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So I've just applied for Physics in College

  1. Jul 21, 2013 #1
    High School is over and I'm finally going to University to study Physics this Fall.

    In the past few years, choosing that course with the intention of concentrating more on theoretical aspects of physics has always been dead set on my mind.

    However, lately as I was analysing the course page with all the subjects, semestre by semestre, I found out that during the entire undergraduate programme there was no single subject in the Physics course involving Topology, Differential Geometry or Abstract Algebra. Conversely, the undergraduate programme in Mathematics was loaded with all that stuff in the third year.

    As I've done a little of research on what lies behind some topics of Theoretical Physics and occasionally frequent this forum, I am preoccupied that my undergraduate programme in Physics doesn't provide enough of that Advanced Maths (such as Group and Set Theory and other advanced Algebra and Geometry subjects) and also the Graduate Programme in Physics doesn't offer any of them either (though I am strongly determined to take my Matsers degree abroad, perhaps in the US, UK or Germany, I'll see then).

    I also found out that many theoretical physicists have both math and physics degrees, so does that mean that I must have both degrees in order to be prepared to tackle topics like supersymmetry or quantum gravity? My university doesn't allow, I most certainly think, to apply to both undergraduate courses in simultaneous and even so I don't think it would be manageable as the maths programme has a lot of other subjects too.

    I would appreciate you gave me some insight on this, because right now I am not sure if I should apply for maths instead, but that would mean I would have few bases in basic physics.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 21, 2013 #2
    If you're into the more mathematical aspects of physics, then things like differential geometry will turn out to be very important. Still, if your plan is to do physics later, then you should absolutely major in physics, even if it's light in math. Getting a good physical intuition is crucial. A pure math knowledge is handy, but doesn't weigh up against a good physics knowledge.

    I would suggest you to take elective courses in the math department, or even to double major. If that is impossible (like it is impossible in my country), then you should self-study the necessary mathematics.
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