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Useful skills/math courses in condensed matter physics

  1. Oct 5, 2014 #1
    Greetings PF! I am in good mood, and I wish you were as well.

    Everything has been going well since the beginning of the semester: I've been doing well in the three core courses so far, and I am also about to get into research soon hopefully; but not in my initial interest of particle, but in materials.

    After having few unsuccessful attempts to get into research in particle/nuclear, I decided that I'd explore more, so I attended seminars in materials physics-- took only two to have me fully devoted.

    The professor have invited me to his lab's meeting next Tuesday, and whatever he asks me to do, I wish to be well prepared at it. Of course I expect him not to expect too much of me, but I'd like to be as much resourceful as I can. I am currently learning matlab through my differential equations class (I'd like to say Python as well, but I haven't made progress since learning how to make a tip calculator). Would there be any other useful skills I can develop on my own time?

    And digressing from the former topic, some occurrence had me convinced to take abstract algebra next semester. But at a second thought, I don't think it'd be much useful in the field of condensed matter. I have one free math class I can take next semester, so I'd like to know if there is a higher math course that will become useful in condensed matter (not computation or numerical analysis). The background in math I'll have by then is: calc 1, 2, 3, ordinary differential equations, and a course in intro to proofs/higher math.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 5, 2014 #2
    You didn't have good enough grades or ?
     
  4. Oct 5, 2014 #3
    @zoki85: No, I just emailed two; one said no space and one didn't reply.
     
  5. Oct 5, 2014 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    There's probably nothing you can do in two days that will make a huge difference. I'd wait and see what happens.
     
  6. Oct 5, 2014 #5

    ZapperZ

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    It would help if you look up either the Prof's webpage or search for his name to know what specifically is the area that he is working on. Looking up his last 2 or 3 papers will give you a good idea. At the very least, you know roughly what area of condensed matter he is working in.

    Zz.
     
  7. Oct 5, 2014 #6
    @Venedium50: I am aware. I am asking in general, what skills/math courses would be useful in the field.
    @ZapperZ: I read his publications before I met him. After asking him specific questions regarding his research, I went to his office hour, where he told me in depth of his research. I asked if he takes any undergraduates, and he invited me to his lab meeting.
     
  8. Oct 5, 2014 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    You may know the exact field he is working in, but we don't know that. Given that, and that it's Sunday, it's still probably better to ask him.
     
  9. Oct 5, 2014 #8
    OK including a context didn't help at all, so scratch everything I said: I just want to know what skills and math courses (that are not computational based) would be useful in the field.
     
  10. Oct 6, 2014 #9

    Vanadium 50

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    Condensed matter is the largest subfield of physics. It's OK to be cagey with us on exactly what you will be doing, but it makes it hard to give you clear advice. Abstract algebra, which you mentioned, has uses in crystallography. Statistics is always of use to an experimenter. If it's more applied (e.g. metallurgy) an engineer's course in analysis would be helpful.
     
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