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What sort of mathematics for mathematical physics?

  1. Sep 9, 2011 #1
    I am hoping to do mathematical or theoretical physics after my undergraduate science degree. I have been advised to do more maths subjects than physics subjects in order to achieve this. I am double majoring in maths and physics and I am just wondering what area of maths I should be focusing on more. my concern is that I want to leave the door for pure maths open. This means I have the choice of algebra or analysis... Does anyone have any advice on which is more useful in modern mathematical/theoretical physics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 9, 2011 #2
    How the hell would we be able to answer this?

    I can think of 30 reasons for why you should pick either one. I suppose it will come down to what you are best at. If you hate analysis and that scares you then drop it.

    Personally algebra would be less use if you want to go into Quantum Mechanics. Even then do Matrix analysis or advanced linear algebra stuff if you can. Analysis overall is probably more useful. Saying that decide which you are at best at or what interests you and then do that. Don't be thinking that it won't be use later on or something is more useful.

    Problems usually have multiple ways to attack it. Which, makes your choices not important.
  4. Sep 10, 2011 #3


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    If you can only pick one of the two, Analysis or Algebra you should pick the one that you think you'll enjoy more.

    You'll need to know both at least as far as Bsc studies goes in order to procceed to advanced studies.

    I have taken courses in Functional Analysis and Differential Geometry, there are always algebraic structures luring there.
    (be it Ideals in FA or tensors in DG).
  5. Sep 10, 2011 #4
    You will probably find analysis, geometry, and linear algebra most useful for a long time. You should learn some algebra eventually too, however. For much of classroom-based physics, your instructor will introduce ideas as necessary.
  6. Sep 21, 2011 #5
    you need lie algebra for mathematical physics.
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