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Math vs. Physics

  1. May 21, 2010 #1
    So I'm going into my physics major in the fall, and I'm very excited. I've been doing some serious catch up with math, and I'm realizing that I do truly enjoy the math part.

    Anyways, I had always thought of going into a theoretical physics type career (easier said than done, I know) but now I'm wondering if I should be focusing more on math for that.

    That is, I'm almost certain I will want to finish my physics major for my bachelors, but I'm wondering past that.

    Should I try and take more math classes while going for my bachelors? and should I toy with the idea of going into a mathematics masters or Ph.D?

    I'm asking simply because I truly don't know where the line is between where math ends, and physics begins.

    So I'm not 100% sure what I'm asking.. let me put it this way:

    I like the effectiveness of the application of math that physics offers, that is why I'm going into it. I want to be working on theoretical physics ideally (but that is simply because I'm not aware of anything else that is so intensive math wise) or possibly string/m theory (again I have limited knowledge at the moment). So should I be focusing more on math, or more on physics?

    I appreciate any help, I'm sure someone will be able to funnel this into a discussion, I just believe it's my lack of knowledge of the boundaries of each field that are causing me the most confusion.

    Thanks : D

    EDIT: also, would what I'm talking about be in the vecinity of Applied MAthematics? or am I mixing up the meaning?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2010 #2
    I don't know enough about Applied Mathematics other than what the name suggests, so it is probably somewhere in between. Why do you have to choose which one to focus on more? Can't you do both at the same time, just as much? If you search on places like Amazon and other local book stores you are bound to find some good resources on maths, and you could do that on the side while you complete your physics major.

    Forgive me for saying this but I read on an internet forum that theoretical physics was a difficult place to find a job in because of the sheer number of graduates, perhaps someone here can shed some light on this, because I'm also interested in doing physics at the university ( of the theoretical kind ) and would like to know about job prospects.
  4. May 21, 2010 #3
    oh yes, I've heard that it's very hard.

    From what I've heard from people I've only gotten general suggestions... That is, make connections throughout all of your education.

    Throughout your bachelors, masters, and PH.D make connections, stand out (albeit hard to do so at times). These professors and advisors are going to be the people you want to impress.

    I guess that's why I would like to advance my math skills to a point where I can pay the bills doing other math applications, while I search for the perfect theoretical job.

    and As far as doing them both, I would definitely go for that. But there are definitely some things you would want to be learning in a class room.
  5. May 23, 2010 #4
    I'm beginning to think I may double major in Math and Physics.

    Does anyone know how this works for math classes? Both majors require calc 1, 2, 3 so.. would those classes count for both majors?

    I can't call my school until monday to find out, just wondering if anyone else has done this?
  6. May 23, 2010 #5
    Yes they should count for both majors.
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