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Considering enrolling in mechanics

  1. Oct 24, 2012 #1
    I'm considering enrolling in mechanics (lagrange/hamilton etc.), and I've heard it's a very difficult course. In fact my advisor advised against me taking it since I have the prerequisites but not the "experience". I was hoping to get some feedback from people who have taken the course on just how hard it is or whether it's been hyped up. Do you think it's possible for me to get a B/A coming out of physics II (electromagnetism) if I work hard?
     
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  3. Oct 25, 2012 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Welcome to PF;

    Have a quick look at some classical mechanics (video) lectures online and see how you go. Include "lagrangian" in your search terms.

    Should the subject interest you, then you should do it - but, off your advisor, you should strive to gain some experience with the kind of math and concepts involved before lectures start. You will need to work a lot harder than the others in the paper - though, it may turn out that you have a natural talent in the area. How did you do in year 1 mechanics?
     
  4. Oct 25, 2012 #3
    Take a look at Prof. Susskind's lectures on YouTube. (Stanford U)

    There's a Classical Mechanics lecture series for lay students that gives a solid grounding.
     
  5. Oct 25, 2012 #4
    I don't understand how "meets the prerequisites" and "not experienced enough" makes a good reason. What more experience is there beyond the general sequence and labs to do for intermediate mechanics? Unless they're recommending an intro math methods or something of the sort.
     
  6. Oct 25, 2012 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    Your advisor, who knows you, knows your background, knows the course and knows the professor advises you not to take the course. So instead, you seek advice from strangers on the internet.

    I think you should listen to your advisor.
     
  7. Oct 25, 2012 #6
    I've seen some of the videos, including the susskind lectures. Doesn't look too bad, but then again it might be another story when I'm actually doing it. I made an A in year 1 mechanics, with a couple near-perfect tests (99/97). I don't if that will translate to good performance in the hard core stuff though.
     
  8. Oct 25, 2012 #7
    My advisor didn't rule it out, he just warned me that it's a very hard course. I just want to get a sense of how difficult it is from actual student who have taken it; how many hours per week of study, average test grades etc. there's no reason to talk down to me.
     
  9. Oct 25, 2012 #8

    micromass

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    Vanadium isn't talk down to you. He's giving you helpful advice. What he says is completely true: your advisor knows you better than strangers on the internet. So I would ask him for advice.

    It's strange that you see helpful advice as talking down to you...
     
  10. Oct 25, 2012 #9
    OK, thanks for the help. But I think it's reasonable to ask strangers on the internet who have had experience with the course to give me an idea of what I'll be getting myself into should I decide to enroll.
     
  11. Oct 25, 2012 #10

    WannabeNewton

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    It isn't really a well posed question to ask because the difficulty of the course can vary from university to university and lecturer to lecturer. Your adviser will know about the difficulty of the course at YOUR uni which strangers on the internet won't in general.
     
  12. Oct 25, 2012 #11
    It was a really bewildering experience for me. Beyond that I can't tell you very much.
     
  13. Oct 26, 2012 #12

    bck

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    First of all, it is not necessarily true that your advisor knows you at all. After my Bachelor I have only seen my advisor twice. I think the most important thing is (especially considering your results for the first mechanics course) that you find it interesting. And as WannabeNewton said, it depends a lot per university and lecturer.

    Nevertheless, what I think you seek is experiences of others. In my opinion it was definitely a difficult course. I just start to comprehend it properly (about 4 years after the course). But if you are interested in it, I'm sure you'll manage (as long as you're prepared to put enough time in it too ;) ).
     
  14. Oct 26, 2012 #13

    Vanadium 50

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    That would be true if they took the same course at the same university from the same professor, and ideally with your background.
     
  15. Oct 26, 2012 #14
    haha dude... if i were asking "which is harder diff eq or calc III?", which is the sort of thing i see a lot of here, nobody would say "talk to your advisor, i don't know your university or professor or blahblah", people would just give their opinions on what the courses are like generally and try to help the guy out. anyway, thanks for the input everyone. think i'm gonna go for it.
     
  16. Oct 26, 2012 #15

    micromass

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    It's different. If you ask if diff eq or calc III is harder, then that usually has an objective answer. But the question here is if you are capable of performing well in the class. That is much more subjective.

    Anyway, if you want good advice, then maybe you should post some more information such as the classes you have already taken and the grades you obtained, the contents of the mechanics course, the book that the mechanics course will be using, etc.
     
  17. Oct 26, 2012 #16
    i think you guys just like to argue. i'm not asking for the exact answer to the precise question "how well will I do in MY mechanics class", obviously there's no possible way you could answer that. why would I ask such a question? my question is, in your experience of the course, do you think the difficulty of the class, in general, is such that a typical student coming out of lower tier classes might have a reasonable shot at doing well. it's really not that complicated, it's not a mechanics problem.
     
  18. Oct 26, 2012 #17

    Vanadium 50

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    Hey, "dude",

    Do whatever your want. You're a grown-up now and can make your own choices. The fact that you didn't get the answer you wanted here and are still pursuing it anyway indicates that you really didn't want advice. You wanted validation of a decision you had already made, and one that your advisor apparently disagreed with.

    Good luck with that, "dude".
     
  19. Oct 26, 2012 #18

    Vanadium 50

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    He doesn't want advice. He wants validation of a decision he has already made.
     
  20. Oct 26, 2012 #19
    you didn't want to give me advice, you just wanted to criticize the fact that i'm even asking for advice. I'm already considering my advisor's opinion, who left the option open but warned me that it's very difficult. because the option was left open by my advisor, i thought it might be a good idea to get the opinion of other people who have experience with the course. i didn't think this was at all unreasonable.
     
  21. Oct 26, 2012 #20

    WannabeNewton

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    It doesn't make ANY sense. How will my telling you if I think the intermediate mechanics class I'm taking now is easy or not at MY university help you assess if you will get an A or not at YOUR university? It makes no sense at all.
     
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