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Schools Decisions between Math & Physics for Graduate School

  • Thread starter Oriako
  • Start date
106
1
Hello,
I'm currently going to the University of Alberta taking a double major in Mathematics & Physics (although I can still switch to an Honours Astrophysics degree, which I really want to do... but I think it would be specializing too quickly).

I'm essentially wondering how intertwined high-level Math is into Physics at the Graduate school and Post-doc research level. I'm absolutely fascinated by Pure Math and it's always neat when something overlaps into Physics, and while at the early undergraduate level it's easy to see "Pure Math" concepts in Multivariable Calculus applicable to Physics, but it seems to dwindle off as the math becomes more advanced. I want my career path to be in Physics and not a Mathematician, but I never want to stop learning Math (even if it has no overlap on the physical world whatsoever), so is there any sort of sub-field that would be perfect for me? My main interests from the Physics side of things are: Space Science (ionosphere modeling, atmospheric composition, etc. of the Earth and Exoplanets), the Interstellar Medium & Intergalactic Medium, and Experimental Plasma Physics.

Basically, given my described interests, what sort of graduate program for a PhD that is heavily math based will lead me towards a Physics career? Theoretical Physics? Astrophysics? Mathematical Physics?... the list can go on and on and I really need help distinguishing what the best path for me would be as there are so many sub-disciplines that I am interested in, but know I want to specialize in a place that I will continue to learn Math, not just use undergraduate level math techniques!

Thanks if you actually read this, let me know if you can give me any pointers or advice.
 
Last edited:
206
0
Hello,
I'm currently going to the University of Alberta taking a double major in Mathematics & Physics (although I can still switch to an Honours Astrophysics degree, which I really want to do... but I think it would be specializing too quickly).

I'm essentially wondering how intertwined high-level Math is into Physics at the Graduate school and Post-doc research level. I'm absolutely fascinated by Pure Math and it's always neat when something overlaps into Physics, and while at the early undergraduate level it's easy to see "Pure Math" concepts in Multivariable Calculus applicable to Physics, but it seems to dwindle off as the math becomes more advanced. I want my career path to be in Physics and not a Mathematician, but I never want to stop learning Math (even if it has no overlap on the physical world whatsoever), so is there any sort of sub-field that would be perfect for me? My main interests from the Physics side of things are: Space Science (ionosphere modeling, atmospheric composition, etc. of the Earth and Exoplanets), the Interstellar Medium & Intergalactic Medium, and Experimental Plasma Physics.

Basically, given my described interests, what sort of graduate program for a PhD that is heavily math based will lead me towards a Physics career? Theoretical Physics? Astrophysics? Mathematical Physics?... the list can go on and on and I really need help distinguishing what the best path for me would be as there are so many sub-disciplines that I am interested in, but know I want to specialize in a place that I will continue to learn Math, not just use undergraduate level math techniques!

Thanks if you actually read this, let me know if you can give me any pointers or advice.
I actually just got online to put up a similar post..... I feel, myself, that I will go into String Theory; its a great place to feel like you are doing physics but in a very "mathematical setting". Certainly this is what you want if you dont want to just apply "undergraduate level math techniques" which is what would happen if you went into computational biology or biophysics, for example. Think about it like this:
If mathematics is an extension of logic and is therefore self-consistent, and extremely fundamental, then the sort of field in the physical world that would use similar lines of reason, will certainly be very pure (i.e. string theory or the like). In fact, I don't believe that string theory is yet "proven" in the sense that it has logical flaws in a few places, but that's why peoplpe research it, they are trying to further the blur between the physical world and the logic which governs it (mathematics).
 
106
1
To be honest, I am not interested in String Theory (of course I'm interested in it's results, but not in studying it). I'm not going to get into why I don't want to study String Theory, but lets settle with: there are no jobs in it, I don't want to devote my life to something that has no impact upon society, and that it could be a complete dead end.
 
206
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well..... okay, then Physical Cosmology, or Partical Physics, or General Relativity; each of these fields has its own sort of "flavor" of mathematics. Or better yet, why not do physical chemsitry, like quantum dynamics. It is heavy in mathematics and the physics IS real.... its what I'm researching right now.....
 

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