Is Geometry necessary for understanding Physics?

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In summary, all mathematics that you learn in school is essential to physics. The only exception may be university level topics that are of secondary importance.
  • #1
Stratosphere
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What specific types of math are essential to physics? I have a Geometry book but I think most of it is useless information, in school we never go through the ENTIRE book only some of it, is that because some of it is useless?
 
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  • #2
All mathematics that you learn in school is essential to physics. There may be some university level topics that are of secondary importance, but everything you learn in school is absolutely essential and basic.
 
  • #3
I want to study my self though. I am not sure what to learn and what not to learn. I am looking for some guidance on the subject.
 
  • #4
Stratosphere said:
I am not sure what to learn and what not to learn.

You need to master everything that's presented in high school (algebra, geometry, trigonometry) before you can study calculus.
 
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  • #5
Stratosphere said:
in school we never go through the ENTIRE book only some of it, is that because some of it is useless?

No, it's because different teachers (or schools) cover different sets of topics, and the publisher wants to "sell" the book to as many teachers as possible. In any subject, most teachers agree (more or less) on a basic set of "core" topics that they absolutely must cover, but beyond that there is disagreement on "extra" topics.

"Extra" does not necessarily mean "useless" or "unimportant"! It simply means that there is not enough time in any course to cover everything that could be important for some purpose. At some point, every student has to learn on his own, material that was not covered in one of his courses, and this is where the "extra" material in textbooks becomes useful.
 
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  • #6
Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus (I, II, and III in a university), vector analysis, linear algebra, differential equations, partial differential equations...
I think that covers a good amount, would you say?
 
  • #7
jtbell said:
"Extra" does not necessarily mean "useless" or "unimportant"! It simply means that there is not enough time in any course to cover everything that could be important for some purpose. At some point, every student has to learn on his own, material that was not covered in one of his courses, and this is where the "extra" material in textbooks becomes useful.


Seconded.

I will also repeat what others have said, until you have mastered everything covered in school there is no point spending time studying other subjects. If, however you're finding that you're very comfortable with the school level material and would like some guidance on what extra subjects you can do, that's a different question to ask.
 
  • #8
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  • #9
ZapperZ said:
Look at Mary Boas's text "Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences", which https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=230281" in this forum. I'd say at least 3/4 of the mathematics covered in that text are what one WILL need as a physics major.

Zz.

just out of curiosity, what from that book do you think is unnecessary for a physics major?
 
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  • #10
Well I think there are some other posts on this forum you should look through.
Check the very top posts in this forum, the sticky posts. They should prove helpful for you to read through. "So you Want to be a Physicist..." comes to mind.

Having used Boas's book I can't think of anything off the top of my head that is not useful to physics but at the same time I think it depends on what field within physics you go into. Surely all the math found in there can be used in different areas but will you end up using 100% of what is in that book? maybe not.
 
  • #11
Here this should make it even easier; read through the article found at the following link as it contains a LOT of good advice

http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=df5w5j9q_5gj6wmt"
 
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1. What is the relationship between math and physics?

Math and physics are closely intertwined, with math providing the language and tools for understanding the physical world. Many physical concepts and laws can be described and predicted using mathematical equations.

2. How important is math in studying physics?

Math is essential to understanding and solving problems in physics. Without a strong foundation in math, it is nearly impossible to fully comprehend the concepts and theories of physics.

3. Which branches of math are most important for physics?

Some of the most important branches of math for physics include calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, and vector calculus. These branches are used to describe motion, forces, and other fundamental concepts in physics.

4. Is it possible to study physics without being good at math?

While it is possible to study some aspects of physics without being an expert in math, a strong understanding of math is crucial for truly grasping the concepts and making accurate predictions. It is recommended to have a solid foundation in math before delving into physics.

5. How can I improve my math skills for physics?

Practice is key when it comes to improving math skills for physics. Work through practice problems and seek help from a tutor or teacher if needed. Additionally, understanding the applications of math in physics can help make the concepts more tangible and easier to understand.

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