What kind of math should I know as incoming Physics Major Freshmen

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  • #1
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I will be starting my freshmen year at college this September and I can't wait to do physics. I really want to learn as much physics as possible and do a lot of research. However I feel that I don't know enough math to go at the pace I really want to go at. Compared to most H.S students I did take a lot of math but, I'm really a serious about this so idk if it's enough.

In High School I took AP calc BC, Multi variable, Differential Equations and some linear Algebra. Should I spend this summer relaxing or should I try to learn even more math. Btw the only physics class I'm taking my first semester is Honors Mechanics at NYU.

Thanks you for your help guys.
 

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  • #2
lisab
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Most freshman mechanics classes are designed to allow the student to take calc 1 simultaneously. So it sounds like you've had plenty of mathematical preparation.

I hope you enjoy your first year in college :smile:!
 
  • #3
gb7nash
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In High School I took AP calc BC, Multi variable, Differential Equations and some linear Algebra. Should I spend this summer relaxing or should I try to learn even more math.
Wow, really? These courses are very advanced for HS, and I typically wouldn't expect to find highschools teaching them. The highest course I usually hear of in high school is Calc. You have nothing to worry about if you had these courses coming into freshman year of college.
 
  • #4
WannabeNewton
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Wow, really? These courses are very advanced for HS, and I typically wouldn't expect to find highschools teaching them. The highest course I usually hear of in high school is Calc. You have nothing to worry about if you had these courses coming into freshman year of college.
I'm assuming s/he's in the east coast because here all the high schools near where I live including mine offer these courses readily.
 
  • #5
cjl
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Really? That's quite unusual, especially because you'll pretty much always have to retake them in college anyways (Calc 1 and 2 are covered by AP, but multivariable calc and diff eq don't have any such standard test).
 
  • #6
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Really? That's quite unusual, especially because you'll pretty much always have to retake them in college anyways (Calc 1 and 2 are covered by AP, but multivariable calc and diff eq don't have any such standard test).
Yah I plan on retaking Multi and diff. My Honors mechanics class uses multi in it.
 
  • #7
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You could study something fun like complex analysis or special relativity.
 
  • #8
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You could study something fun like complex analysis or special relativity.
If I did study complex analysis what is the chance that it would be very handy in a freshmen like research project.
 
  • #9
eumyang
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I'm assuming s/he's in the east coast because here all the high schools near where I live including mine offer these courses readily.
Must be a high-performing high school district, then, because I am also in the East coast and there aren't many schools around here that offer Multivar. Calc, DiffEq, or Linear Alg. Only a handful of public schools, and even so, I think the classes are either online or CC dual enrollment.
 
  • #10
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Hah, chances are you will be utterly useless in research until you've taken at least two years of undergraduate physics classes. I wouldn't worry about whether x or y math would be more useful because you will most likely be operating equipment or doing little tasks as 'research' until you have more physics. This is how most people start and its worth it to try to get involved as soon as possible but I wouldn't be surprised if they tell you to come back when you've had more classes.
 
  • #11
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If I did study complex analysis what is the chance that it would be very handy in a freshmen like research project.
If you want to be handy, I'd suggest picking up some electronics skills. Or perhaps some programming or IT skills. It depends on the kinds of projects you're interested in.
 
  • #12
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Do analysis if you might be interested in theoretical physics or mathematical physics.
 

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