Math Methods Vs. Analysis Track

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  • #1
Ethan Klein
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Hi Everyone,

I am transferring to Cal in the fall for Engineering Physics and am currently deciding which math track to take. The first option is to enroll in math 121A/121B, which are mathematical methods courses for scientists and engineers (covers series, complex numbers/integration, PDE's, etc, in an applied manner). My other option is to enroll in math 104/185, which are real/complex analysis, respectively.

In the long run, I plan to go to grad school for materials science, primarily focussing on research in batteries and solid state devices. While I do enjoy pure mathematics, I want to enroll in math courses that will prepare me for what is to come in my junior and senior years and beyond (QM, E&M, Solid State, MatSci, etc). Among the profs and advisers I have spoken to, the general consensus is to go for the math methods track. However, I am curious to know if forgoing real/complex analysis will hamper me in any future courses (especially those that are math/physics related) and/or my understanding of upper div/grad level material?

Thank you!
 

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  • #2
jasonRF
Science Advisor
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Among the profs and advisers I have spoken to, the general consensus is to go for the math methods track.
I agree with your advisors. Also, in most cases your adviser will give you better advice than random people on the internet.

However, I am curious to know if forgoing real/complex analysis will hamper me in any future courses (especially those that are math/physics related) and/or my understanding of upper div/grad level material?
1 minute on Google tells me that the math 121 sequence covers complex analysis:
https://math.berkeley.edu/courses/fall-2019-math-121a-001-lec
The other topics covered in the math methods courses (integral transforms, PDEs, series solutions to ODEs and special functions, calculus of variations, etc) are way more useful than real analysis. However, once you have taken the math methods courses, if you still really want to learn real analysis and it fits in your schedule then you can go ahead and take it for fun. Just note that a real analysis course will not help with the vector calculus (or almost any other subject, for that matter) you will use in your upper division physics courses.

jason
 

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