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Studying Math Major before Physics

  1. Jun 5, 2016 #1
    Hi, guys. I'm interested in so issues. Everyone says math provides a solid bedrock for physics, of course and other science. But does there really exist someone deciding to devote himself to physics research, but take the major in mathematics in college?
    I have heard Feynman is in the major of math initially, but later transferred to physics for he was tired of the strict proof of math. Is there any other great physics figure whose major in college is also math instead of physics?
    Thanks in advance for any opinions~
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  3. Jun 5, 2016 #2
    I am not sure, but I know that Hillbert was a mathematician who also took an interest to physics.

    I am more into pure math, but maybe look into applied math programs with an emphasis in physics. At the university I am going to attend, they offer : math, stats, applied math/ engineering, applied math/bio, and applied math/physics.
  4. Jun 5, 2016 #3


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    While Feynman undoubtedly was very talented mathematically (in fact he taught himself much college level math while still in high school), and his scores on various entrance exams and other tests bore out his talent, he enrolled at MIT as an undergrad physics major and then attended Princeton for graduate work.



    Enrico Fermi was another young man who was very talented in math as a student, and he actually began his academic career in Italy as a math major before switching to study physics:


    Stanislaw Ulam was educated and worked initially as a pure mathematician in Poland before WWII, later coming to America and being employed on the Manhattan Project. His greatest work came after the war was over and the race to build a hydrogen bomb got underway. Ulam is credited, along with Edward Teller, of conceiving of the means whereby a fusion explosion could be created. Now up to this time, Ulam's work had been focused on making calculations to support the design of the atomic bomb and later its thermonuclear brother, but the insights which Ulam provided reportedly involved deep knowledge of the physics, not just the mathematics, of thermonuclear reactions.


  5. Jun 5, 2016 #4
    Yes...I realized, and I didn't put so much emphasis on it before... Thanks for the reminder!!
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