Mathematics in physics

  • Thread starter JWHooper
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  • #26
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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.
  • Pointless questions deserve pointless answers. :rolleyes:
  • I had to spell out 100 because Physics Forums has a minimum post length of 4 characters. :rofl:
  • A tongue-in-cheek answer can still be true. A defining feature of physics is that it is a quantitative science, so it follows that all physics (i.e. 100%) uses mathematics of some sort or another.
 
  • #27
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Well, maybe not 100%. Maybe more like 99.44%. :biggrin:
Does the excluded 0.56% consist of all of the "Physics for Poets" courses in the world? :biggrin:
 
  • #28
George Jones
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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.

Using what metric? This is an impossible task.
 
  • #29
JWHooper
So, that means a math genius (approximately equals to) physics genius?
 
  • #30
tmc
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No. There's also a lot of stuff which isn't math.

Physics needs math AND non-math skills.
 
  • #31
ZapperZ
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So, that means a math genius (approximately equals to) physics genius?

This is getting sillier by the minute.

Do you also think that someone who is an expert at using a power drill automatically then also has the same expertise at building a skyscraper, just because a power drill is a tool used to build a skyscraper? That makes no sense.

Mathematics is a necessary tool to do physics and engineering. Period! Physics isn't just about saying "What goes up, must come down". It also involves when and where it comes down, and that means there has to be quantitative values. Without mathematics, you cannot do that latter. And without mathematics, all our description will be hand-waving arguments with no means of accurate verification.

There is one easy way for you to verify what has been said here. Go to a library, or even a book store. Look up the textbooks covering the "3 basic pillars" of physics - Classical Mechanics (Marion, Symon), Quantum Mechanics (Griffith, Liboff), and Classical Electromagnetism (Griffith). I've listed the representative authors of the textbooks at the undergraduate level in parenthesis for each of the subject matter. Open these books and convince yourself if mathematics is needed or not, and if you need to also be good at it. This, more than anything else, is the only convincing evidence there is. If you aren't convinced by it, then no amount of talking in here will do it.

Zz.
 
  • #32
nicksauce
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So, that means a math genius (approximately equals to) physics genius?

In the same way that 100% of architects eat food, therefore all great chefs are great architects.
 
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  • #33
JWHooper
Thanks to you two for reply.

But, other people said that percentage of physics that include mathematics is 100%. Thus, a math genius could be a physics genius, but now one of you said that also non-math skills are required for physics, which I assume 0.001% of physics is non-math skills, but it has to be greater than 0.001%!!! No way!!!!

I am at Korea right now, so I have to check out those books in library when I get back to the states. Thanks for the advice on the book titles you gave to me.
 
  • #34
tmc
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Just because 100% of physics includes mathematics, doesn't mean that it doesn't include other stuff too.

100% of construction uses power drills, too. 100% of construction also uses nails.
 
  • #35
ZapperZ
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Thanks to you two for reply.

But, other people said that percentage of physics that include mathematics is 100%. Thus, a math genius could be a physics genius, but now one of you said that also non-math skills are required for physics, which I assume 0.001% of physics is non-math skills, but it has to be greater than 0.001%!!! No way!!!!

Why would this matter what percentage is needed? You NEED Math! What's the difficulty in understanding that fact? Who cares what "percentage", as if this has any meaning!

Of all the things you need to be concerned about, this is one of the most puzzling aspect to waste your time on.

Zz.
 
  • #36
JWHooper
Yeah dude, I am worrying too much about concerning physics. I like mathematics and computer science, so I was just curious about physics, that's all.

And tmc, thanks for the reply. It makes sense now, kind of.
 
  • #37
nicksauce
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How do you want to deconstruct physics?
a) Each branch of physics?
b) Each subbranch of a branch, that a typical physicist might do their work in?
c) Each problem a physicist might work on?
d) Each thought a physicist might have while working on a problem?

If a, b, or c, then physics is roughly 100% math. If d, then physics is not all math, because certain 'physicist skills' like a good physical and geometrical intuition, might be used. If you would like I can open a textbook, find a random problem, and jot down all my thoughts while doing it.

But as ZapperZ says, really who cares? Doing mathematics is a pre-requisite for doing physics. I think a better question would be what skills do mathematicians and physicists differ in and which do they have in common?, rather than what percentage of physics is math?.
 
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  • #38
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And yet you failed to report your answer as a percentage.
Yea... I guess I did.
 
  • #39
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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.

JWHooper, If you can look at that post and realize how many words there are without counting, which you did, then you have enough mathematical ability to do physics. The only catch is you have to be accurate to one part in a billion trillion, which you probably were.
 
  • #40
MathematicalPhysicist
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Sheneron, you described there a psychotic behaviour, that's how you think of physics?!
(-:
 

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