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Harder math or physics?

  1. Dec 18, 2004 #1
    Which is harder to major in, Math or Physics? And why?

    I haven't touched Physics since High School but, by seeing the problems that are posted here, I would last, oh maybe, 44 minutes as a Physics major.

    Viva Mathematicas!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2004 #2


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    :rofl: I think knowing good physics requires a great deal of mathematics.But there are problems in mathematics a physicist wouldn't touch not even for 1mil.$.On the other hand,the mathematician could deal with any problem of physics,but he certainly lacks the "sense of reality" which a phyisicist has when he sees what lies behind awful equations.

    My answer is:both are the same wrt to difficulty,and much more difficult than anything else.

  4. Dec 18, 2004 #3
    For me, Maths.. I could never be a mathmo. Physics isn't easy for me, no, but there's Maths stuff that I have trouble understanding now and I'd hate to see even more complicated things!
  5. Dec 18, 2004 #4


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    In many ways a Physicist can be viewed as an Applied Mathematician. In that sense you are asking what is more difficult, Math or Math?

    You must realize that the there can be large distances between the pure math fields and the Applied areas. Mathematics covers a lot of territory, an Applied Mathematician may have little interest in some of the pure areas, like wise a Pure Mathematician peers down his nose a bit at the Applied areas. Your question is really impossible to answer in a meaningful way.

    BTW: I have done some study in both Applied Math and Physics. In Physics you study in detail the solutions and application of some specific differential Equations. In Applied math you study some of the same equations, but in a more general sense. Mathematicians are more concerned with existence and uniqueness along with the other fundamental properties of the solution.

    In Physics you know that a solution exists because that is the physical phenomena you are studying, and anyway the mathematicians have done the necessary proofs.
  6. Dec 18, 2004 #5


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    Take note that there are no "experimentalists" in mathematics! Such concepts and skills required as an experimentalist are completely foreign to mathematicians.

  7. Dec 18, 2004 #6
    I prefer Physics since there's a sense of realism in it whereas Maths is just all theoretical.
  8. Dec 18, 2004 #7


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    I am impressed with how PF member Matt Grime can step into a thread about some difficult pure math (or "maths" as they say in the UK) problem and point the way to the solution. But I am pretty sure that he never gets involved in mathematical questions that arise in the physics part of the forum. I have sometimes wondered if that is because he doesn't read any parts of the forum other than the math part, or is it because the types of mathematics that come up in physics applications are outside of his area of math specialization?
  9. Dec 19, 2004 #8
    Physics is harder. If you major in physics then you'll end up taking almost as much math as the math majors. I had to take so many math courses the I figured "what the heck" and took math courses for electives and had a second major in math. The extra work wasn't too bad.

  10. Dec 19, 2004 #9
    Physics is much harder.
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