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Optics or Number Theory?

  1. Nov 16, 2012 #1
    I am about to choose my classes for my up and coming semester and was debating between taking Optics or Number Theory. I know they are very different courses but for those of you who have had one or both which one would you say "in general" is the more interesting course?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2012 #2

    Dr Transport

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    optics: useful in finding a job,

    number theory: nice, but no cigar.....
  4. Nov 16, 2012 #3
    Number theory is used very much in cryptography, some people specialize in it then get hired by the NSA. I was just wondering on which seems more interesting not so much which one is the best for career building.
  5. Nov 16, 2012 #4
    personally, i didn't like number theory so much. but then again, i only took an introductory course in it which covered topics such as divisibility, linear congruences, and primitive roots. if you've taken an algebra course, there's going to be quite a bit of overlap in the beginning.

    have you had any exposure to these topics? maybe try looking into some introductory optics or number theory and see which one you like better.
  6. Nov 17, 2012 #5


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    Hey troytroy.

    It's hard to say what is interesting for you, but if you had to choose, I'd think of number theory as the building block of understand whole numbers (and analogues to abstract object such as groups) while optics is the building block for how light (and subsequently how other physical phenomena) operate.

    One deals with the observable tangible realm and another deals with the realm of the intangible. Which one do you prefer?
  7. Nov 17, 2012 #6


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    If you have to choose between the two then pick optics, you can learn elementary number theory by your own with ease (I learned it by my own without any course, I used Burton's textbook).
  8. Nov 17, 2012 #7
    No second thought:definetely Optics if lab work is part of the course!If there is no lab,but only theory(ZZZzzz) and drawings in the blackboard toss a coin: heads=optics, tails=Number theory :D
  9. Nov 18, 2012 #8
    Number theory is an extremely fascinating and beautiful subject, but only at the graduate level, introductory number theory classes suck and should be abolished for fear of turning people off to the subject, take optics.
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