becoming comfortable with understanding and writing proofs. If there is a course at your institution that gives an introduction to proof writing, it would be a good place to start. There are also a few books available on the internet that cover the basics.
     
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