Taking Math Courses with Math Students

  • Thread starter mk9898
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  • #1
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Hello,

I'm curious on what the forum thinks on this topic. At the physics department there are dedicated math courses for physics students but physics students can also opt for pure math courses with math majors. I opted for the latter and am having difficulties though I am enjoying the courses. I hear all the time, that physics majors should take a lot of math. So I said, well, if that's the case, I'll take math with the majors with the agenda, that later in my studies, I wouldn't be bounded in terms of taking math courses due to the lack of prerequisites. Also, the physics would be "easier".

I am wondering if the hard work now really does pay off later in terms of the level of rigor. It is a lot more work than the regular physics degree but I want to believe that my decision will help open more doors in terms of masters, careers, etc. Any thoughts, personal experiences, advice etc. are appreciated.
 

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  • #2
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I am dull majoring in mathematics (pure) and physics. So my advice is limited. Most of the mathematics learned in the pure math classes seem not 100% applicable to the physics at hand. However, taking a special case of a theorem or understanding mathematically why something works, has helped me in my physics courses.

ie., derivation of a physical law or principle. Why certain steps are true. How to check my answers, and see that my solution is correct. Sometimes you can use the math wrong and wind up with the correct solution. When I look at a physics textbook, I am just reading and trying to understand the physics, as opposed to trying to understand both math and physics at the same time.

Also, learning pure mathematics has helped me pick up the math needed for the physics a bit more easily. I still need from time to time learn mathematics that I have not yet defined rigoursly in my math courses.

If you are able to learn the abstract case, then narrow it down to something you need, then I think its a good approach. I may not be 100% correct, but this my experience thus far.

A good example, would be when I took a probability course, and then took statistical mechanics...

Maybe asking someone like Micromass or Dr. Courtney, would give you the best answer.
 
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