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How important are these courses for chaos theory/dynamical systems?

  1. Apr 27, 2013 #1
    I'm currently a physics major with a year left, and deciding whether to switch into mathematical physics, mathematics or applied mathematics. I'm definitely switching into one of them, as I can meet the requirements for either in my last year and all of them align better with my interests. Speaking of which, at this point I think I want to pursue graduate studies related to chaos theory/dynamical systems. I did a bit of searching and this seems a field that is sometimes studied from an (applied) mathematical viewpoint and at other times from a physics viewpoint.

    Not knowing how exactly I want to go about studying this, i.e. I don't know which side interests me more, since it kind of depends on the actual topic, not the approach per se, here's where my quandary comes in. Namely, which of the following courses do you find most crucial if I do indeed want to study the aforementioned fields:

    A) Quantum mechanics II, Electromagnetism II [mathematics/math physics/applied maths]

    B) Continuum mechanics [mathematics]

    C) Intermediate PDE's (a second course in PDE's), Numerical methods [applied maths]

    I've grouped this into three separate categories, because if I go with either of the courses in C), then I can't take B). In square brackets I've also listed the programs that I'd need to be in if I want to fit them into my schedule next term.

    Personally, I'd like to get a taste of continuum mechanics, but then I definitely can't take either of the courses in C, and what worries me is that those would perhaps be required if I was to approach the subject from a mathematical standpoint in grad school. On the other hand, I'm not sure I could get away with not taking the courses in A if wanted to approach things from the physics side.

    What would you recommend?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2018 #2
    Maybe a old Post and forgotten by OP but I'm a physics student with same interests on chaos and non linear Dynamics , I'd like to know what happened with your career on chaos and DS
  4. Mar 20, 2018 #3
    I'm not the OP, but I did considerable graduate work in chaos and dynamical systems en route to a PhD in Physics. Career? I have not really gone on to have a career or make any money in those fields. But my graduate work in those fields did provide lots of marketable skills, including: 1) Being able to numerically integrate just about any differential equation that comes my way 2) Being able to develop a sound statistical approach to reasonably model many systems that are too complex to be exactly solvable from first principles. 3) Programming skills for serious number crunching in Fortran and C. 4) A sound scientific approach to test whether qualitative hypotheses are really supported by the numerical data available for complex systems. 5) A sound scientific approach to test whether quantitative (usually statistical) hypotheses are really supported by the available numerical data for complex systems.
  5. Mar 20, 2018 #4
    Thanks for the quick response , are those marketable skills useful for any particular sector(kind of industry) ? Or are they exclusive in scientific research?
  6. Mar 20, 2018 #5
    For me, those skills have proven marketable in a variety of R&D jobs, more engineering jobs really than scientific research, as the companies that have hired me were always keen on making money by selling tech products than making fundamental scientific advancements.

    The skills have also proven useful in my more fundamental scientific research, but that side of my life (while yielding plenty of publications, citations, and awards) has not earned nearly as much money, so I don't think the skills are nearly as "marketable" on the scientific research side.

    I support my love and habit of science with marketable engineering work.
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