1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Preparation for grad school - nonlinear systems

  1. Aug 7, 2012 #1
    Lately I have been reading about nonlinear systems and chaos. It's fascinating and I would like to know more about how I could prepare myself to possibly study this in grad school. I would be interested in looking at biological systems such as neural networks or even animal populations. I'm a biological engineering major minoring in math, but:

    - what extra math would I need to be prepared for graduate study?

    - how does research in nonlinear systems/chaos differ between disciplines (math, physics, engineering)?

    - is there room for bioengineers in the field or should I consider switching to something more obvious like math?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 7, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Hey jbrussell93.

    The first suggestion would have to be to study DE's and PDE's at the highest levels that you can.

    For neural networks you might want to get a computer science or computational perspective for this and read about it in this context. It won't obviously be the same as studying neuro-biology, but I think at some level it will be helpful to gain a kind of intuitive sense in one regard.

    In terms of animal populations, one suggestion I have is to look into the managing of Fisheries: there are models that are based on difference equations (kind of the analog of DE's for discrete time movements) which are easy to follow (more so than the complex calculus varieties) and are still practical and useful.

    Ultimately though, it's always a good idea to contact the school you are interested in for specifics, and it may help to look at the backgrounds of people in particular departments to get ideas of such things as well.
  4. Aug 7, 2012 #3
    My suggestion would be to investigate what grad schools are doing research in the area you're interested in and/or a professor who's research interests you, and see what kind of background that grad program requires for acceptance.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook