Theoretical Physics or Optics?

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  • #1
SJay16
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I was just wondering which out of the 2 courses would be more beneficial for me as I am interested in Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Cosmology: A senior level course in Optics or a Senior Level course in Methods of Theoretical Physics (Presumably mathematical methods).

Course Descriptions:
Optics: Matrix formulation of geometrical optics. Physical optics: interference, diffraction, polarization, Fourier optics. Modern applications including fibre optics

Theoretical Physics: Powerful analytical techniques repeatedly encountered in the subject areas of physics, unity in theoretical treatment of different subject areas. Tensors, operator algebra, variational principles, the Dirac delta-function formalism, adiabatic approximations, and stochastic processes
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Charles Link
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The Optics course might cover the diffraction theory with lenses and focusing mirrors which would be useful in your understanding of how the large telescopes work. My opinion might be slightly biased because I partly specialize in Optics and Spectroscopy, but I would go with the Optics course.
 
  • #3
SJay16
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Bump ^^
 
  • #4
SJay16
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Reposting in perhaps more suitable sub forum **
I was just wondering which out of the 2 courses would be more beneficial for me as I am interested in Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Cosmology:

A senior level course in Optics or a Senior Level course in Methods of Theoretical Physics (Presumably mathematical methods).
Course Descriptions:

Optics: Matrix formulation of geometrical optics. Physical optics: interference, diffraction, polarization, Fourier optics. Modern applications including fibre optics

Theoretical Physics: Powerful analytical techniques repeatedly encountered in the subject areas of physics, unity in theoretical treatment of different subject areas. Tensors, operator algebra, variational principles, the Dirac delta-function formalism, adiabatic approximations, and stochastic processes
 
  • #5
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I would go with the Theoretical Physics course. Math is everywhere in science whereas its less likely you will use optics in your astronomy/astrophysics studies or research. Many astronomers ever actually view anything through a telescope anymore which leaves those folks who make scopes for land-based or satellite systems or those folks who work on fiber-optic engineering as the ones who need to know optics seriously.

I'm not saying don't take Optics but that the Theoretical Physics math will be more useful in general. I think you should still take Optics when you get the chance.
 
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  • #6
Dishsoap
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Well, what do you want to do after graduation? If you want to do observational astronomy, I'd recommend optics; if you want to do theoretical astrophysics/cosmology, I'd recommend the math methods course, probably.
 
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  • #7
Dishsoap
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But your other post is also here, in this subforum...?
 
  • #8
fresh_42
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The confuse looking posts above are due to a merger which became necessary after a move from another forum.

@SJay16 Please do not open more than one thread with the same content!
If you want a thread to be moved, ask a mentor, either via PM or the report button.
 
  • #9
alantheastronomer
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Ideally, you need to take both courses at some time in your career according to your interests. Which course is offered more often; take the other one first.
 

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