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Physics as a minor just for the sake of enjoyment?

  1. Nov 30, 2004 #1
    My physics background is limited, I took General Physics 1 and 2. For a minor I would need to take General Physics 3 and 3 elective upper division courses. There are lots of courses to choose from...

    Mechanics I
    Electricity and Magnetism I
    Thermal and Statistical Physics
    Physics Laboratory-Electronics
    Physics of Scientific Instruments
    Electricity and Magnetism II
    Optical Physics Laboratory
    Wave Mechanics I
    Wave Mechanics II
    Advanced Physics Laboratory
    Practicum in Physics
    Introduction to Theoretical Methods of Physics
    Computer Methods in Physics
    Computational Physics
    Nuclear and Particle Physics
    Condensed Matter Physics
    Electron Solid Interactions
    Introduction to Soft Condensed Matter Physics
    Plasma Physics

    I would need to choose 3 of the above courses. It would take me an extra semester to do since it is a total of 4 courses. Right now I am doing mathematics and computer science as an undergraduate, and I have 3 years left. Is it worth adding on the extra coursework to get the minor? I don't plan on using what I learn ever it just seems like something I could take and enjoy and I'm sure I'd do well in it. My plans are to go to graduate school for mathematics unless something drastically changes like I find something much more interesting so I wonder if all the physics will really help? Again I don't know that much about physics since I've only taken two courses on it. Anyways any input would be great:)

    As a side note, I struggled in physics 1 because I was taking calculus 1 at the same time. I ended up with a B+ in it. In physics 2 I got an A but I had to study alot as well. I did enjoy physics 2 though, the electricity and magnetism sections were really great. However now, after taking more mathematics courses, I see where alot of the formulas come from and it all seems more interesting.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 30, 2004 #2


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    There is something not very clear here. When you said that you can take "3 courses", does the "Part I" and "Part II" of some of these courses count as separate course, or do you count them as one? E&M, for example, is typically a 2-semester course, and I don't think your knowledge is complete if you take just the first one.

    Also, a lot of the courses you listed REQUIRE that you have other courses as prerequisites. I would not recommend you take a condensed matter or solid state physics courses without having the QM and E&M courses in that list already.

    Based on your major, I would highly recommend you take the computational classes in that list. That's an obvious one. Other than that, you should shore up on what I call the "3 pillars of physics", which are classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and E&M. Everything else builds on top of those three.

  4. Nov 30, 2004 #3
    Yes your assumptions are all accurate I am sorry for being unclear. Electriticity and Magnetism is one course, and the Electricity and Magnetism II is another course. I just edited my post to add something else just as you were posting.

    Also yes some of the courses on the bottom of the list have other pre-requisites. The three pillars of physics I see, I will probably do that then, thank you so much for the advice.
    Or I could take Computer methods in physics which is a pre-req for
    Computational Physics

    And then I could take one more course. I'll have to do some more reading. But in general, you think it's worth doing?

    Also I have done some physics related stuff in some of my applied math courses, I think that is another reason it seems so interesting.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2004
  5. Nov 30, 2004 #4
    If you're into physics I would recommend taking mechanics, e/m I and then a course of your chosing. That will give you the biggest overview of physics if it's something you are doing just for pleasure.
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