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Do physicist uses pure maths or applied maths?

  1. Feb 25, 2009 #1
    Do Theoretical physicist uses pure maths or applied maths?

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2009 #2
    What's the difference between using pure or applied maths? When you use math for something that's not math, you apply it... Also, theoretical physicists use quite a lot of differential geometry and algebraic topology which most certainly are nothing but big bunches of theorems and abstract ideas.

    I would assume that every physicists uses the Pythagorean theorem and it is part of pure maths...
  4. Feb 25, 2009 #3


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    There's no sharp distinction between pure and applied math. Physicists use whatever math they need to, and invent new math if it hasn't already been invented.
  5. Feb 25, 2009 #4
    ... and sometimes even if it has.
  6. Feb 25, 2009 #5
    Physicist apply pure math :)
  7. Feb 25, 2009 #6
    A la Newton?
  8. Feb 26, 2009 #7
    Pure/Applied math arn't very distinct in material, only intention of what you are doing.
  9. Feb 26, 2009 #8
    by the meaning of the terms "pure" & "applied", which one do you think is used to uses?
  10. Feb 26, 2009 #9
    It seems that as soon as you refer to dimensionable things, it's not pure math, but has been instead......applied.

    (But that's just me. Wishing words to have meaning.)
  11. Feb 26, 2009 #10


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    The real question is - do engineers use pure or applied physics?
  12. Feb 26, 2009 #11
    Most don't remember either. OK, so it's applied--when used.
  13. Feb 26, 2009 #12
    erm its because I wanna do a double major in theoretical physics and mathematics and the university offers either pure mathematics or applied mathematics. So I am confuse which one to take to compliment theoretical physics. Any suggestions as to which mathematics(pure/applied) is more related to theoretical physics so that I could make the right decision?
  14. Feb 26, 2009 #13
    At least at my uni courses in theoretical physics usually covered in hand-waving fashion the math that was required. Thus, taking pure maths helps understand the concepts. In my opinion pure maths is really the only thing worth taking. If you get the pure maths well, the applied side is usually pretty trivial to just pick up when you need it. However, this comes from someone going into Ph.D. studies in maths...
  15. Feb 26, 2009 #14
    That makes sense.

    n = 3

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