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Photonic II - Do I need it ?

  1. Jun 16, 2007 #1


    Im undergrad physics hoping to go into theoretical or mathematical physics. The course Photonics II clashes with one of my math courses Fields and Geometry III and im told by my course advisor it isnt essential.

    I dont mind doing missing a lecture a week of my maths course to do the photonics course if it will be useful or important given where i want to go, but i would prefer not to.

    the course description says

    "This course will introduce students to the fundamental physics of modern optical and photonic technology. Optical fibres and waveguides. Fundamental properties of light. Electron energy bands in semiconductors and the implications of direct and indirect bandgaps. Light emitting and laser diodes and LEDs. Excitons. Quantum confinement including quantum dots, wires and wells. Characteristics of Bragg gratings. Practical work in polarisation of light, laser diodes, modes of lasers and interferometers, optical fibres."

    im not interested at all in photonics or optics, but my degree page says its recommended, so i was just wondering if anyone here thought this course is worthe the hassle of missing my math lectures....

    cheers for any thoughts

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2007 #2


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    If you are into maths you can pick up this level of photonics easily.

    I would generally say always take the most fundemental courses, learn the other stuff when and if you ever need it.
    From personal experience I would also advise against skipping lectures on one course that clashes with another. Go to the extra lectures that you can out of interest if you want but don't sign up for the course as a credit.
  4. Jun 19, 2007 #3
    Sounds like the Lasers course at my school. That class is definitely for the experimental and applied physicist.

    If you're wanting mathematical physics, then mgb_phys is probably correct with going with Fields and Geometry 3. That's a weird sounding class to me. Can I ask what your book is and what your syllabus is?

    At my school we have abstract algebra and differential geometry classes. Is it a mix of those? So I guess you're going over basic field theory probably with ring theory and some differential geometry?

    Remember, mathematical physics is in a math department, and that means passing the graduate math quals in graduate school - if you're in the US, I don't know how everyone else does it.
  5. Jun 19, 2007 #4

    George Jones

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    I'm guessing that "fields" refers not to stuff like rings and fields, but to stuff like vector fields, i.e., cross sections of bundles.
  6. Jun 20, 2007 #5
    First off, cheers for you responses, i was worried i had made my question too specific...

    The class is a follow on from the class im doing now Groups and Rings III. heres a description.

    "At the end of this course students should:

    have a knowledge of the structure of finite fields and be able to perform basic calculations in finite fields.
    understand the ideas in projective geometry, and how projective geometry relates to Euclidean geometry.
    have enough tools to study objects and transformations in projective planes corresponding to fields.

    Course Content:

    Fields: fields, polynomials rings, extensions of fields; automorphisms of fields, the structure of a finite field.
    Projective Geometry: projective planes, homogeneous coordinates, field planes, collineations of projective planes, conics in field planes, projective geometry of general dimension."

    no one at my school seems keen to reccomend a single book, but heres a list of reference books they publish for the course

    "J.R Durbin Modern Algebra - An Introduction
    J.B. Fraleigh A first course in abstract algebra
    A. Buetelspacher and U. Rosenbaum Projective geometry: from foundations to applications
    H.S.M. Coexter Projective Geometry"

    Differential Geometry is a level IV class but most people i know who are doing it are taking it as part of their Honours program and that is probably what i will do.

    Though i dont intend to do my graduate studies here, but at my school the mathematical physics program is run by the physics department (much to the disgust of the maths dept.), though i do know of one student doing his Phd through the maths school in Mathematical Physics...
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