• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

Mathematics to Understand other Fields of Science

  • #1
278
0

Main Question or Discussion Point

Just like calculus (single as well as multi-variable) and linear algebra are not only useful but really similar to classical mechanics. What are the branches of mathematics that I need to know in order to have that same feeling of deja-vu when studying electricity/magnetism and waves/optics? I remember taking those classes in high school, but I forgot most of it.. I forgot most of mechanics as well, but now that I retook that class in college, focusing primarily on calculus, I feel like I really learned something as opposed to memorising a few of formulas and constants.
I know that calculus probably has a lot to do with both waves and electricity, but are there any other additional things I should know? Complex analysis, group theory?

Thanks!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
mathman
Science Advisor
7,800
430
A partial list: differential equations, Fourier analysis, probability theory (maybe - certainly for quantum theory)
 
  • #3
529
28
For E&M specifically, vector calculus. I firmly believe that the math you understand influences the way you understand physics. You can learn a lot about physic without too much math, but the more math you learn, the better off you'll be.

Group theory probably won't help except for QM and higher level Mechanic. I'm pretty certain that you can do well in an undergrad physics program with minimal understanding of group theory or formal complex analysis.

Take a math-methods course if your school offers one. That will cover a lot of different areas of math without the rigor involved in a normal math class (by all means, take the full math classes if you can afford the time).
 
  • #4
529
28
For E&M specifically, vector calculus. I firmly believe that the math you understand influences the way you understand physics. You can learn a lot about physic without too much math, but the more math you learn, the better off you'll be.

Group theory probably won't help except for QM and higher level Mechanic. I'm pretty certain that you can do well in an undergrad physics program with minimal understanding of group theory or formal complex analysis.

Take a math-methods course if your school offers one. That will cover a lot of different areas of math without the rigor involved in a normal math class (by all means, take the full math classes if you can afford the time).
 
  • #5
529
28
Don't know why that posted twice. I'm going to try double clicking from now on and see if I can do it again.
 

Related Threads on Mathematics to Understand other Fields of Science

Replies
21
Views
4K
Replies
66
Views
8K
Replies
3
Views
3K
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
1K
Top