List of topics that theoretical physicist has to master?

In summary, the individual is a third-year physics undergraduate who is interested in pursuing theoretical physics. They provide a list of courses they have taken, including physics courses such as classical mechanics and quantum mechanics, as well as mathematics courses such as calculus and linear algebra. They also mention that the specific courses offered may vary depending on the focus of the physics department's research and the student's interests. Another participant in the conversation asks about advanced calculus, to which different responses are given. The summary concludes by stating that the specific courses a theoretical physicist must master may differ depending on the specific area of theory they wish to pursue.
  • #1
PHR
1
0
hello guys, this is my first post here..
i am a engineering physics undergraduate.
however i hv more interest in theoretical physics and i want to hv further study in theoretical physics. The subjects taught in my programme is like applied physics which do not hv so much theory.
I think having a good foundation of theory is extremely important.
So, i would like a ask for a list of topics that theoretical physicist has to master.
(both Mathematics and Physics topics)
also, any physics undergraduate can share their programme list?

thank you.
 
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  • #2
Course Outline

Hi There

I am currently studying physics and am in my 3rd year. Going to probably go the nuclear/theoretical stream!

With regard to my course outline:

1st year: Physics - Classical mechanics, Electricity & Magnetism, Optics, Thermodynamics
Maths - Calculus , Linear Algebra

2nd year: Physics - Advanced mechanics,Electricity/magnetism, optics. Intro
Quantum physics. Computational Physics
Maths - Advanced Calculus, Advanced Linear Algebra

3rd year: Physics - Quantum Mechanics, Magnetism, Statistical/Thermal Physics,
Relativity, Atomic & Nuclear physics, experimental physics.
Maths - Complex Analysis, Intro Topology

In my own opinion, your course outline would depend on a) the focus of your physics department's research (for example our department does not research astrophysics directly, hence there are no specific astronomy and general relativity courses) , b) Your own interests. i.e Your course choices in maths or physics will ultimately be reflected on your own long term interests. If you want to go a theoretical route then I guess mastering as much maths as you can will benefit you, but like I said i still think it depends on what you would eventually like to do.

Hope this helps!

R
 
  • #3
This is a good thread idea, thanks for posting. ^_^
 
  • #4
Riaan said:
Hi There



:

1st year: Physics - Classical mechanics, Electricity & Magnetism, Optics, Thermodynamics
Maths - Calculus , Linear Algebra

2nd year: Physics - Advanced mechanics,Electricity/magnetism, optics. Intro
Quantum physics. Computational Physics
Maths - Advanced Calculus, Advanced Linear Algebra

3rd year: Physics - Quantum Mechanics, Magnetism, Statistical/Thermal Physics,
Relativity, Atomic & Nuclear physics, experimental physics.
Maths - Complex Analysis, Intro Topology

In my own opinion, your course outline would depend on a) the focus of your physics department's research (for example our department does not research astrophysics directly, hence there are no specific astronomy and general relativity courses) , b) Your own interests. i.e Your course choices in maths or physics will ultimately be reflected on your own long term interests. If you want to go a theoretical route then I guess mastering as much maths as you can will benefit you, but like I said i still think it depends on what you would eventually like to do.

Hope this helps!

R

what is Advanced calculus? Real analysis?
 
  • #5
Sounds like Vector calculus and multivariable calculus to me. It might be differential equations
 
  • #6
Benzoate said:
what is Advanced calculus? Real analysis?

It differs from school to school; on the list in question, it would presumably be differential equations, multivariate calculus, etc. (as Hydragyrum says). At other schools, advanced calculus is an upper-division (i.e., 3rd or 4th year) course that it essentially undergraduate analysis for dummies. That is to say that actual math majors take a full-blown analysis course, and everyone else who's interested takes advanced calculus. Typical physics majors would not take either.
 
  • #7
The actual answer to the OP depends on which area of theory you actually want to pursue. HEP theory would have a very different graduate curricula than CM theory.
 

Related to List of topics that theoretical physicist has to master?

1. What is the difference between theoretical and experimental physics?

Theoretical physics is the branch of physics that uses mathematical models and principles to explain and predict natural phenomena. It is primarily concerned with developing theories and concepts to explain the fundamental laws of nature. On the other hand, experimental physics involves conducting experiments and collecting data to test and validate theories developed by theoretical physicists.

2. What are some of the main topics that theoretical physicists study?

Theoretical physicists study a wide range of topics, including classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, and relativity. They also explore topics such as particle physics, cosmology, and string theory.

3. How do theoretical physicists develop new theories?

Theoretical physicists use a combination of mathematical equations, computer simulations, and logical reasoning to develop new theories. They also draw inspiration from experimental data and observations to guide their research.

4. What skills are essential for a theoretical physicist to master?

Theoretical physicists must have a strong foundation in mathematics, including calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra. They also need to have excellent critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to think abstractly and creatively.

5. Can theoretical physicists work in other fields?

Yes, theoretical physicists can apply their skills and knowledge to various other fields, such as finance, computer science, and engineering. Many theoretical physicists also work in interdisciplinary research, collaborating with experts from other fields to solve complex problems.

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