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Math Methods as a freshman

  1. Nov 19, 2014 #1
    I am a second-semester undergraduate in Physics and I have been looking to do some extra course work in my major beyond the intro course sequence. I took what was basically the equivalent of AP physics in high school, but the program at my university STRONGLY recommends that all physics majors retake the advanced levels of the intro physics sequence. I have decided to heed this recommendation but I want to do more if I can. There is a course at my university, considered a sophomore level, that is focused on mathematics methods in physics and it introduces: complex analysis, differential operators, integral transforms, ODE's and PDE's and special functions. The plan of study generally recommends taking this class after multivariable and the intro course sequence in the fourth semester. I emailed the professor and he gave me permission to take the course, however he warned that no freshman has ever taken the class before and encouraged me to look through the course materials on the previous years course website if i decided to enroll. Looking through these materials, it appears challenging, but not completely over my head. My math background includes through multivariable calculus and will be taking DiffEQ next semester as well. Does taking this course sound like a bad idea? Any advice would be most appreciated.
     
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  3. Nov 20, 2014 #2

    Orodruin

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    It is difficult to give you particular advice as it all depends on your situation. The worst thing that could happen would be that you get in over your head and fail both subjects. If you feel confident that you will not fail (or get the grade you really want in) the physics course, I do not see any harm in trying to do the extra credit.
     
  4. Nov 20, 2014 #3
    My situation was identical to yours freshman year (except I didn't retake intro courses). Math methods was a fun class and I would strongly encourage you to take it next semester. It's not like further Physics courses are going to be easier than an intro math methods course so you might as well get used to it. Furthermore, don't let the professor discourage you from taking the class as a Freshman since that is not at all uncommon for people coming from an AP Physics background.
     
  5. Nov 20, 2014 #4
    Thanks very much for both of your replies, i think i am going to take the course. I feel like I'm one of the few freshman physics majors at my university that is in love with the math AND the physics, not just the concepts of physics.
     
  6. Nov 20, 2014 #5

    Fredrik

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    Since you have studied calculus, I see no reason to think that you would find it too difficult. My only concern is that courses like this are sometimes taught by physicists who only know how to do the calculations, and don't understand the proofs. But I guess the point of the course is to give you an overview, so that you can decide for yourself later if you want (or need) to take real math courses about these topics.
     
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