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Stochastic processes for a physicist?

  1. Feb 25, 2015 #1
    I was wondering how useful a course in basic stochastic processes is if you want to pursue a career in physics? And especially for a theoretical physicist or astronomer.

    Im going to have to choose two courses next semester and I think I'm going to choose Special relativity and Mathematical physics. Since I don't think I can handle all three at the same time I was wondering if I should read Stochastic processes on my own over the summer, but I would like to know if it's useful first. I know it's hard to answer without knowing exactly what's in the course but just some opinions would be nice.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2015 #2
    Tough call, what specific problems interest you? I would say that usually stochastic processes in physics are covered well by statistical mechanics, but I've certainly seen exceptions (Markov processes are ubiquitous in biological/chemical physics, for instance).
     
  4. Feb 25, 2015 #3
    I think theoretical particle physics and astronomy would be interesting fields. Mathematical physics also seems very interesting. I don't know if that's specific enough but that's all I got at the moment.
     
  5. Feb 25, 2015 #4
    Well if you work on quantum gravity stochastic processes probably won't help you much (from what I know anyway, and I'm no expert on QG). However stochastic processes are absolutely found in astrophysical problems. I would say it probably doesn't matter which you take in the long run, as you'll take extra courses or teach yourself what you need in graduate school. Stochastic processes won't hurt at any rate, so take what you find more interesting.
     
  6. Feb 25, 2015 #5
    Yes okey, that's nice to hear.
     
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