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What should I learn this summer?

  • Thread starter jbunten
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  • #1
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So I'm moving up to 3rd year Physics next year, I used the previous summer to learn some programming. This summer I'm thinking I'll study one of:

EM
Classical Mechanics
Thermodynamics
Vector Calculus,Statistics

These are all topics I've done of course and I do quite well in exams but I'd like to REALLY get into the nitty gritty of one of these areas i,e get a "deep" understanding of one of them - for an undergrad at least, as I don't feel like I have anything more than a relatively moderate understanding of any of these.

What would you consider the most valuable?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
G01
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Personally, I would go for a physics course and I would say E&M would best use your time since it is usually considered the hardest out of those three. Thus, you may want to spend some extra time on it outside of class.

Of course, you will also need to teach yourself some vector calculus if you decide to go down this road. I self studied E&M over the summer out of Griffith's book before I took the class and found it to have been a very worthwhile effort. Good luck!
 
  • #3
nicksauce
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I would say learn vector calculus because I, for one, found it to be an extremely difficult subject at first. It would have helped a lot if I had a solid grasp on the material before taking the class.
 
  • #4
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Hey guys, he said he already took all of the courses on the list and just wanted to study one of them more in depth. I would say E&M or Classical Mechanics, but it depends on how far you've studied either. Did you get to Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations in your CM class(es)? If not, it can be useful to get a better understanding of QM. I think also a general study of wave motion would help (for more advanced E&M, optics, QM, etc.). Maybe consider what classes you are taking in the fall and figure out what would prepare you best for those.
 
  • #5
nicksauce
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Ah I misread.
 
  • #6
G01
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Ah I misread.
As did I. My recommendation still stands though. If your going to spend extra time on a subject, I suggest E&M.
 
  • #7
nicksauce
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As did I. My recommendation still stands though. If your going to spend extra time on a subject, I suggest E&M.
Sure, there's a lot more you can do with E&M depending on what you've already done, ie: Waves, Radiation, Relatavistic Formulation of E&M, or just work out some harder problems from the text.
 
  • #8
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Hi guys thanks for the responses. I've taken second year classes in all those areas, given your responses I'll probably concentrate on vector calculus and EM. Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations only got a mention in classes so perhaps I'll take a look at some more in depth CM, although I probably will take it easy this summer!
 
  • #9
Instead of Vector Calc you might want to try going over the math you've already learned and try to put it on a more firm/rigorous ground (i.e. study real and complex analysis as well as the calculus of variations and linear algebra). For me I always hated the wishy washy way in which math was always presented in physics course and I found studying the related math for its own sake was very enlightening. But of course you have to like math.
 

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