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PDE's vs Complex analysis for physics/math major

  1. Jan 3, 2014 #1
    Hi guys. It's almost time to choose my courses for this year. I'm torn between taking PDE's due to how important it is for physics, or complex analysis due to just liking pure maths. If I do well enough, I'm *possibly* looking to do further study in mathematical physics. I was thinking that if the PDE class is anything like the ODE class, I might be able to get away with just learning the material myself as I need it, when the time comes.

    Comments appreciated. Also, does complex analysis have much application in physics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2014 #2

    ODEs are far simpler in my opinion to solve. While I enjoyed my PDE class what's called advanced engineering mathematics at my school, it was a pain compared to ODEs which are pretty easy to solve, especially after dealing with them in my engineering courses so much. PDE were useful when I took heat transfer, and fundamentals of nuclear engineering. Infinite series too
  4. Jan 3, 2014 #3
    Generically speaking the classes are of comparable utility in physics. Choose whichever interests you more.
  5. Jan 3, 2014 #4


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    Eventually, you are going to need to take a course in both PDEs and complex analysis. In fact, I recommend that you take the complex analysis course first. Complex variables can be useful in solving certain PDEs, especially in the use of conformal mapping techniques for solving 2-D PDEs.
  6. Jan 4, 2014 #5
    I would almost advise complex analysis before PDE's, though you should take both, because of the fourier analysis that you may learn in PDE class.
  7. Jan 5, 2014 #6
    Thanks for the replies everyone. I was leaning toward complex analysis and judging from the replies here, it wouldn't be a bad choice. So complex analysis it is!
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