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- Thread starter Werg22
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- #2

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Do a double degree in both and choose at the PhD level :)

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- #4

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Instead of doing a double degree, do a double major.

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Determine what types of problems/subjects in mathematics you enjoy. If it is the application...either theortical or just plain ol' physics are the camps for you. If it is the "rigor," mathematics or mathematical physics are your choice of camps.

Personally, I love the "rigor" in my Graduate level math classes; however, attempting to find an application to all of the "rigorous" work I have done is also quite fun...at least for me. And that is why I can't consister myself a mathematican, at least not yet.

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- #7

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If you could be specific about certain fields/topics which you've enjoyed - not waht you think you will enjoy in the future - then advice would be easier to give.

Plus - from your schooling, do you know what pure maths involves?

Having said that, I'd go for the maths degree because it allows you to do some real pure maths and some applied maths - the latter like the maths you'd get taught in a physics degree anyway. Plus there are no experiments!

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That's why physics is just so much more for me. Everything we do has something to do with explaining the real world, and if it doesn't, then it's still a math problem that I can enjoy solving.

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Become a Carpenter

Seriously, why not do say a degree in physics and a PhD in maths?

I know someone who wasn't grand at maths at PhD so he went into astronomy instead of theoretical physics at the PhD level, now he's grand at physics and maths? Who says you can't learn more maths after you study physics or vise a versa anyway?

Don't go saying that too loudly, mathematicians love their proofs, and there handy up to a point. Although to be honest like you I'd rather just figure out how things work then use them to solve real world problems or at least theoretical ones, I guess that's what seperates a mathematician from someone who's interested in physics. If you prefer to apply maths rather than mess around proving why x^i=y^2/1 pi rho for lim 1 to 3 etc, etc, then become a mathemetician, if you prefer working out the wave equation for particle a or the rotational speed of star x, become a physicist.

Seriously, why not do say a degree in physics and a PhD in maths?

I know someone who wasn't grand at maths at PhD so he went into astronomy instead of theoretical physics at the PhD level, now he's grand at physics and maths? Who says you can't learn more maths after you study physics or vise a versa anyway?

That's why physics is just so much more for me. Everything we do has something to do with explaining the real world, and if it doesn't, then it's still a math problem that I can enjoy solving.

Don't go saying that too loudly, mathematicians love their proofs, and there handy up to a point. Although to be honest like you I'd rather just figure out how things work then use them to solve real world problems or at least theoretical ones, I guess that's what seperates a mathematician from someone who's interested in physics. If you prefer to apply maths rather than mess around proving why x^i=y^2/1 pi rho for lim 1 to 3 etc, etc, then become a mathemetician, if you prefer working out the wave equation for particle a or the rotational speed of star x, become a physicist.

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If you dont mind having a little extra work, I dont see why you couldn't do both.

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- There is significant overlap in coursework so it is not that much extra work. Even if it takes you an extra year or a couple summers, I think it is well worth it.

- Doing the math makes you better at physics and doing the physics makes you better at math. Beyond the simple overlap in content, the intuition developed in physics classes and ability to "listen to the equations" carries over into math and the ability to think clearly and abstractly which is developed in math carries over into physics.

- This route leaves you with many options- not just math or physics, but you could make a transition into engineering, chemistry, economics, computer science, philosophy, etc. If you went straight out pure math, you'd have a hell of a climb to get into physics, chemistry, or engineering. On the other hand, if you went with just physics, it'd be tough to get into pure math, as the style of thinking required is not something that is cultivated in physics classes.

With regard to the third comment, you should recognize that your feelings about math and physics will change (in some way) in the coming years as you learn/do more and start to see what they really are like. At this point, you simply don't have enough experience to effectively predict what you will want to do in 4 years. It may be that you set forth some plan right now and follow it through exactly, but I think that is unlikely and I definately reccomend against cutting off options this early. At some point a few years in to undergrad you may change your mind and drop one major to focus on another, but if you are indecisive right now, I think a dual major is the way to go.

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I think your delima is relatively common. It is somewhat more advantageous to be curious about nature, in an evolutionary perspective. However, being interested in purely abstract stuff is not so. So many people find physics attractive and the average Joe if must choose between physics and pure maths will choose the former. However there are people who also like perfection, rigour which only pure maths offers them. As mentioned, a lot of these people are also curious about nature and that is where the dilemma comes, physicist or mathematician. I have this dilemma also.

I find physics is excitment and pure maths is satisfaction. Both make me happy but I only hope I choose the right one when the time comes which unfortuntely is very soon. Although at times I find physics to be too restrictive and 'slack'. Using maths merely as a tool also makes me uncomfortable, it makes me think that physics is more of a professional subject whereas pure maths is more an art. However, what is really good about physics is when I realise the significance of the physical concepts and the connection to maths and also just relating physics to the rest of the world.

Pure maths with it's more general nature may be the way to go for me. I have no compliants for pure maths other than that it is very challenging which is a good thing I guess. But the thing about maths is that it comes from the mind which exists in the brain and the brain is a physcial object in the universe so ultimately it's all physics.

I find physics is excitment and pure maths is satisfaction. Both make me happy but I only hope I choose the right one when the time comes which unfortuntely is very soon. Although at times I find physics to be too restrictive and 'slack'. Using maths merely as a tool also makes me uncomfortable, it makes me think that physics is more of a professional subject whereas pure maths is more an art. However, what is really good about physics is when I realise the significance of the physical concepts and the connection to maths and also just relating physics to the rest of the world.

Pure maths with it's more general nature may be the way to go for me. I have no compliants for pure maths other than that it is very challenging which is a good thing I guess. But the thing about maths is that it comes from the mind which exists in the brain and the brain is a physcial object in the universe so ultimately it's all physics.

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Like SD said above do one at UG, one at PG.

Tho', I'd do maths at UG

Remember also that you don't need the whole of your life planned out - I did my first three degrees in math departments and now work in a theoretical physics department. Once you get the qualifications, it's easy to switch around fields.

- #17

MathematicalPhysicist

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for me, usually the maths is more easy than the physics cause for maths you need logic, while for physics you need a lot of intuition which apparently i lack, but iv'e chosen to do a combined degree cause physics always intrigued me, since i think a young age (perhaps 10 years old).

a disclaimer:

i dont say that in maths you dont need intuition or creativity, but the main key to grasp maths is by logical reasoning, and also in physics you need this reasoning espcially in unintuitive theories such as qm, but still intuition takes place in physics.

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