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What to do with my Life

  1. Sep 30, 2013 #1
    Let me start off with saying that I am an undergraduate who just started his second year. Im enrolled in classes such as Partial Differential Equations, Complex Variables, Linear Algebra, Astrophysics, and a Physics Problem Solving Class. I really enjoy math as a tool, and as a subject alone. I was wondering, since I also really enjoy physics, what I should do if I enjoy both very much. I was thinking theoretical physics or cosmology but have no idea the math that goes into it. Thanks for your answers in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 1, 2013 #2


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    For cosmology you would want to continue with some differential geometry, and then general relativity. Some cosmologists also use a lot of particle physics - though this is just one branch of a possible theoretical physics degree. Most people specialize within a particular area of physics. So for example atomic, molecular, and optical physics (AMO) doesn't require any particle physics though it does require a lot of quantum mechanics.

    For theoretical physics you need statistical mechanics, analytical mechanics, quantum mechanics (and more and more in grad school), plus mathematical methods.

    For additional math classes you should also consider abstract algebra and then Lie algebras; the study of symmetries is very important for theoretical physics.

    BTW quantum mechanics requires a good background in linear algebra, Fourier techniques, and differential equations ... plus the previous study of analytical mechanics is recommended.
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