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Object Oriented Programming vs PDE?

  1. Mar 1, 2012 #1
    I'm confused on what classes to take next semester. I've talked to my adviser but they're kinda useless as they don't want me to take upper level courses (past calc 3 and ODE). However, I want a dual math and physics degree which would be helpful in gradschool. Right now I have the following schedule:
    Communications in Physics
    Intermediate Lab A
    Quantum Theory of Matter A

    These add up to 12 credit hours. I don't know if I should take more or not. I want to take Object Oriented Programming too (which would get me up to 15 credit hours or so) though I don't know how PDE is going to be. I don't know anyone who has taken it yet (everyone I know is taking it next semester). I just don't want to overwork myself, though I really want to take OOP (Object Oriented Programming) next semester since it will help me with other classes that I have to take in the Spring of next year and will also hopefully help me grab some research opportunities or something.

    Any input?


    Edit: Also, taking classes over the summer is not an option for me. I don't have a place to live on or off campus and my mom doesn't make enough to put me through summer courses (I don't get financial aid over the summer...)
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 2, 2012 #2
    I am a EE and never took a formal class in PDEs so take this with a grain of salt.

    If you picked up on ODEs without too much trouble, PDEs shouldn't give you too much trouble either. Especially if you are also comfortable with Fourier series. At least that is true of solving the PDEs I encountered in applied classes.

    Also, if you already know how to program a OOP class should be pretty easy but may be time consuming depending on what type of project they give. If you don't program already or are weak at it then the class could be difficult and time consuming.
  4. Mar 2, 2012 #3
    I would suggest you don't take OOP and just stick with the schedule you got.
  5. Mar 2, 2012 #4
    What does the OOP course entail? Most CS programs that I have encountered have a very basic intro course, that is then followed by a course on data structures (that introduces things like linked lists, stacks, binary trees, hash tables, sorting, and big "O" notation). These intro classes are usually in some flavor of object oriented language like Java or C++. Is this the sort of course you are talking about?

    At least for me, I'm an experimental high energy physics PhD student (about to graduate), I found the CS classes that I took were some of my most useful courses for what I did in grad school. Ninety-five percent of what I did during my PhD was sit in front of a computer and write software. Colleagues of mine in high energy experiment that came in with zero programming experience generally had a much harder time getting going on their research.

    What is your area of interest in physics? My experience is unlikely to be helpful if you are interested in a sub field that does not have as high of a programming component.
  6. Mar 2, 2012 #5
    Advice from somebody who is pursuing mathematical modeling + biophysics ... which is a distant cousin to what you're doing, so just like above: grain of salt stuff:

    If you're thinking about more experimental physics, I'd suggest more CS classes and read some math texts on the side + take as many mathematical physics courses as you can instead of stuff from math departments. Those math physics courses are obviously focused to cover topics you'll see in your physics (including fourier + common PDEs), rather than the upper level math courses which might be bogged down by proofs and function theory and loads of extraneous work when you just want to learn solution methods.

    If you're thinking about theory instead of experimental, it might be more useful to start taking analysis and advanced linear algebra (or modern algebra) courses instead of PDEs? ... assuming you're after more math and ultimately a double major leading to theory in grad school.
  7. Mar 5, 2012 #6
    If you want to go to graduate school take the PDE class. It's easier to teach yourself OOP than PDE's so if you have to make a choice take PDE's.
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