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Mathematician vs Physicist

  1. Mar 15, 2010 #1


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    Let's assume that I were looking for someone academic and intelligent -- and along came a mathematician and a physicist, and I'd have to choose between the two. Which is valued more, and why?

    I ask this because we get problems in mathematics that are very textbook-related, and we are asked to solve problems using mathematical models every once in a while. Whereas problems in physics seem to require much more thought, to be honest. I have also always been in awe of how much a physics teacher knows compared to a mathematics teacher -- why is this? I ask this because pretty much every one of my peers agrees.

    So which is better -- a mathematician, or a physicist?

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2010 #2


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    Which is better? Neither.

    Looking for someone intelligent? Either.

    Which is more valued? Depends.

    Does that help? :smile:
  4. Mar 15, 2010 #3
    It depends on what you value. Also at what level are you? Matters a lot.
  5. Mar 15, 2010 #4
    Looking for what?

    If you are hiring people then you want to hire the person you don't have already. If you have a physicist on the team, then you hire the mathematician. If you already have a mathematician on the team, then you hire the physicist. Also, it may but that what you really need is neither a physicist or mathematician but rather an ex-football coach.

    That's because you are reading a textbook. Things are totally different when you are *writing* textbooks. One other thing is that there is also a difference in skill sets between mathematicians and mathematics teachers. Also one thing that I've found is that really, really good mathematics teachers sometimes seem a lot less brilliant than they really are. The reason for this is that if you have a really, really good mathematics teacher, what they talk about seems totally trivially obvious, which means them see less intelligent.

    I had a brilliant math teacher that taught set theory, and he made it seem *incredibly* trivial. It seems so easy that you wondered why people even bothered teaching that stuff. Until one day, he had a cold, and his assistant taught the class, and then you realized how brilliant the math teacher was.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2010
  6. Mar 15, 2010 #5
    Just curious, are there any books you'd recommend for self-learning set theory?
    I have the book Axiomatic Set Theory by Patrick Suppes, have you come across it by any chance?
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