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Astro degree, should I?

  1. Nov 10, 2008 #1
    Here is the situation, I am a mathematics major currently, and am just about to start taking more advanced level math courses (e.g. topology and other 500 levels etc.). However, I have put off physics for so long that if I did take a physics course, it would have to be 116 (basic calc. based). A few months ago, this wouldn't have bothered me, because I wasn't even considering adding astronomy. However, recently I got really into astronomy (observing with a cheap pair of binoculars) and have taken a 101 course. Unfortunately, the next course up is a 491 course; I asked the teacher, and he said that since I have the mathematical background I would be in a good position to work towards taking this course. However, I would have to take physics up to 301 (mechanics or something like that) This immediately brought back bad memories of high school physics and why I haven't taken a course since. I am very motivated,however, by the prospect of being able to do some research( which he stated was an option). I am also, however, a sophomore, and as such, time is very short. I have been taking 2 math courses per semester, but to get up to 301 in time, there would be 1 semester in which I would have to take 3 physics courses. My question: does anyone have experience with changing interests (note that I am not changing majors, my heart will always belong to math) on a short time schedule? Does this usually work out (has anyone taken more of a certain course outside thaier major than in their major in one semester e.g. 3 english courses in one sem. with a geology major)? Would it be worth it to risk graduation by 1 semester? Thirdly, if I am interested, is it possible to have a basic understanding of physics and then serve as a mathematician under an astrophysics department rather than actually becoming an astrophysicist?
    I wish I had known about this earlier, but hindsight is 20/20.
  2. jcsd
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