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Geometry or Linear Algebra II

  1. Sep 14, 2010 #1
    Which course is more important to a physics major? Which is more likely to improve one's mathematical ability? Which is more interesting? (I haven't even had Linear Algebra I so I don't know if I like the subject.). Unfortunately, I have to decide now.

    Descriptions:

    Geometry

    Foundations of Euclidean plane geometry. Similarity of triangles. Circumferences and trigonometric functions. Notable points of the triangle. Coordinates the plan. Structure of vector. Conics. Geometric transformations.

    Linear Algebra II

    Symmetric and alternating multilinear functions. Determinant function. Inner products. Orthogonal subspaces. Additional orthogonal. Orthogonal projection. Euclidean analytic geometry. Hermitian form. Diagonalization of a symmetric matrix. Orthogonal arrays. Unitary matrices. The classical groups O (n), SO (n), U (n), SU (n) for n equal to 2 or 3. Classification of quadratic forms. Method of principal minors. Jordan canonical form for matrices of order 2 and 3
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2010 #2
    Withou having taken Linear Algebra (a beautiful subject in its own right I might add), Linear Algebra II will be very challenging at best and impossible at worst. If your professor begins the first day assuming you're familiar with the basics of vector spaces, transformations, etc. (likely) then you're going to have a tough time to say the least.

    Now, I'm a math major so I can't really speak toward its usefullness in that regard, but having a course in classical geometry under your belt is always a good thing.
     
  4. Sep 14, 2010 #3
    Not much of a choice here. I don't know why you would even consider taking LA II without Linear Algebra I.
     
  5. Sep 14, 2010 #4
    I didn't explain myself. I haven't yet taken Linear Algebra I but I will have when I eventually take Linear Algebra II. The course that I have to pick I will only take it six months from now.
     
  6. Sep 14, 2010 #5

    jtbell

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    Staff: Mentor

    And you have to pick it now?

    Which physics courses have you already taken? You can't get very far in physics without knowing about trigonometric functions (which are listed as part of the geometry course). Have you studied trigonometry already?
     
  7. Sep 14, 2010 #6
    I'd think linear algebra 2 would be much more useful.
     
  8. Sep 14, 2010 #7
    Yes.

    Of course. I studied it in high school. This geometry course is a university level course. I don't think I'll be exposed to a lot of new concepts; I suppose it will be a proof-based course.
     
  9. Sep 14, 2010 #8
    The geometry course sounds really boring, maybe you should find out the text they use and see if it really worth taking at all.

    Linear algebra is definitely more useful, it is used everywhere in science and engineering. Even it says it is linear algebra 2, the topics covered doesn't sound too difficult, it all depends on what is expected of you and how it is taught. The best way to judge is again find out the text they use and see if you are capable to take it.
     
  10. Sep 14, 2010 #9
    How can he possibly be the judge of that if he hasn't yet taken Linear Algebra I and has to decide before taking it?!
     
  11. Sep 15, 2010 #10
    Linear algebra will be very Important to you in physics,, and it's better to be exposed to it in a separate course than to learn about it in physics courses,, also most of the proofs in it are very straight forward
     
  12. Sep 15, 2010 #11
    At my university Linear Algebra II is required for the physics degree.
     
  13. Sep 15, 2010 #12
    I started my physics major this year and im taking linear 1 i love it. I vote linear algebra all the way. you can teach yourself geometry.
     
  14. Sep 15, 2010 #13
    LinAl 2
     
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