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One Physics MS semester left - what courses to take?

  1. Oct 12, 2014 #1
    Hello all,

    I've got one more semester before I earn my physics MS, and I have space for one or two extra courses. I am going into oceanography, and I would like to have a strong foundation in math in order to understand the theory I'll encounter as well as possible. Lots of physical oceanography papers that I glance at are very intimidating, for they seem to pull from some pretty high mathematics in addition to advanced fluid dynamics.

    I never took a proofs course. I wish I had, since it's a "requirement" for taking upper div courses like PDE's and advanced linear algebra. So I'm wondering if I should rely on my experience proving things in physics classes to get me through those courses, or if it makes sense to take the slow road and do Proofs officially.

    I guess I would also like to ask if these are the right courses to be thinking about, and if there are others that I should consider. I am planning on taking 2nd semester Jackson E&M to get a better grounding in radiation theory and the math that goes along with that.

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 12, 2014 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    You should look at the engineering school and see if they have math classes, and you should look carefully at the offerings of the math department. MIT, for example, has the series 18.075/18.076 (formerly taught by the late Francis Hildebrand) which is most certainly not proof based.
  4. Oct 13, 2014 #3
    Thanks Vanadium, it's a good idea for me to look at what's available online. 18.075 is Calculus for engineers. To be clear, I've taken all the math required for a BS in physics, and a couple "theoretical physics" courses (undergrad and grad level) where the essentials of the necessary math is covered.

    What I really want to know is whether a formal proofs course will help a great deal if I'm on the more theoretical side of a physical science. I'll be dealing with lots of math; do people think that proofs has been a great boon to their career?
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