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How to not miss something?

  1. May 21, 2012 #1
    I am teaching myself math with the intention of getting a degree in physics, and so far it's been very easy, I realize it will get more difficult later, but my question is, how do I make sure I don't miss something important?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2012 #2
    I am not sure how to answer this question. It is like me asking you:
    "I am going fishing tomorrow, how can I make sure I don't forgot anything for the trip?"

    Anyway, I would guess you could get some math books in the subjects you wish to learn, and make sure you don't skip any chapters?

    For an undergraduate physics degree, I guess you would want to learn some basic calculus, linear algebra, and some introductory differential equations.
  4. May 21, 2012 #3
    Pick yourself up a copy of M Boas' Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences, most of what you'll need in an undergraduate degree is in there

    You should accompany that with Gilbert Strangs Introduction to Linear Algebra or Hoffmans Linear Algebra

    With those under your belt, you'll have a good idea of what you need to learn and where you'll find it.
    Maybe try and look up some more math oriented rigorous maths books (as opposed to methods and engineering maths books), 'mathematical maturity' will be far more important to you than remembering some facts that mathematicians say are true.
  5. May 21, 2012 #4

    Stephen Tashi

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    Science Advisor

    You will inevitably miss something important. That's the way self-teaching goes. You either overlook a few things or you completely misunderstand a few things. To counteract this, stay in touch with knowledgeable people. If you can't talk to such people face-to-face, talk to them on the web.
  6. May 21, 2012 #5
    Thank you for all of the suggestions. I taught myself piano, and realized when I got lessons there was still many things that I had either skipped or just didn't know I needed to learn, I want to avoid that with math.
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