# Mathematics in physics

JWHooper
How many mathematics are there in physics? Please give me the answer in percentage.

Thanks,

JWHooper

Defennder
Homework Helper
You can't quantify it. Read Zapper's guide to get a rough idea.

between 37 and 41

JWHooper
You can't quantify it. Read Zapper's guide to get a rough idea.
Dude, there are millions of words in that website (not to be rude or anything), I don't want all other information that I don't really need right now... I just want to know the approximate percentage of mathematics in physics. Or, you could tell me where in that website that tells me the "sort of" answer to my wanted question to be answered. Anyone could help me out here, if possible.

Thanks,

J.

I really don't know how to quantify that. Perhaps pick up a physics book and see how many math equation there is inside? But seriously, you just have to deal with the math if you want to study physics.

There is a finite but unbounded amount of mathematics. Think of it like the surface of a balloon...

jtbell
Mentor
I just want to know the approximate percentage of mathematics in physics.

Does this mean, "What percentage of all mathematics is used somewhere in physics", or does it mean "What percentage of physics uses mathematics?"

He might be asking for a coefficient of correlation between mathematics ability and physics scores. That would tell him how much of being a successful physicist overlaps with mathematics.

Perhaps the collegeboard publishes a statistic like that?

And perhaps he wants to know how many mathematicians work in physics? As a percentage of mathematicians, and as a percentage of physicists.

I love questions which have an infinite number of meanings.

nicksauce
Homework Helper
Or it could mean, what percentage of physics problems are solved used mathematics of some kind, in which case I would say roughly 100%.

The question may be interpreted with an infinite number of meanings, and yet ultimately the question itself was profoundly meaningless. How zen.

Perhaps this should be moved to philosophy

(and promptly locked once it arrives)

Hmmm... Joking aside, I'm curious if anyone has a correlation between physics grades and math grades? Or physics SAT subject test and Math SAT subject test.

I'm not an expert by far, but as far as I have understood:

For undergraduate physics you need about as much math as what is normally covered in the first year of a undergraduate maths degree. Which would be Calculus I & II, Linear algebra and some Geometry and a bit of Statistics.

Beyond that I guess you need to tailor the math to what you study.

k

malawi_glenn
Homework Helper
Well I have done 33% math classes, but you use the math in your physics classes and computing classes all the time (the language of physics is math). But you can of course study more math if you want, but at least a lot of plain calculus, linear algebra and statistics is a minimum.

The language of physics is mathematics. In order to study physics seriously, one needs to learn mathematics that took generations of brilliant people centuries to work out. Let us start from the top shall we?
1. Algebra
2. Geometry
3. Trigonometry
4. Calculus (single variable)
5. Calculus (multi variable)
6. Analytic Geometry
7. Linear Algebra
8. Ordinary Differential Equations
9. Partial Differential Equations
10. Methods of approximation
11. Probability and statistics
Now, for those more inclined for advanced topics in theoretical work, there are a couple more tools you need...
1. Real analysis
2. Complex analysis
3. Group theory
4. Differential geometry
5. Lie groups
6. Differential forms
7. Homology
8. Cohomology
9. Homotopy
10. Fiber bundles
11. Characteristic classes
12. Index theorems
13. Supersymmetry and supergravity
As far as the cutting edge of theory goes (string theory), I may as well throw these in too...
1. K-theory
2. Noncommutative geometry (NCG for short)
I didn't think the question was very ambiguous at all.

Dude, there are millions of words in that website

Hah, that's awesome. Clearly this mathematically minded person deserves a numerical percentage answer, and fast. We should be ashamed we haven't provided a good one, and shown our work to boot.

I didn't think the question was very ambiguous at all.

JWHooper
Does this mean, "What percentage of all mathematics is used somewhere in physics", or does it mean "What percentage of physics uses mathematics?"
Yes, I meant my question to be:
"What percentage of physics uses mathematics?"

Yes, I meant my question to be:
"What percentage of physics uses mathematics?"
One hundred.

JWHooper
One hundred.
Umm okay. That's bigger than I expected it would be.

To all the other users: is this guy telling the truth? Please reply in a numerical percentage answer, not just some worthless words that I don't need.

Umm okay. That's bigger than I expected it would be.

To all the other users: is this guy telling the truth? Please reply in a numerical percentage answer, not just some worthless words that I don't need.

What he said is 90% true.

nicksauce
Homework Helper
There is no branch of physics that doesn't use mathematics. Why do you think there would be? Some might say that the point of physics is to model nature mathematically, which would of course be impossible without using mathematics.

I concur that the answer to "What percentage of physics uses mathematics?" is 100%.

100% Ftw

jtbell
Mentor
Well, maybe not 100%. Maybe more like 99.44%.