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Courses How efficacious would it be to take these stat courses ?

  1. Jul 20, 2005 #1
    Hi, i'm a physics/math double major at the university of florida. the degree requirements for a math major changed for the next year, and i plan on following the new track, as it is more flexible.

    previously, math majors were required to take STA4321 "math stats 1." now it and math stats 2 are simply electives. however, the math department suggests that for people who plan on going into a career in applied mathematics should take math stats 2 (thereby implying that they should also take math stats 1, as it is a prereq.)

    here are the course descriptions:

    STA 4321 Intro. to Probability (Fall, Spring, Summer)
    Credits: 3 Prereq: MAC 2313 or equivalent.
    Introduction to the theory of probability, counting rules, conditional probability, independence, additive and multipicative laws, Bayes Rule. Discrete and continuous random variables, their distributions, moments, moment generating functions. Multivariate probability distributions, independence, covariance. Distributions of functions of random variables. (M)

    STA 4322 Intro. Statistics Theory (Fall, Spring, Summer)
    Credits: 3 Prereq: STA 4321 or equivalent.
    Sampling distributions, central limit theorem, estimation, properties of point estimators, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, common large sample tests, normal theory small sample tests, uniformly most powerful and likelihood ratio tests, linear models and least squares, correlation. Introduction to analysis of variance. (M)

    it's pretty clear to me that it would be useful for experimental physics. but i am nearly dead-set on going into mathematical/theoretical physics.

    how useful would these courses be for theoretical physics, especially as compared to diff eq 2 (series solutions of ODE's, systems of equations, stability of solutions) and partial differential equations, which i would rather take?

    thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2005 #2


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    I've taken Intro to prob. and IMO, they're useful for a theoretical physicist (think QM; what if Max Born had never opened a stats book?). But they're also EASY. So you can easily work them out on your own one summer, while it would be best to have help from a teacher for courses like eq. diff. 2, etc.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2005
  4. Jul 20, 2005 #3
    yeah, today during lab i talked with a rising grad student (as in, he'll be a grad student in the fall) about this stuff. he never took any stats course and said that i would get the statistics stuff that i would need from stat mech and advanced lab 2.

    i plan on talking to more students and at least one each of math and physics undergrad advisers.

    but my inclination is to not take the courses.

    oh, right: i also plan on checking out info about the text we use for our stat mech class--it probably has appendices or an introductory chapter or something covering the necessary info.

    i was mostly taken aback by the applied math comment by UF's math department.

    anyone else have an opinion on this?
  5. Jul 20, 2005 #4
    I think every informed citizen should know stats at least at some basic level. It's ubiquitous.
  6. Jul 21, 2005 #5
    How can't you know this???
    How could you make an experiment, without knowing this???
  7. Jul 21, 2005 #6
    well, that's why it's covered on the first day of advanced lab 2. (advanced lab 1 is an electronics lab.)
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