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Deciding between Math or Physics for Gradschool

  1. Nov 4, 2006 #1
    Currently I am in my junior year at Western Kentucky University.
    I am a math and physics double major with a minor in astronomy. While here I have worked with a professor on extrasolar planet transit detection alogrithms and did reasearch this summer in nuclear astrophysics at clemson university. This comming semester Im going to be working with a math professor in advanced group theory.

    Courses Taken

    Physics and Astronomy.
    Univesrity Physics 1 and Lab
    Univesrity Physics 2 and Lab
    University Physics 3 and Lab
    Circuit Theory
    Electronics Lab
    Modern Physics 1
    Modern Physics 2
    Atomic lab
    Introducatory Astrophysics
    Observational Astronomy.

    Calc 1
    Calc 2
    Multivariable Calculus
    Partial Differential Equatoins
    Ordinary Differential Equations
    Linear Algebra
    Discrete Mathematics
    Abstract Algebra 1
    Abstract Algebra 2

    I love math and physics both. However I can see myself going a semester without physics but however couldnt imagine a semester without a math class. My problem is which do I go to gradschool for?
    I love both and was thinking about going for physics and work on a master in math at the same time if it is possible to do. I am more of a theoretical person than experimentalist as I have learned. Is it posibble to do both. Lately Ive been looking at schools that offer graduate degree in mathematical physics but my physics professors have told me time after time there is no jobs in it and it is useless to go into. Is this true or is it possible to get a teaching job at a university as a mathematical physicist.

    Thanks for your time,
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 4, 2006 #2
    Sorry about the poor grammar quality. I should have proofread it before posting it.
  4. Nov 4, 2006 #3
    if you think you've got the cojones, you could go to math graduate school since math departments these days are actually where much of the work in string theory is happening. And there are definitely still jobs in string theory... provided you are wicked smart and all that jazz...
  5. Nov 5, 2006 #4
    I'd study whatever you find interesting. If you have a technical degree, you will find work. It probably will be as an engineer, but only about 4% of the people who study physics get to really work in physics anyway.

    We have at our company:

    Astronomers working in optics
    Geophysics and math majors working in software
    Physics majors working in algorthm design
  6. Nov 6, 2006 #5


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    Is there a difference between theoretical and mathematical physics at grad level?
  7. Nov 6, 2006 #6
    yes there is a difference, theoretical physics still tries to make predictions of physical things with their work. Mathematical physics has no such restriction, you can write papers on things such as axiomizing quantum field theory, clever math tricks to do physics problems, or just interesting facts about various theories. Mathematical physics faculty actually prove theorems, physics faculty tries to come up with new physics.
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