Most important math classes for physics?

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  • #1
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I'll be applying for graduate programs in physics and chemical physics in about 2 years, and I want to do research in statistical mechanics, particularly thermodynamics of fluids, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, nonlinear dynamics, and other fields related to this.

I have time to squeeze in a few more math classes, but not all of them. So far I have taken up to calc 3, ODE, linear algebra, statistics, and a course on Mathematica programming.


I have enough room to choose from 4 of the courses below. I will learn on my own whatever I miss.

Abstract vector spaces (a linear/abstract algebra course)
PDE I
PDE II
Real analysis I
Real analysis II
Numerical analysis
Complex analysis
Variational calculus
Nonlinear dynamics and chaos I
Nonlinear dynamics and chaos II
Probability theory
Abstract algebra
Mathematical methods in physics I
Mathematical methods in physics II


Out of all of these, which ones will be most useful for a career in physics research? I can only choose four.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
ZombieFeynman
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You're best served by talking to an advisor in the physics department at your school. If I were in your position with your stated goals, however, I would consider Complex Analysis, Numerical Methods, Nonlinear Dynamics I, and either Nonlinear Dynamics 2 or perhaps PDE I.
 
  • #3
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just take the mathematical physics, one of the PDE classes (if not already covered) and numerical analysis classes. They will teach you the useful parts and you can self learn other stuff.
 

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