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What exactly does Theoretical Physics involve?

  1. Sep 5, 2011 #1
    What exactly does Theoretical Physics involve? Do you have to know how to write computer programs? Is it basically the Maths side of physics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2011 #2
    A theory is a set of principles that explain or describe a phenomenon, and that's exactly what theoretical physicists do. Experimental physicists find things out about the universe (i.e. they do experiments), and theoretical physicists attempt to explain or describe exactly why the universe behaves that way and why the experiments turned out the way they did (they build theories).
  4. Sep 5, 2011 #3
    Thank you, am I right in saying that Theoretical Physicists use computers to help them make complex models?
  5. Sep 5, 2011 #4
    To answer the 2nd question: No, it isn't necessary to be able to program in order to go into theoretical physics, though it might help immensely in some areas.

    3rd question: This question is meaningless. Without math you can't have Physics (sure there's some conceptual things you can describe in plain english, but without math physics is incomplete).
  6. Sep 5, 2011 #5
    To run simulations? Sure, some of them do. It's certainly not necessary (though programming skill is always useful). If you want to get a sense of "theoretical physics type stuff", I would point to general relativity or the standard model in particle physics.
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