Prerequisite mathematics for intermediate mechanics?

In summary: Thanks.Incidentally, what might some of these "tricks of the trade" be? If these are some specific topics or techniques, then I may try to learn a bit in the time that is left before the next semester begins. Thanks.
  • #1
dpatnd
64
20
I will be taking intermediate mechanics next semester, and am a bit concerned about potential gaps in my mathematical knowledge. Long story short, I used to be a physics major, switched to electrical engineering, and then decided to double major after a semester in EE. The issue is that, as a consequence of that "missed" semester, I am one math class behind the physics majors. The math class in question functions as an introduction to linear algebra and differential equations beyond what is learned in the Calculus I-III sequence and is a prerequisite for intermediate mechanics. I have only had the calculus sequence, and will take the equivalent math class next semester alongside intermediate mechanics.

Thus, I was wondering if anyone who has had this "second pass" at classical mechanics has any insight into the math needed to do the relevant physics. Would it be a bad idea for me to take the class now? What topics in differential equations and linear algebra (beyond what is covered in a standard calculus sequences) would be relevant to intermediate mechanics?
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
I think that taking this combined math course concurrently with intermediate mechanics will be fine. You might struggle a bit at first, but then you will be fine once you pick up a few tricks of the trade especially if you are a good student and your decision to do a double major is an indication that you are.

I recommend that you talk to the instructor of the intermediate mechanics course before you sign up and ask whether (s)he thinks you will be able to handle it. Should you decide to take the course, the instructor will be alerted and take any shortcoming you might have under advisement.

BTW, what does TL;DNR in the thread summary mean?
 
  • Like
Likes vanhees71, Lnewqban and dpatnd
  • #3
kuruman said:
I think that taking this combined math course concurrently with intermediate mechanics will be fine. You might struggle a bit at first, but then you will be fine once you pick up a few tricks of the trade especially if you are a good student and your decision to do a double major is an indication that you are.

I recommend that you talk to the instructor of the intermediate mechanics course before you sign up and ask whether (s)he thinks you will be able to handle it. Should you decide to take the course, the instructor will be alerted and take any shortcoming you might have under advisement.

BTW, what does TL;DNR in the thread summary mean?
Oh, it stands for "too long; did not read." The instructions before posting told me to include one.

As for the rest, I hope I'm good enough. I double majored because I felt I was left with no choice, but that's a different story. The Director of Undergraduate Studies for physics did tell me he thinks I'll do fine in the course based on my A's in the calculus sequence.
 
  • Informative
  • Like
Likes vanhees71 and kuruman
  • #4
dpatnd said:
Oh, it stands for "too long; did not read." The instructions before posting told me to include one.
Thanks. I thought it might have meant "Too late; do not resuscitate." :oldsmile:
 
  • Like
  • Haha
Likes vanhees71, BvU and PeroK
  • #5
kuruman said:
You might struggle a bit at first, but then you will be fine once you pick up a few tricks of the trade especially if you are a good student and your decision to do a double major is an indication that you are.
Incidentally, what might some of these "tricks of the trade" be? If these are some specific topics or techniques, then I may try to learn a bit in the time that is left before the next semester begins.
 

Related to Prerequisite mathematics for intermediate mechanics?

1. What level of mathematics is required for intermediate mechanics?

Intermediate mechanics typically requires a solid understanding of algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. This includes topics such as equations and inequalities, functions, logarithms, differentiation, and integration.

2. Is it necessary to have prior knowledge of physics before learning intermediate mechanics?

While some knowledge of physics can be helpful, it is not necessary to have prior knowledge of physics before learning intermediate mechanics. However, a strong foundation in mathematics is essential for understanding and applying the concepts in intermediate mechanics.

3. What are some specific mathematical concepts that are important for intermediate mechanics?

Some important mathematical concepts for intermediate mechanics include vectors, matrices, differential equations, and multivariable calculus. These concepts are used to describe and analyze the motion and forces of objects in intermediate mechanics.

4. How can I improve my mathematical skills for intermediate mechanics?

Practice and review are key for improving mathematical skills for intermediate mechanics. It may also be helpful to seek out additional resources such as textbooks, online tutorials, or working with a tutor.

5. Are there any online resources or tools that can assist with understanding prerequisite mathematics for intermediate mechanics?

Yes, there are many online resources and tools available to assist with understanding prerequisite mathematics for intermediate mechanics. Some examples include Khan Academy, MIT OpenCourseWare, and online math tutoring services. It is important to find a resource that fits your learning style and provides clear explanations and practice problems.

Similar threads

Replies
2
Views
973
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
6
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
6
Views
2K
Replies
6
Views
786
Replies
12
Views
2K
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
6
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
12
Views
848
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
6
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
16
Views
619
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
4
Views
990
Back
Top