Pure Math versus Computational Math

  • #1
My primary major is Physics, and my secondary major is Pure Mathematics (still a sophomore). However, I have started to develop an interest towards CS; in fact, my research involves programming. So, which of the two (Pure or CS Mathematics) compliments Physics better? How about job opportunities? I'd appreciate any feedback.Thanks.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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i'd probably assume CS mathematics, its probably more applicable
 
  • #3
I was originally a CS mathematics major before becoming a pure math major. CS mathematics at my school is mostly applied math courses and advanced CS courses. You should check the degree requirements and see if you think you will find the classes that are required interesting before doing anything though.

As for job opportunities, if you want to work in industry then I think it is easier to get a job with a regular CS degree than it is with a CS mathematics degree. I do think the CS mathematics will compliment your physics degree better though because of all the applied math courses you probably have to take.
 
  • #4
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do them side by side...if you can't then CS before math ...i think its better to have a foundation in CS applied to science before learnign teh math applied to science...I did it the other way and found out that i've lost most of the applied math concepts because i had no where to apply them till now...after I've learned the cs...so in a progressive learnign stand point ....learn CS (numerical methods, 3D engines, simulations) then learn the pure/applied math to compliment it...because you can utilize the programming knowledge in htose courses.
 
  • #5
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As far as I've experienced with physics researchers, they all want someone who can numerically compute theoretical results and also compose data analyses. Although the degree of demand varies among fields, I can assure that the average physics major lacks sufficient numerical computing skills.
 
  • #6
I appreciate all of your comments. I am leaning more towards Computational Mathematics. However, are there any inherent benefits of being a Pure Math major rather than a Computer Math major? In other words, is Pure Math geared towards teaching? How about Theoretical Physics?
 
  • #7
matt grime
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
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As you seem to note, it depends on what kind of physics you do. If you do experimental ("classical" if you will) physics then pure maths is of little use and the maths you need will be taught and any more astract thigns you need later, like group theory, can be picked up as needed if you do research (say into crystallography). IF you care about theoreticl physics however then knowing pure maths is essential (probably). Of course the distinction between the science is not universal and would depend on the instution (and country) you are at (in). To explain this by example: in the US Jon Baez, a physicist is in the department of mathematics at UCR, yet Paul Linden (fluids) is in the Engineering Dept at UCSD. Whereas in the UK Paul could easily be in a Maths Department and Jon a physics one (depending on the institute). You need to decide what areas you want to work towards, and what you need to know to do this, and then what courses best allow you to accomplish this.
 
  • #8
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I think it would also depend on the compmath courses vs theoretical courses your taking...in Physics...the most important compmath are the numerical analysis/methods courses and matrices ones depending on if your school differs. Compmath has two varieties Algebra/number theory and appliedmath/numerical...THere's prolly more even computability/logic/language theory could be one...

in a good compmath programme you'd be forced to take 2 ODE/PDE(theoretical) plus the numerical methods that coincide with the 2 as well as complex and FFT(if you have a course like that usually found in elec/comp eng)and maybe a compphys course ...as for pure theory the only few added courses ontop of that would be prolly be diffgeom,anal/class. mechI&II(if your school offers 2), relativity(some schools put htis under math), algebras, some course that teaches calculus of variations...and perhaps a dynamical systems courses...and the analysis classes may be useful and maybe topology

Your physics programme should already have most of those courses incorporated
the exceptions would be the numericals, dynamical systems, diffgeom, topology, analysis,algebras(total of maybe 4-5 courses depending on which ones you may want to take). I doubt you'd have any use for logic,language theory,computibility,set theory, discrete math.
number theory and stats classes.
 

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