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Calc III or ODE

  1. Sep 4, 2010 #1
    So I am an EE major currently taking Physics I and Calc II. Originally my plan was to take Physics II, Calc III, and Statics together with ODE and Circuit Analysis in the summer.

    A friend of mine made a point that ODE can come after Calc II rather than III. So now I have an option of switching Calc III and ODE.

    Now because all of these subjects probably share information (the math learned can be applied towards the physics) which order is the best. Is any Calc III used in physics II because I know ODE is necessary for Circuit analysis (its listed as a co-req) so it might be beneficial to learn it before I get there.

    How hard (relatively and in general) are Statics, Circuits, and ODE. I don't want to load all the hard classes together. Especially in a summer semester.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2010 #2


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    [take under consideration that courses vary between universities, not to mention between countries...]
    So to clarify, the CalcIII I did was mostly about multidimensional functions and multidimensional integrals, which is very useful to physics courses in general and to physics II in particular (assuming, physics II = electricity and magnetism)

    Now about ODE, I'm sure you have already encountered the subject (since you've done physics I ). Obviously you didn't learn anything formal there, so if you are interested in the formalism and the delicate details, you should do it. However I'm not certain it would help you much in your physics courses, since mathematical courses do not give much attention to actually solving equations, and when you do solve some you'll most probably do it as you've learned in physics (i.e the intuitive way)
  4. Sep 4, 2010 #3
    In my school you do not need to have taken calc 3 before you take ode's/

    Circuit analysis involves extensive ode's as most of the time when you solve a circuit that's essentially what you're doing (solving a diff eqtn).

    However it depends on your teacher, sometimes they'll have you solve the circuit via actually solving the equation or if they're somewhat lazy mathematically they'll turn everything into simple algebra via the Laplace transform (which you learn and derive in ode's but to apply them is actually quite simple, again easy algebra and maybe some matrix operations if your teacher doesn't like their TI-89 calculators too much).

    IMO, take ODE's (and Linear algebra if you can) before you take Circuit Analysis; I don't imagine ODE's and Statics would be that difficult together, I just think you might be a bit lost in circuits w/out an ode class unless its very rudimentary.
  5. Sep 4, 2010 #4
    What about Calc 3 and Physics II, any loss not taking those together.
  6. Sep 5, 2010 #5
    At my school, the majority of physics II students were taking calc III concurrently. However, there were maybe 5-7 people who were taking ODE instead. The prof gave them a waiver and allowed them in the class. They didn't struggle at all.
  7. Sep 5, 2010 #6
    Okay cool, my school's physics II doesnt require calc III at all only calc II.

    I just know calc III goes over vector calculus that I thought might be useful.
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