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Linear Algebra & Discrete Math

  1. Mar 25, 2008 #1
    From experienece, are these two courses really important to someone looking to major in physics? I've read the "So you want to be a physicist" guide, but if I work with the book Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences, will it be enough to make it through the upper level physics courses (as opposed to general physics)? I'm currently taking discrete math but I find the proofs extremely boring. Though I seem to do great with the applications in calc & calc based stats that I've taken. So I'm just curious as to if I should bother taking Linear Algebra if its just going to end up being more proofs. Also besides differential equations, are there any other math courses I should be looking to take that would be helpful down the line? I would eventually like to go to grad school as well, if that factors in at all.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2008 #2


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    You definitely need to take Linear Algebra, and I'd be very surprised if your physics department left it as an option. (unless they combined linear alg. and diff. eq. into one class which a lot of big universities do)
  4. Mar 25, 2008 #3
    Yeah, linear algebra is just so important for any field of science, whether it's engineering, physics or biology.
  5. Mar 25, 2008 #4

    Tom Mattson

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    Linear algebra is a lot more important than discrete math. The only things from discrete math that I've ever needed in a physics derivation are basic logic and proof by induction.
  6. Mar 25, 2008 #5
    discrete math is a class for computer scientists not physicists
  7. Mar 26, 2008 #6
    Thanks for the replies. Looks like I'm taking Linear Algebra then ^_^.

    The thing is with discrete, it is a prereq for linear. I'm guessing because of having to write proofs. Otherwise it seems to be a total waste of time... mathematical induction was done back in pre-calc at my school.
  8. Mar 26, 2008 #7
    Discrete a pre req for Linear? Is this the first linear course, or some higher course? I only needed some calculus (which I didn't even use) for LA.
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