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WannabeNewton
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You don't need physics to understand mathematics but you need mathematics to understand physics ;)
WannabeNewton said:You don't need physics to understand mathematics but you need mathematics to understand physics ;)
WannabeNewton said:You don't need physics to understand mathematics but you need mathematics to understand physics ;)
Jheavner724 said:Exactly, although to understand many applications of Mathematics you may need Physics. Anyone that says you do not need Mathematics for Physics surely hasn't studied Physics. Learning vague concepts without the Mathematical rigor is like me saying "I know how cars work, they use gas to then the wheels, thus I understand Engineering".
nitsuj said:I suppose it's an "argument" that can't be "won".
You're right, nothing works better than math at describing physics. It is "of" observed physics via measurements. My point is the conceptual side of the physics along with the "operations" of mathematics are understood without the use of numbers.
I do accounting and sometimes finance type work. Yes there is math, and no I cannot recite the math. I understand the concepts of accounting and finance and look for the appropriate mathematics to perform simple calculations to determine what I want to know. I couldn't care less how a mathematician wishes to express this "operation".
math..pufft
nitsuj said:Ah so a mechanic does not "understand" how a car "works" unless he is also an engineer... now I am catching the drift of this topic. Well with this train of thought, really only a physicist could understand how a car works. I suppose specifically a QM physicist, the rest of us simply don't understand how the car works.
Jheavner724 said:I see your point, you can understand the basics of Physics without any math, but to understand it at it's core you must know certain mathematical subjects, mainly Calculus. For example, the Heat Equation is a differential equation, it's pretty hard to understand it if you don't know differential equations, and it is quite important for Physics. It is true that many Physicists consult with Mathematicians to help them, but the Physicists (usually) still understand the math quite well. Some Physicists avoid the Mathematics, but even they have to learn the basics like Calculus and it causes them a lot of trouble. The truth is, you don't absolutely need math to understand much of basic Physics, but to fully understand Physics and practice it you at least need Calculus.
atyy said:Would it be really terrible if one thought that calculus is essentially the following?
1) differentiation = velocity = slope of distance-time graph
2) integration = distance = area under velocity-time graph
3) differentiation and integration are inverse operations, which is obvious if you consider that "differentiating" distance gives velocity, and "integrating" velocity gives distance.
\(\displaystylenitsuj said:It \(\displaystyle is "of" observed physics via measurements.
\)
Why do you assume math is so dull and boring? Mathematics can be just as exciting as the Physics, and the two topics are so intertwined. It is obvious that not all Physics requires a knowledge of Mathematics, but for much of Physics Mathematics is required, mainly the more complicated Physics. For example, the Schrödinger equation is a Partial Differential Equation that describes how the quantum state of a system changes over time, and you simply cannot fully understand the Physics of it without at least understanding some of the Mathematics. Everyone understands what you're saying, but the truth is that anyone doing Physics needs to know Mathematics, you would probably realize this more if you were to do more Physics. But, for a bit of convincing, even professors and physicists agree that you need mathematics (to an extent) to grasp Physics, for example Professor Susskind (Stanford Physics Professor) often says "Mathematics is the language of Physics". I fully encourage anyone to love the conceptual side of Physics, but they need to know the actual Physics and Mathematics too, and they should try to embrace both sides. Hopefully this cleared things up a bit, I do not like to argue honestly.nitsuj said:I do recognize there is math in physics, I even spelled it out mathematically. I totally understand if it wasn't clear. If that's the case it's a pretty strong point I made.
physics - math = the fun part of physics
here math is a component of physics, if you remove the math part what is left over is just fun physics...not boring & tough reinvent the wheel math physics.
atyy said:Would it be really terrible if one thought that calculus is essentially the following?
1) differentiation = velocity = slope of distance-time graph
2) integration = distance = area under velocity-time graph
3) differentiation and integration are inverse operations, which is obvious if you consider that "differentiating" distance gives velocity, and "integrating" velocity gives distance.
Jheavner724 said:Why do you assume math is so dull and boring?
Many Physicists obviously will hate the mathematics, which is why some have help from a mathematician or students. However, like you say, mathematics is entirely necessary for physics, in fact economics and physics are two of the reasons that mathematics even exists. The fun of physics is understanding the universe, and we need mathematics for that, you simply cannot have physics without mathematics.micromass said:Mathematics is very interesting. But physicists don't need to like mathematics. I'm sure many do actually kind of dislike the math. But even those people know that mathematics is necessary for physics. How would you describe Quantum Physics or General Relativity without mathematics? There is almost nothing then. Is that the fun physics?
MathJakob said:I guess this is true but nobody struggles or takes as long as I do to work out a problem lol. I guess I just learn at a slower rate. There must be a time when I no longer have to keep going back to the laws to remember what I can manipulate and what I can't... but then if I truly understood it I'd know what can be moved where and how.
micromass said:How would you describe Quantum Physics or General Relativity without mathematics? There is almost nothing then.
No one should be discouraged from learning physics because of the mathematics. Mathematics can be learned though and it is how we describe things in physics, so if someone is simply going to avoid the mathematics and not try to learn it then they will never fully understand physics and probably will never be able to contribute to it. This is tough, because some people hate mathematics but love physics, the truth is that if you want to understand much of physics then you need to understand mathematics, so it may not be the most fun thing for many people but without it they can never fully understand the things they want to.nitsuj said:It's totally in spite, I would have loved to had my brain develop while learning complex math. But Nooo, math had to be all uncool & for the nerdy kids.
Joking aside, I like to push the idea that physics isn't "out of reach" simply because someone (like me) is not good at the math used to perform calculations. The interesting part of physics is what's being measured, what happened, to what degree, what caused it..on and on. Never would I ask what values & symbols are best used to perform a calculation & call that an interesting part of physics.
Jheavner724 said:No one should be discouraged from learning physics because of the mathematics. Mathematics can be learned though and it is how we describe things in physics, so if someone is simply going to avoid the mathematics and not try to learn it then they will never fully understand physics and probably will never be able to contribute to it.
nitsuj said:The underlined part is starting to clarify a definition for "Understand" and the "goal" that went from a "why" inquiry to contributing to the field of physics.
This is what I meant by an argument that cannot be won.
nitsuj said:The point I'm making is clear enough I think.
nitsuj said:Well snap, now I can say I understand calculus, just can't do the math. curse my flawed logic
nitsuj said:Suppose it isn't but I'm too tired now.
atyy said:Well, I'll probably get scolded by micromass for this, but it was from him that I learned that 57 is the Grothendieck prime So why not just use a calculator? Like http://www.wolframalpha.com/examples/Math.html ?
nitsuj said:physics - math = the fun part of physics
WannabeNewton said:Mathematics can be extremely interesting. Differential geometry is one of the most beautiful things ever developed by humans IMO. One of the main reasons why general relativity is so smack me in the face elegant is how simply the physics of general relativity can be explained using the language of differential geometry.
micromass said:Mathematics is very interesting. But physicists don't need to like mathematics. I'm sure many do actually kind of dislike the math. But even those people know that mathematics is necessary for physics. How would you describe Quantum Physics or General Relativity without mathematics? There is almost nothing then. Is that the fun physics?
Jheavner724 said:Many Physicists obviously will hate the mathematics, which is why some have help from a mathematician or students.
The reason nobody has mentioned this is because it's not politically correct to say such things. I could add some political incorrectnesses of my own, but nah. I won't go there.DiracPool said:I can't believe we're over 50 posts here and no one has mentioned that not all brains are created equal for math and physics learning, and that should not necessarily be looked at as some kind of deficit.
That's because mathematics is of limited use in the life sciences. I.M. Galfand said Eugene Wigner wrote a famous essay on the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in natural sciences. He meant physics, of course. There is only one thing which is more unreasonable than the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in physics, and this is the unreasonable ineffectiveness of mathematics in biology.Meanwhile, they were lining up for me to help them in many of the other life science classes we were in.
D H said:The reason nobody has mentioned this is because it's not politically correct to say such things. I could add some political incorrectnesses of my own, but nah. I won't go there.
dkotschessaa said:The reason physics often recruit other mathematicians to help with their work is that they require some specialized mathematics that the mathematician is fluent in, or to develop some altogether "new" type of mathematics, or to create a mathematical model of something, which requires more "mathematical intuition" than physical intuition. It's not about "hating" math. I would argue you cannot hate math and be a physicist, since you would be spending most of your time doing something you hate.
-Dave K