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Don't know what to do about this situation?

  1. May 15, 2008 #1
    Hi, I am graduating this May. I am coming back for another semester and I plan on doing 3 research projects; one on general relativity, one on geometry and one on lie algebras and particle physics with a very prominent physics professor. My other two independent studies are with math professors.

    However, the problem is I have very limited physics experience, but I ultimately want to become a mathematical physicist. The last physics course I took was in high school. But the physics professor wants me to read most of Principles of Quantum Mechanics by Dirac over the summer, with very limited exposure to Newtonian Mechanics.

    Here are my questions:

    How plausible is this?, i.e. the https://www.amazon.com/Principles-Q...bs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1210838429&sr=8-2 Dirac QM book, to read it the entire book over the summer with a limited physics background. I might be working a part time job or a full tie job this summer. I also plan on studying for the GRE Math subject exam, studying some differential geometry and general relativity.

    What do you guys think about reading almost all of Dirac, reading Carroll's General Relativity text, brush up on differential geometry and study for the GRE math subject exam all while possibly working a part time job?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 15, 2008 #2
    Just curious, how do you even know you want to do mathematical physics when you've basically never taken a real physics course?
  4. May 15, 2008 #3
    So at what point did you decide to do research in GR w/o having taken anything more than high school physics? (I know it's heavy on the math and not saying it is impossible, but maybe not our best option....)

    Take bravernix's post into consideration.

    You can self study a lot of physics, Newtonian mechanics etc... And being presumably a math major you should have little trouble with the basic stuff however some subjects will be considerably harder such as E&M and Quantum...
    What is needed for your specific research is up to your professors and there is little we can tell you for what to study but it may be possible for you to do your projects with just some self study of basic physics and readings from books as suggested by your advisers.

    I am not completely familiar with the book but look into Road to Reality by Roger Penrose. I think it is more mathematically minded and sort of all encompassing for physics. (written by a mathematical physicist!)
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