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Schools GT university ?

  1. Jan 4, 2010 #1
    Provide me with information on georgia tech's school of physics , how is the faculty and the research quality , whats the ranking of GT school of physics among students .
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 4, 2010 #2
    I have no idea what the physics ranking is, but I'm a physics undergrad there so I can answer a few questions.

    Most of the professors here are very approachable and good teachers. Research interests are very much on the applied side. There is no high energy physics done here except for one astroparticle physicist, and most people are experimentalists. There is a pretty large number of people doing nonlinear dynamics. The other big areas of research here are condensed matter and nano-scale physics. Also, GT is a school known for grade deflation, so getting above a C in a class is cause for celebration for a lot of people.
  4. Jan 4, 2010 #3
    I believe that Georgia Tech has a website...

    Have you looked at it?
  5. Jan 11, 2010 #4
    Perhaps this will not be looked at, as this was posted a few weeks ago, but if you have any questions not answered by www.physics.gatech.edu then by all means reply back here. I am a GT grad student with a decent knowledge of the physics department.
  6. Jan 13, 2010 #5
    I am also a physics student at Tech an had another question regarding Advanced Lab Measurements I and Quantum Mechanics.
    First, does anyone with previous experience in Adv. Lab 1 think it sane (and possible) to take this class with just the three intro classes, QM 1, electro & magnetostatics, and astrophysics under my belt? The only requirement is QM but the physics department outline lists it as a course to take your senior year; I would be taking it second semester junior year and concurrently with classical mechanics.
    Also, how tough was QM 1 in your experience? The only classes I will have as background to go into QM would be intro physics 1 and 2 since my schedule did not permit me to take intro to modern and classical mechanics beforehand. What's the more rigorous upper level physics class offered at Tech in your opinion?

    Some info for consideration: I have a 4.0 and love physics and math, but I'm specially good at math or so I think...
    All my required mathematics courses are satisfied, that is calc 1 through 3, linear algebra, and differential equations.
  7. Jan 13, 2010 #6
    QM 1 is fine for advanced lab. Most of the experiments you wouldn't have learned the details about in your lectures anyways, so you learn it in the class. My opinion on QM 1 is that it's difficulty is probably proportional to how good you are at math, since the math used in it is rather sophisticated compared to any other undergraduate physics class. I took calculus when I was in middle school so I'm pretty good at math, and found QM 1 very easy. However, some of my classmates who aren't the greatest at math (relative to other physics majors, most of whom are pretty good at math compared to the general Tech populace) found it very challenging. Taking modern physics after QM 1 is pretty common, actually. You don't really need any of the knowledge from modern physics in QM 1 (though some things are useful in QM 2). Having a solid background in linear algebra helps a lot (what you learn in calculus 2 isn't enough, I recommend taking abstract vector spaces or the upper division linear algebra class).

    Modern physics is a joke of a class (probably the easiest physics class at Tech), so a lot of physics majors leave it off until junior or even senior year. Knowing special relativity is helpful in a handful of other classes, but generally the special relativity used in other undergraduate classes is very simple (time dilation, length contraction, relativistic momentum etc., nothing like four vectors, spacetime intervals or what have you).

    The most rigorous/difficult required upper level physics class is probably statistical mechanics. There isn't any math beyond vector calculus in it, but applying the basic theory to actual problems can be very challenging and takes a lot of practice. Electrodynamics can also be very difficult (though I haven't taken it yet), depending on the professor. Apparently the professor who taught it last spring and is teaching it right now devastated a lot of people (which is why I'm waiting until senior year to take it). As far as electives go, I wouldn't know. There are too many of them. I do NOT recommend taking mathematical physics. It was a complete and utter waste of time. All it was was review of intro calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations, with some special functions and complex analysis thrown in at the very end.
  8. Jan 13, 2010 #7
    First off, thanks for the advice!

    That's a relief since I have to take it concurrently with QM1 and a couple of other junior level physics courses (stellar astrophysics, electro & magnetostatics). How would you compare it to the rigor of the intro physics courses? The reason I ask is that if this is an easy class I might sign up for Complex Analysis, and well, I don't want to bomb any other classes bc of the stress, etc.

    Also, have any of you taken Complex Analysis, Differential Geometry, Numerical Analysis 1, or Partial Differential Equations 1, (all senior level)? What's your opinion?
  9. Jan 13, 2010 #8
    Actually, now that I think of it, there are typically two sections of modern physics offered, the normal large one and the honors physics major one. They are the same course number, so both are just called Modern Physics - it's just one of them is restricted to physics majors. I didn't take the physics major section due to a time conflict. So I can't speak for that one. I took the honors section for physics 1 and 2, though, so I can't compare modern physics to that, but from what I hear it's still much easier than the non-honors section physics 1 and 2. The ideas are very straightforward, there aren't many curve balls they can throw at you (theres only so many ways to set up a basic photoelectric effect question for example), etc. In terms of time investment, I think the course took up an average of maybe 6 hours per week (3 hours lecture, 3 hours doing homework), and then throw in a couple more hours for tests. But, I have no idea how the physics major section is structured.

    I took numerical analysis - it is very straightforward and very useful (and very boring). Calculus and differential equations are more difficult than numerical analysis. I haven't taken any other of those classes, though I've been told by more than one person that if you didn't have trouble in differential equations you won't have trouble in partial differential equations.

    By the way - I don't know if this is too late for you - but I highly recommend taking the honors section of intro physics. It makes the upper division CM and EM classes much easier (especially EM, since you will have already had a good amount of exposure to Maxwell's equations).
  10. Jan 14, 2010 #9
    Yes, it's a bit too late for the honors version for me, but thanks for the advice. It's good to hear straight from a physics student rather than just reading rate my professor and reading the course descriptions.

    Know anything about the astrophysics certificate and/or the research option? I would like to shoot for both.
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