Math vs. Physics: Is Math Before Physics Worth It?

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In summary, the individual is in a unique situation where they must serve in the army for three years after high school in Israel. During this time, they cannot attend a regular university and can only study at the Open University. However, the individual is interested in studying physics, but the Open University only offers a program called "General Sciences" that does not count towards a physics degree in other universities and includes subjects that are not of interest. The other option is to study math, which could potentially be helpful in pursuing physics later on. The conversation also touches on the importance of having a strong foundation in math for studying physics and the possibility of self-studying physics with prior knowledge of math. The individual's friend from Israel was able to study
  • #1
daniel_i_l
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Hi, I'm in an "interesting" situation now. I live in Israel and have to serve in the army for the three years after high school. during that time you can't learn in a regular university - only in something called Open University. Now I'm really interested in learning physics but they don't really have a physics program there, only something called "General Sciences" which don't count towards a physics degree in other universities and includes a lot of stuff that arn't very interesting to me. the other option is math. Would it be worth it to do a full math degree or atleast part of one before going on to learn physics? how much would this help me in physics later?
Thanks.
 
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  • #2
Getting ahead in math is very helpful in pursuing Physics. Most students must learn the math and Physics simultaneously, if you have the math ahead of time it improves your ability to learn the Physics. Be sure to concentrate on Differential Equations if you plan to study Physics later.
 
  • #3
If you can do math, you can physics.

If you can do physics, you wish you could do math.

*takes cover*
 
  • #4
Office_Shredder said:
If you can do math, you can physics.

If you can do physics, you wish you could do math.

*takes cover*

One of the reasons for the latter is that the maths in physics gets very complicated very quickly. There is a very big difference between first and second year physics in terms of maths content.
 
  • #5
I would definitely go for the math.
 
  • #6
I'd emigrate.
 
  • #7
Go for the math.

I am curious as to what the math curriculum consists of, and also how your military program works. You serve for 3 years, right? Do you take courses the entire time that you serve? In other words do you get to go to 3 years of school? How many classes do you take per semester. And what classes would you take for each semester for the math program?
 
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  • #8
maths, since it is the base of Physics. You can always self-study physics with sufficient knowledge of maths. The converse is hardly true.
 
  • #9
leon1127 said:
You can always self-study physics with sufficient knowledge of maths. The converse is hardly true.

Good point.
 
  • #10
wisdom before beauty.
 
  • #11
I had a friend from Israel and he was so ahead of me in everything. He hadn't even finished high school and was doing calc III and differential Equations and also was an excellent programmer.

I don't know what he would do once he got to college because he already was so good. He also told me he had to go to the military for 3 years once he graduated high school.

Do they offer you a lot of math in high school if you can do it or was this person exceptional?
 
  • #12
mr coffee: In Israel the normal math class is divided into 3 levels. the most advanced group usually covers up to calc II and sometimes lin alg. but the smartest kids can go to an even more advanced program were you finish about 2/3 of a B.C. in math by 12 grade. that's probably what your friend did.

Nothing000: yes, you do three years of service. in the most basic program - a "fighting" unit you don't really have time to study in a normal university, only the "open university". there're also other programs like intelligence units which are much more fun but they last for 4 years. then there're other programs were you can finish a B.C. in what ever you want before the army. the catch is that you have to serve for 6 years after that in the field that you chose. since i don't wan't to be in the army for more than 3 years I'm going for the first option. in the open university you don't have to go to classes - only tests. you can take as many classes as you want if you have enough time. i'll probably have enough time for 2 courses per trimester = 6 per year so during the 3 years i'll almost finish the degree.
 
  • #13
You can't learn physics without math, but you can certainly learn math without physics. Start with the math.
 
  • #14
Just another predictable opinion - math.
 

Related to Math vs. Physics: Is Math Before Physics Worth It?

1. What is the difference between math and physics?

Math is a field that deals with abstract concepts and relationships, while physics is the study of the natural world and its laws. Math is often used as a tool in physics to describe and explain physical phenomena.

2. Is it necessary to have a strong math foundation before studying physics?

Yes, a strong understanding of math is essential for studying physics. Many of the concepts in physics, such as calculus and algebra, require a strong foundation in math to fully understand and apply them.

3. Can you study physics without a strong background in math?

While it is possible to study physics without a strong math background, it can make the learning process more challenging. A strong foundation in math will allow for a deeper understanding of the concepts and make problem-solving easier.

4. Which should I study first, math or physics?

It is generally recommended to study math before physics, as math provides the necessary tools and concepts for understanding and solving problems in physics. However, some basic concepts in physics, such as motion and forces, can be studied without a strong math background.

5. Are there any benefits to studying math before physics?

Studying math before physics can provide a strong foundation for understanding advanced concepts in physics. It can also help develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for success in physics and other scientific fields.

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