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Mathematics Necessary for Physics Graduate Program

  1. Apr 1, 2013 #1
    So I was wondering what mathematics I will need under my belt before starting at a brand name graduate school(MIT, UChicago, UC Berkely, CalTech, Harcard, etc...) if I were going to specialize in particle or soft-matter physics.

    Thank you!!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 3, 2013 #2
    Methods of solving Partial differential equations , linear algebra , contour integration and special functions are very important .Group theory is very important in particle physics too . All the math you would need is covered in the book " Mathematics of classical and quantum physics "
     
  4. Apr 3, 2013 #3

    Rolen

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    Before starting? Well, you should really know calculus I and linear algebra. And I mean REALLY know. But, as you are going as far as to say what area you'd like to specialize, I can say to you that you're not going to need that much math beyond undergrad. Be calm, it's now like you're going to be a theorist.
     
  5. Apr 8, 2013 #4
    apolanco115: So I was wondering what mathematics I will need under my belt before starting at a brand name graduate school....if I were going to specialize in particle or soft-matter physics.

    zahero_2007: Methods of solving Partial differential equations , linear algebra , contour integration and special functions are very important .Group theory is very important in particle physics too . All the math you would need is covered in the book Mathematics of classical and quantum physics

    Rolen: Before starting? Well, you should really know calculus I and linear algebra. And I mean REALLY know. But, as you are going as far as to say what area you'd like to specialize, I can say to you that you're not going to need that much math beyond undergrad. Be calm, it's now like you're going to be a theorist.

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    Well, some of the answer is easy, as in knowing you need x amount of math classes to get a physics degree.

    Then there is knowing what an honours undergrad takes as 'extra' courses in math for a physics degree. Regardless if you take a regular major in physics, an honours in physics, go to any grad school, or an Ivy League Grad School.

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    If you got textbooks with particle physics or soft-matter/solid-state, you'll see math books mentioned as references too, as a guideline. [sometimes people only know what math they need, according to what classes they do, and how hard they found it/interesting they found it, as in i'll know more and more - slowly one semester by semester and plan accordingly]

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    Basic stuff:

    Lower Division Math Courses for a Physics Degree:

    Calculus I
    Calculus II
    Linear Algebra
    Calculus III
    Calculus IV/Vector Calculus I
    Differential Equations I [some might think that's a Higher Division class for third yera]

    Honours Physics:

    Complex Variables I

    taking most any two extra math classes at the 300s or 400s level



    some might take:
    Differential Equations II - Boundary Value problems
    Partial Differential Equations classes
    Differential Geometry Classes [some might call it vector calculus II]

    not all are gonna take extra analysis classes for mathy stuff

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    basically the best prep is complex variables and the boundary value problem courses and some partial differential equation class.

    [which could just be one complex text like Saff [or marsden or visual complex analysis] and the other two classes using Boyce/possibly a third text like Haberman for pde]

    [twenty years ago they might have dumped Courant-Hilbert on people and you scramble for math books to make that an easier read and not your only textbooks]



    some might want extra math to go beyond Goldstein and some abstract linear algebra for supporting deeper stuff in particle physics too... so Advanced Mechanics and the extra math there might be a good background for particle physics... adds to the em and particle physics stuff



    I think complex and squeezing the most out of a big diff equation text is all you need, or taking the plunge with 1-15 pde books like some frootloops do. [where they use 4 pde books at the same time]
     
  6. Apr 8, 2013 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    It's much simpler than others here would make it. Take a look at what the schools you are interested in recommend for their own graduates and take that.
     
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