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Upper year Undergrad Prep for Plasma Physics

  1. Jul 8, 2013 #1
    I was wondering which specific physics courses I should take while still in undergrad if I'm interested in experimental plasma physics (and might study it in grad school).

    I've taken all the intro courses for the major branches (electro theory, mechanics, QM, optics, thermal physics, experimental physics) and I'm doing condensed matter research this summer.

    Next year (my 3rd year) I plan to take continued courses in Electro theory, classical and quantum mechanics and an advanced lab course. For math I've completed the main calc/lin.alg/ODE stream and next year I'll be taking a PDE course aimed towards physics applications and a complex analysis course.

    I still have room for a few more courses. My school offers Nuclear Physics, Atomic/Molecular/Solid State Physics, Atmospheric physics, Geophysics and Advanced Classical Optics as optional courses in 3rd year.

    I think the Nuclear Physics course would be a good idea to take, but what do you guys/gals think? Also, how much cross-over is there from Condensed Matter to Plasma Physics? My research mainly involves infrared spectroscopy. How well will I be able to translate skills developed from that to plasma physics? I would consider the Atomic/Solid State course but I've learned a lot about that subject already from my self-learning related to my research, so I'm hesitant.

    I will openly consider any suggestions related to course planning or prep, and if it's necessary I can post detailed course descriptions.

    To any plasma physicists out there, what courses do you wish you took in undergrad/what did you find most useful? (my school does not have a plasma physics sub-department)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 8, 2013 #2
    I was interested in plasma physics for a while. Does the geophysics class cover space physics or mainly solid earth? Space physics is essentially plasma physics studying plasmas found in nature. I've heard to take as much E&M as possible...
  4. Jul 8, 2013 #3
    The geophysics is just physics of the earth, you know, like plate tectonics and such. I have also taken an into astrophysics class but it didn't involve anything related to plasma physics.

    In my 4th year I'll be taking relativistic EM, continuum mechanics, more QM among others and many lab courses

    Does anyone think a course in non-linear physics is a good idea for plasma physics (instead of a different physics course)?
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