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Partial Differential Equations vs Classical Mechanics 2?

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hello everyone. So I wanted to get some opinions on what some of you thought was a better choice, as far taking PDE's or classical mechanics 2 goes. First let me start off by giving a little info; I've already taken calc 1-3 and ordinary differential equations, physics 1 & 2, thermodynamics/statistical mechanics, modern physics with a modern lab class, and classical mechanics 1. I want to go to grad school in physics, but im pretty sure that I don't want to be an experimentalist. I do enjoy programming and data analysis, just not messing with instrumentation or taking direct measurements with instruments. So when I apply to grad school it'll either be for computational physics or some area of theoretical physics. My schedule for next semester, as of right now, is the following

Adv Classical Mechanics - Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, rigid body dynamics, coupled oscillators and normal modes, nonlinear dynamics and chaos, collision theory, continuum mechanics, and special relativity.

Methods in Theoretical Physics - Methods in theoretical physics and theoretical applications in physics. Includes analytic and numerical methods for differential equations, integral equations and transformations and other applications of real analysis.

Intro To Advanced Math - opics include: naive set theory, functions, cardinality, sequences of real numbers and limits. Emphasis on formal proofs

Advanced Differential Equations - A second course in differential equations. Topics may include: Bessel functions and other special functions arising from classical differential equations, Sturm-Liouville problems, partial differential equations, transform techniques.


Linear Algebra - An introduction to the topics in linear algebra most often used in applications. Topics include: matrices and their applications; simultaneous linear equations and elementary operations; linear dependence; vector spaces; rank and inverses; inner products and `best¿ approximations; numerical solutions of simultaneous linear equations; eigen-values and eigenvectors; iterative methods for calculating eigenvalues; and systems of linear equations.

The only class from those above that is actually required for me is the methods in theoretical physics class. I could take all five at the same time, but that seems a little overkill for me. So I was looking to either ditch the PDE's class or the classical mechanics 2 one; what do you guys think?



 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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None of the topics in Intro to Advanced Math course you listed are likely to help you in grad school in physics. I think it would be better to do well in the courses you do take. Quality in four course is better than quantity in five. I think the advance classical mechanics course would be more helpful than partial differential equations if the partial differential equations is taught by the math department. I the partial differential equations course is taught by the Physics department as a Methods in Theoretical Physics course, then maybe partial differential equations would get priority.
 
  • #3
None of the topics in Intro to Advanced Math course you listed are likely to help you in grad school in physics. I think it would be better to do well in the courses you do take. Quality in four course is better than quantity in five. I think the advance classical mechanics course would be more helpful than partial differential equations if the partial differential equations is taught by the math department. I the partial differential equations course is taught by the Physics department as a Methods in Theoretical Physics course, then maybe partial differential equations would get priority.
Yah I've thought about dropping the intro to advanced math class, I just haven't because I really want to get into proof based mathematics a lot more. Not to mention that the class is a prerequisite for higher level math classes such as topology and real analysis. The PDE's class is taught by the math department by the way. I just wanted to get some opinions on this because I've kinda gotten the impression that to be a theoretical physicist, you have to have had experience with proof based maths such as the ones i mentioned. So I'm kinda coming from the perspective of prioritizing the math over the physics, is that silly?
 

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