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

My fall schedule

  • Thread starter proton
  • Start date
  • #1
350
0

Main Question or Discussion Point

I'm gonna be a junior transfer next fall and I'll be starting my upperdiv classes. I'm a physics major, but am undecided about which area of physics I want to pursue, though I am leaning towards particle, astrophysics, or optics. Also unsure about theoretical or experimental physics.

I basically have to choose 2 more math classes for my fall schedule among:
Complex Analysis, ODEs (upperdiv), Probability theory, and Real Analysis
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
G01
Homework Helper
Gold Member
2,665
16
I'm only a junior myself, but I think I would choose ODE's as one of them.

DE's of all kinds are without a doubt important in physics. Also, I have gotten a good deal of all the probability theory I've needed from my physics classes themselves, but I guess it couldn't hurt to take a class in it. As for the other two, I wouldn't know.
 
Last edited:
  • #3
513
0
I would imagine that for upper level physics courses you absolutely NEED to have ODE done. Also, from what I've seen of QM, you also need the probability class. Get those two done first.
 
  • #4
Dr Transport
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,371
497
ODE's and Complex Analysis...Probability theory as taught by the math departments I have seen is of little use in QM. I wish I'd have taken complex analysis while in school so that I could do some of the work I have been doing lately without as much a struggle.
 
  • #5
59
0
I've heard that Linear Algebra is recommended for QM.
 
  • #6
350
0
I would imagine that for upper level physics courses you absolutely NEED to have ODE done.
Even the upperdiv ODE class? its focused on proofs and existence and uniqueness problems

ODE's and Complex Analysis...Probability theory as taught by the math departments I have seen is of little use in QM. I wish I'd have taken complex analysis while in school so that I could do some of the work I have been doing lately without as much a struggle.
I know I'll need complex analysis. But should I take it NOW? or should I wait until later on in my undergrad?
 
  • #7
tmc
289
1
I'd take DE, because they turn up everywhere, and one of the analysis courses.

You'd be better off taking both analysis courses at some point in your undergrad, so I'd suggest taking whichever fits best your schedule, and take the other one later. Complex will be useful (mostly) for E&M/optics, and real for QM.
 
  • #8
1,707
5
what does your entire schedule look like? im a transfer junior this fall as well.
 
  • #9
429
0
if the DE class is solely existence and uniqueness problems, then it doesn't seem like a "must take" class. if you've learned to solve first and second order ODE's and also how to use power series for DE's, you're pretty much set for undergrad (at least in my experience).


the complex analysis class will be useful. you might not have to solve too many contour integrals as an undergrad, but it appears to be a rather important tool of the trade, regardless.


probability theory could prove to be useful for a little bit of stat mech. my course in stat mech covered a little bit of binomial and poisson distributions, so my probability course helped with that (and was also total overkill for that purpose!).


no experience yet with the utility of real analysis, but i've gotten through all of the undergrad physics coursework (excepting the advanced lab classes) without it, fwiw.
 
  • #10
350
0
what does your entire schedule look like? im a transfer junior this fall as well.
I'm also taking Math Methods for Physics, and Linear Algebra (upperdiv, proof based)

if the DE class is solely existence and uniqueness problems, then it doesn't seem like a "must take" class.
Heres the description of the class:
Selected topics in differential equations. Laplace transforms, existence and uniqueness theorems, Fourier series, separation of variable solutions to partial differential equations, Sturm/Liouville theory, calculus of variations, two-point boundary value problems, Green's functions.
 
  • #11
1,707
5
I'm also taking Math Methods for Physics, and Linear Algebra (upperdiv, proof based)
you're lucky, math physics isn't offered at my school till the spring :cry:
Heres the description of the class:
Selected topics in differential equations. Laplace transforms, existence and uniqueness theorems, Fourier series, separation of variable solutions to partial differential equations, Sturm/Liouville theory, calculus of variations, two-point boundary value problems, Green's functions.
that sounds like a lot more than just uniqueness and existence and it sounds like a lot of useful stuff. take that
 
  • #12
441
0
that seems to cover alot of pde stuff as well it would be good course to take.
 
  • #13
Dr Transport
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,371
497
Heres the description of the class:
Selected topics in differential equations. Laplace transforms, existence and uniqueness theorems, Fourier series, separation of variable solutions to partial differential equations, Sturm/Liouville theory, calculus of variations, two-point boundary value problems, Green's functions.
This is a worthwhile DE course as long as it isn't existence and uniqueness proofs.
 
  • #14
350
0
ok so I'll definitely take the ODE class. It seems that to most of you guys that I shouldn't take the probability class. so whats better to take first: complex or real analysis?

My guess is that real analysis is because some other math classes have it as a prereq, but I could be wrong
 
  • #15
cristo
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
8,107
73
so whats better to take first: complex or real analysis?
You should try and learn real analysis before complex analysis.
 
  • #16
429
0
if you wouldn't mind, could you provide us with the course descriptions of the complex and real analysis classes?


sure, a lot of math classes might have real analysis as a prereq, but they're more likely to be the pure math classes that a physicist could certainly live without (except for formal theorists, who apparently need the "kitchen sink").
 
  • #17
350
0
Complex Analysis for Applications
Introduction to basic formulas and calculation procedures of complex analysis of one variable relevant to applications. Topics include Cauchy/Riemann equations, Cauchy integral formula, power series expansion, contour integrals, residue calculus.

Analysis
Rigorous introduction to foundations of real analysis; real numbers, point set topology in Euclidean space, functions, continuity.
 
  • #18
50
0
Definitely take ODE, you'll need it for PDE and differential geometry later and should have a solid understanding of operational calculus as early in your education as possible
 
  • #19
429
0
the complex analysis appears to be pretty much the same as UF's "functions of a complex variable," which was primarily a computation-based course.

i would go with that. contour integrals are an essential tool, whereas you can get by without proving everything about real numbers. ;)
 
  • #20
350
0
I just spoke to one of my advisors at orientation and I have to take a lower-div physics class on stat mechanics and quantum mechanics. It's a little more advance than the standard lower-div modern physics course. So the two classes I'll take for sure are Math Methods and "Elements of Quantum Mech and Statistical Mech".

I need at least 1 more class to meet the minimum number of units. I wanted to choose an upper-div math class, but he advised that I take a upper-div GE class instead because its my 1st quarter at a university, and its best that I start off with easy A's. I have to adjust to the new social life, etc. Should I trust him on this? Or is it definitely possible to do well with my 2 physics and 1 math class?
 
  • #21
Math Is Hard
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
4,527
28
Hey proton, you're at UCLA, right? I suggest going easy just for your first quarter. Give yourself a little time to "get the lay of the land."
 
  • #22
350
0
ok I've decided I want to take 1 math class. I can only take either Linear algebra , analysis, or complex analysis. Which would be better to take as my first upper-div math course?
 
  • #23
235
0
Complex Analysis would be an excellent choice if you already have a familiarity with proof technique; however, it might be a difficult leap at first.

Linear Algebra is a tried and true course that, at least from what I hear, is generally a computationally intensive course, but little is done about rigor.

Analysis is generally consitered the hardest first upper division class because it is primarily forcing yourself to work through material you already have seen to gain a deeper understanding; however, a large amount of proofing finese can be necessary.
 
  • #24
429
0
Complex Analysis would be an excellent choice if you already have a familiarity with proof technique; however, it might be a difficult leap at first.

Linear Algebra is a tried and true course that, at least from what I hear, is generally a computationally intensive course, but little is done about rigor.

Analysis is generally consitered the hardest first upper division class because it is primarily forcing yourself to work through material you already have seen to gain a deeper understanding; however, a large amount of proofing finese can be necessary.
my linear algebra class was very much proof-based.
 

Related Threads on My fall schedule

  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
18
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
954
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
2K
Replies
3
Views
1K
Replies
8
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
909
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
516
Top