Multivariable Calculus and E&M Over Summer?

In summary, the conversation discusses the idea of taking accelerated courses over the summer to get introductory courses out of the way, but also expresses concerns about sacrificing a full understanding of the material. The person seeking advice is currently in their second semester of freshman year and is enrolled in physics and calculus courses. They have performed well in their previous calculus course and are more concerned about the physics course. The conversation also includes a recommendation for a book on vector calculus and a discussion about the importance of this subject in various fields. Ultimately, the conversation suggests that while 3-4 months may not be enough time to fully grasp the material, it is still worth taking the course and seeking additional resources for understanding.
  • #1
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Is this a bad idea?

I want to get my intro courses out of the way, but don't want to sacrifice a full understanding.
 
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  • #2
Where are you starting from?
 
  • #3
Not sure what you mean, but I will assume you're asking my course background and what my class standing is.

I'm currently in my second semester of my freshman year, enrolled in (among other things) physics I (elementary mechanics) and calculus 2 (single variable). Last semester I got an A in calculus I and will likely get the same this semester.

Feel free to ask for more info -- want a good answer, not just an answer =p
 
  • #4
Here's a course description of the normal spring/fall version of the course.

http://www.physics.umn.edu/courses/2011/spring/Phys%201302W.200/syllabus.html?item=65021 edit: it is apparently four months (bottom of the page -- tentative schedule), and the summer session version is from 05/23/2011 to 08/19/2011.. Basically 3 months

edit 2.0: from above I'm sure you gathered that I am more concerned about the physics course than the calculus course...I'm not really worried about not having sufficient time to grasp all of the calculus concepts fully.
 
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  • #5
OK what you are talking about is commonly called Vector Calculus.

You won't understand it all in 3/4 months. If you can become (semi) proficient in the agebraic manipulations you will be doing well.

Note well this comment in the course prospectus

The material you learn in this course will be important to you throughout your working life in any science-related career.

The vector calculus is directly transferable/applicable to many areas of physics so well worth getting on top of. Especially as you will meet it again and again.

It's a big chunk of material, so don't worry if you don't get it all first time round, proficiency will come with practice.

As I reckon that a gentle text just covering the main points is a vital adjunct to heavyweight course books, there is one additional (old) book I'd recommend if you can get hold of an old copy.

Div, Grad, Curl and all That
An informal Text on Vector Calculus.

By H M Schey

From the introduction:

In this text the subject of vector calculus is presented in the context of simple electrostatics. We follow this procedure for two reasons. First, much of vector calculus was invented for use in electromagnetic theory and is well suited to it...Second we have deep seated conviction that mathematics is best discussed in context. Thus we will soft pedal the mathematical rigour, which we think is an obstacle to learning...

So you will get the baby version of both subjects in one small book!

go well
 
  • #6
I deleted my comment on the book as it doesn't matter.

Anyway to the OP. I don't think 3 months is too short.

Trimester schools only have 3 month terms and if I am understanding your semester system correctly you won't be covering any more then what trimester schools do in a normal term.
 
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  • #7
Well, your argument seems to be, "No 3 or 4 months is not enough time. I would not recommend that you take vector calculus over the accelerated summer session."

My problem with this answer is:
a) basically every university that runs on a semester calendar has 4 month semesters (give or take a week).
b) I'm more concerned with an answer regarding physics II/E&M. I'm going to talk to my current calculus instructor about vector/multivariable calculus

My question was, regarding physics, if losing a month of this evidently limited time would be enough, in your opinion, to merit not taking the course over the summer.
 
  • #8
I don't mean to be discouraging, especially given your stated track record to date.

Just that at university you have large quantities of material thrust at you to to digest and that this subject contains more than most. You just don't get the time to achieve the level of familiarity and understanding that you probably managed in High School / College. That comes with later reflection and use (sometimes it takes years).

You should be able to get a good feel for it in the timescale, which will stand you in good stead in the future, certainly sufficient for good exam grades.

I am not arguing for or against ther summer course, I don't know enough about the american undergraduate system to advise on this. I am just pointing out that it constitutes a very important grounding and trying to help you get the best out of it.

go well
 
  • #9
Studiot said:
I don't mean to be discouraging, especially given your stated track record to date.

Just that at university you have large quantities of material thrust at you to to digest and that this subject contains more than most. You just don't get the time to achieve the level of familiarity and understanding that you probably managed in High School / College. That comes with later reflection and use (sometimes it takes years).

You should be able to get a good feel for it in the timescale, which will stand you in good stead in the future, certainly sufficient for good exam grades.

I am not arguing for or against ther summer course, I don't know enough about the american undergraduate system to advise on this. I am just pointing out that it constitutes a very important grounding and trying to help you get the best out of it.

go well

I didn't take it to be discouraging or offensives or anything close to that. Everything you said was constructive and helpful..I just am in a bit of a pickle. I want to get the intro stuff out of the way, but don't want to get cheated out of learning the material.

These questions should probably be directed at academic advisers, but I wanted to ask a community that has served me well in the past before setting up an appointment.

From what you all say, my original inclination that it will likely be fine has been reinforced, to an extent, but I'm still keeping my ears open if anyone else has more to add.

^^ and thanks for both of your replies. Really appreciate it.
 

1. What is Multivariable Calculus and E&M Over Summer?

Multivariable Calculus and E&M Over Summer is a course that combines two important subjects in mathematics and physics. Multivariable Calculus is a branch of calculus that deals with functions of multiple variables, while E&M stands for Electromagnetism, which is the study of the relationship between electricity and magnetism.

2. Why is it important to study Multivariable Calculus and E&M Over Summer?

Studying Multivariable Calculus and E&M over summer can be beneficial for several reasons. Firstly, it can help students get ahead in their academic studies, as these subjects are often taken in the later years of college. Secondly, it can provide a strong foundation for students pursuing careers in fields such as engineering, physics, and mathematics. Lastly, it can also help students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are applicable in various areas of life.

3. Who can benefit from taking Multivariable Calculus and E&M Over Summer?

Anyone who is interested in mathematics and physics can benefit from taking this course. It is typically taken by students who are majoring in STEM fields, but it can also be useful for students in other disciplines who want to broaden their knowledge and skills.

4. How is Multivariable Calculus and E&M Over Summer different from regular courses?

The main difference is that this course is condensed and taught over the summer, rather than over a full semester. This means that the pace of the course is usually faster, and students may have to cover more material in a shorter amount of time. Additionally, the structure of the course may be different, with more emphasis on independent learning and self-study.

5. What are the benefits of taking Multivariable Calculus and E&M Over Summer online?

Taking this course online allows for more flexibility in terms of scheduling and location. Students can access course materials and lectures at their convenience, which can be helpful for those with other commitments over the summer. Additionally, online courses often have smaller class sizes, allowing for more personalized attention from the instructor.

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