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Other I like both Math and physics -- How to choose between them?

  1. Sep 26, 2016 #1


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    I'm in the middle of my physics undergraduate (taking classical mechanics, electrodynamics, mathematical physics) and i really enjoy my classes, so no problem there haha. With the time i realized that i really like math so i start self studying real analysis, manifolds, differential geometry, that kind of stuff. So i really like both, physics and math and as i'm in the middle of my undergraduate i started wondering what will i do when finish.

    I don't know what would satisfied my taste, i really want to do physics (specially something with electricity) and i really like studying math.

    English isnt my mother tongue :P so sorry if i make some mistake.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2016 #2


    Staff: Mentor

  4. Oct 6, 2016 #3
    Hello there,
    I am no expert but I will try and give you my opinion.
    I think you should really think of what you like. do you really like physics, math or both? give it a little thought while taking in account career prospects and environments.
    If you chose physics then completing your education in electricity will give you some good math. But if you ever feel the need for more there are degrees in mathematical physics (I don't know about these programs you can look them up yourself but from the name I think they offer good maths :D ).
    Now if you thought math is your passion then do what jedishrfu advised you.
    Remember also that math can be a hobby just like painting or singing. The man in your picture loved math and took it as a hobby becoming very good at it even when his degree was in physics.
  5. Oct 7, 2016 #4
    I am in a similar situation where I want to do experimental physics but keep wanting to learn math and fundamental physics.

    •How about doing both: mathematical physics, or even some fundamental theoretical physics (General relativity, QFT, QCD, physics beyond the standard model etc...)? You would do a lot of cool maths in these fields, Riemannian geometry, group theory, topology, complex analysis, statistic etc.. And you would do them at a very fundamental level too.

    If your university has a course on mathematical physics I would try to have a look at it. In my university the course was a medley of Riemannian geometry, topology and group theory. This is usually a good course to start.

    •You should also have a look at the Perimeter Institute lectures on theoretical physics:
    This comprehensive program starts by introducing some maths ("front panel"): From analysis to Lie group theory.
    Then moves on to theoretical physics where maths are central ("core panel"): QM, GR, QFT, stats, mathematical physics.

    I've been taking a close look at the programs from every years and decided that the lectures from 2011-2012 (link I gave above) were the best for me. I am now following the program during my spare time. Consider following some of them to see if you like it! If you are only interested in maths just check out the "front" panel which introduces the maths. You can then dig deeper on the subjects you like (although they are treated later in the program).
    For example, the course on Lie Algebra's by Freddy Cachazo is very short (5 lectures), and is a very nice resume of the (beautiful) maths you'll need to do QFT. If you enjoyed those 5 lectures, then consider doing QFT, QCD, QED !

    •If you really want to stick to electricity: I remember that a mathematician friend was exclusively doing electricity using topology and graph theory. Maybe you can have a look at these topics.
    Condensed matter theory and Solid state physics are also related to electricity, and can be treated with some of the most abstract maths you can find like Group theory and topology (this year's Nobel prize!).
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
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