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Mathematics self-study

  1. Oct 25, 2008 #1
    I'm a biochemistry major who's interested in continuing my studies of mathematics on my own time, mainly for time and monetary reasons (school's getting more expensive) and because I think competence in math can be helpful in other areas. At my university I'm required to go through a full year of calculus and of my own choice I will be taking a linear algebra course and most likely a course in differential equations to prepare myself for the quantum mechanics requirement.

    With that said, I'm looking for advice on a list of topics that I can study one at a time in an order that makes sense.

    My order so far goes like this:
    1 year calculus course
    Intro Linear Algebra

    Thanks for any help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 25, 2008 #2


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    Gold Member

    I know that the University of Michigan offers a class called "Mathematical Methods in Chemical Engineering." A course like that would probably be beneficial to you, and the resources are pretty readily available online.

    Course Description: "Linear algebra, ordinary and partial differential equations, integral equations with chemical engineering applications. Analytical techniques and preliminaries for numerical methods, including: spectral analysis, orthogonal polynomials, Green's functions, separation of variables, existence and uniqueness of solutions."
  4. Oct 25, 2008 #3
    There's a course similar like that at my university "Mathematical Methods for Chemists" which uses McQuarrie's Mathematical Methods for Scientists and Engineers book. Ultimately the main reason I'm interested is because I think that a mind used to thinking inside a mathematical framework would be beneficial to my field. That's why I want to continue learning into higher mathematics.
  5. Oct 25, 2008 #4


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    Unless your 1-year calculus course includes multi-variable calculus, you may need some of that before differential equations
  6. Oct 25, 2008 #5
    It most certainly does. Functions of several variables, geometry of space, etc. A pretty typical calc 3 course IIRC.

    I drafted a preliminary list based on some of the classes offered at my university:
    Discrete math
    Number theory
    Abstract algebra
    Complex/Functional analysis
    -more stuff if i have time-

    But then again, that's just from looking at a course list and seeing what requirements for which class were what. Given that I would be doing it one at a time there might be a better order.
  7. Oct 26, 2008 #6


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    Real analysis in place of number theory? (He says at the risk is annoying all the number theorists) - I can't see a lot of use for number theory in your area, but can definitely see analysis used, and it will be needed before complex and functional analysis.
  8. Oct 26, 2008 #7
    So a more revised list:
    Discrete math
    Real analysis
    Abstract Algebra
    Complex/Functional analysis
    -other things like number theory-

    While I'm at it, does anybody have suggestions for good books with lots of problems and worked examples?
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