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Minor doubts

  1. Aug 24, 2011 #1


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    Hi there,

    I've completed my first year studying physics an now I have to choose a minor. I'm down to choosing between mathematics and chemistry, and I hope to get some advice from you guys.

    The reason I'd study chemistry is because it's interesting, it blends quite well with physics (or so it seems to me) especially in the use of thermodynamics, which I find a very interesting subject. A minor in chemistry also seems easier then one in mathematics.

    The reasons for choosing mathematics are also my interests, though perhaps not to the same extent as (some of the courses offered in) chemistry. Other than that it feels important to know analysis, to know what calculus really is. Also I know algebra is very important in modern physics. Studying mathematics will make me more comfortable with mathematics (duh) which should help me with physics in general. (You know, physics is always more fun when the mathematics doesn't consume all you attention and work.)

    My grades for Calculus, and intro course to proofs (Combinatorics, little number theory, real numbers etc.) and linear algebra are (very) good, but for algebraic structures I had the absolute minimum passing grade, so algebra would be a little scary perhaps.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 24, 2011 #2


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    One thing you should keep in mind is that most physics majors have to take so many math courses that they're only a few courses away from a minor just by there nature, so the math minor might only require one or two more courses beyond what is already required by your physics major.

    That said, a chemistry minor couldn't hurt and could potentially be helpful if you plan on going into research in condensed matter experiment or biological physics.
  4. Aug 24, 2011 #3
    Your proofs are probably lacking. Try to read a book called How to prove it by Daniel Velleman.

    Just take Maths. You gonna find it very hard to do atomic physics, QM and mostly all of physics if you don't improve algebra. Just in atomic physics you need heavy group theory to understand the particle zoo.

    Also, if your linear algebra is good then in away you probably just suck at proofs and that is easily fixed.
  5. Aug 26, 2011 #4


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    Thank you, simplicity123 and G01, that was very helpful.
    I've started working through "How to prove it", and it is indeed illuminating to say the least. Upon seeing the subject matter of the first chapter I thought "pfffft, seriously, truth tables? I know all about that!" Well... obviously I didn't. I'm looking forward to reading the later chapters, thank a lot for that suggestion!.

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