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- Programs
- Thread starter shinobi20
- Start date

- #1

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- #2

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You need complex analysis as well.

- #3

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- Real/Complex Analysis
- Differential Equations
- Linear Algebra
- Calculus
- Differential Geometry
- Topology

- #4

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- Real/Complex Analysis
- Differential Equations
- Linear Algebra
- Calculus
- Differential Geometry
- Topology

What do you need Topology and Differential geometry for?

- #5

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- #6

Staff Emeritus

Science Advisor

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MIT's requirement when I was there was the calculus sequence + differential equations + two courses.

- #7

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- #8

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- #9

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- #10

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- Linear Algebra

In which areas (except Quantum Mechanics) does extensive knowledge of it come handy?

I would prefer to take a Linear Algebra course in a later semester (before a Quantum Mechanics course), but I could take it earlier if it's helpful.

- #11

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Zz.

- #12

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For example: Fluid mechanics is going to really work your calculus, up to at least multi-dimension partial differential equations. Probably you will want to know about curvilinear coordinates. And possibly you will want matrix algebra. And the computational parts will get you into a variety of algebra, discrete math, and finite difference or finite element mathematical methods.

Electronic circuits may cause you to want some topology. Maybe quite simple topology such as introductory graph theory. It will also likely cause you to want some formal logic.

Crystallography will likely get you into some interesting geometry, group theory, and again some matrix methods. And again probably some computational methods.

If you want to study general relativity then you want differential geometry.

And if you are doing quantum mechanical anything, you are going to be getting into matrix algebra, group theory, topology, computational methods, and just loads of other things.

Math is a tool. You should try to get the best tool set you can manage. You probably need to focus on the areas you are specifically working on rather than studying all the math you can find. Unless you are mutant smart. So look at the course catalog for your school and find the courses you are interested in for later years. Look at the math they use. Plan ahead and get the tools you will need. But don't close doors you can keep open.

Example: I mentioned group theory for crystals. But it is often useful in any situation in which you find symmetry. And symmetry exists in a large variety of problems in physics. So knowing group theory, at least a term's worth, will give you one more quite powerful tool in your tool box.

- #13

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The physics electives you choose will dictate what exactly you should take.

- #14

Education Advisor

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This is what I've got in mind currently: Applied linear algebra, ordinary differential equations (400 level), partial differential equations, and differential geometry.

Aside from those, I'll have space for 1-2 more math classes. I'm considering taking both real analysis and complex analysis. I've also considered a probability theory class, but I'm not sure how necessary that really is for physics. I know it's important in some areas. A lot of you are mentioning topology as well, so now I'm considering that.

Sometimes I think I should just declare a double major in physics and math.

- #15

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Zz.

- #16

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Zz.

Heh. It's sort of like, who needs more saws? A carpenter or a metal smith?

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