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- Thread starter fermio
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Chronos

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Math is the language of physics. All good physicists are excellent mathematicians.

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Math and physics most certainly aren't the same thing, and the answer to your question depends on what you mean by "math." In my coursework and research, I spend a lot of time doing mathematics. But most of this involves doing a lot of algebra, taking derivatives, writing programs, etc. In my math courses as an undergrad, there was very little computation, and very many proofs. Honestly it felt like being an English or philosophy major at times. Real mathematics doesn't involve as much computation as physics

To be a physicist you need to be excellent at "basic" math like algebra and calculus, which I think is what Chronos was getting at. But it's OK if you don't know the difference between a field and a ring.

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Math is the language of physics. All good physicists are excellent mathematicians.

Eh? I hope not. I haven't done any real upper-division math. Diff EQ's, Partial derivatives, vector calculus, linear algebra, some real and complex analysis in my math physics class. That's about it. I wouldn't consider that being an excellent mathematician.

Not compared to what my math major friends are doing.

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Eh? I hope not. I haven't done any real upper-division math. Diff EQ's, Partial derivatives, vector calculus, linear algebra, some real and complex analysis in my math physics class. That's about it. I wouldn't consider that being an excellent mathematician.

Not compared to what my math major friends are doing.

If you have some experience with this, then you should be fine for physics. The only upper division math I've ever used in my graduate physics classes is complex analysis, and even then it was only twice. If you know linear algebra, diff eq, and vector calculus, that's pretty much all you need. Any math you need for specialized topics, you'll probably learn on the fly.

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Im taking PDEs right now, and its going to be rough. Its been a long time since my last math class.

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G01

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Eh? I hope not. I haven't done any real upper-division math. Diff EQ's, Partial derivatives, vector calculus, linear algebra, some real and complex analysis in my math physics class. That's about it. I wouldn't consider that being an excellent mathematician.

Not compared to what my math major friends are doing.

I like to use the following example to explain the difference between a math and physics majors knowledge of math:

A mathematician is VERY well versed in a smaller area of mathematics, knowing all the in and outs, all the tricks, and knows where everything comes from.

A physicist, on the other hand, has knowledge of many different areas of math, though their knowledge of any one area of math is usually much shallowing than that of a mathematician who specializes in any of those areas. A physicist will know enough about the area to use the mathematical tools from that area effectively and efficiently.

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