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What to major in for cosmology?

  1. Oct 16, 2005 #1
    i was wondering what you guys thought would be the best think to major in for someone who wanted to go into cosmology. Especially in regard to relativity or quantum mechanics.

    Also, where do you guys think the best place to go for my undergrad is for the major you suggest
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2005 #2

    JasonRox

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    I'd say Pure Mathematics and Theoritical Physics because you will get all the tools you will possibly need.
    The best way to go is to read biographies about Cosmologists, and see how they made it.
     
  4. Oct 16, 2005 #3
    No astronomy? I'd think that would be pretty big... I know it's not the same thing, but it's related...

    PL
     
  5. Oct 16, 2005 #4

    JasonRox

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    Yeah, maybe some Astronomy would be good, but I would say Astrophycists would be much better.
     
  6. Oct 16, 2005 #5
    Isn't astrophysics just astronomy + physics? Or... am I totally confused? I don't know anymore, it seems like you'd need all 3 for either of the 3 fields anyway.

    PL
     
  7. Oct 17, 2005 #6

    SpaceTiger

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    Definitely not pure mathematics. For cosmology, you need to know physics and astronomy. For physics, you need to know a lot of math, but most of it can be learned in your physics courses. If you're leaning in the theoretical direction, I recommend a physics major. For observation, look for an astronomy program.

    This will, of course, depend on the institution. Where I went, the astronomy program was probably more effective at teaching physics than the physics program, so I wouldn't have recommended a physics major, even for a theorist. Also, some places won't have an astronomy program, but most physics programs will allow you to specialize in astronomy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2005
  8. Oct 17, 2005 #7

    SpaceTiger

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    Astronomy is pretty much the same as astrophysics nowadays. Virtually every modern astronomer, observer or otherwise, needs to know a lot of physics to do their job. Theorists, in general, tend to need more training in physics than observers, but a good astronomer should be able to do both theory and observation if the situation calls for it.
     
  9. Oct 17, 2005 #8
    The more math, physics, astronomy/astrophysics, and cosmology I learn (I like to dabble in the latter two), the more I realize how closely related they are. I think that's kind of cool.

    PL
     
  10. Oct 18, 2005 #9
    So would you guys say astrophyiscs or or physics?
     
  11. Oct 18, 2005 #10

    JasonRox

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    I still stand by Pure Mathematics...

    Take a look at Stephen Hawkings. I'm sure he would agree his skills in Pure Math are priceless.
     
  12. Oct 18, 2005 #11
    I thought Roger Penrose did most of his math for him.
     
  13. Oct 19, 2005 #12

    SpaceTiger

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    Depends on the school.
     
  14. Oct 19, 2005 #13

    SpaceTiger

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    What about his skills in physics? What makes you think they're not more priceless?
     
  15. Oct 19, 2005 #14

    JasonRox

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    Physics is obviously more important, but majoring in Pure Mathematics gives you more tools and analytical skills to work with.

    I never said only do Pure Mathematics. :rolleyes:
     
  16. Oct 19, 2005 #15

    SpaceTiger

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    Still, for astrophysics, it would make more sense to double-major in astronomy and physics, if one was set upon double-majoring. If you intend to be a theorist, then math is certainly one of the better second choices (particularly if astro isn't offered), but again, it depends on the school.
     
  17. Oct 19, 2005 #16

    JasonRox

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    I'm making the assumption that they (or he/she) want to be a theorists. If not, then Pure Mathematics is not the best thing to major in.
     
  18. Oct 20, 2005 #17
    One, yes I want to be a theorist

    2. So would you say that majroing in astrophysics is not a good major.

    Do you think that astrophysics and Pure Mathamatics or that astronomy and Pure mathamatics is better? (P.S. I am not exactly sure what astrophysics entails)
    Also , I was wondering if I would get a good enough grounding in physics without a major in it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2005
  19. Oct 20, 2005 #18

    SpaceTiger

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    Your best options are probably:

    1. Astronomy and Physics
    2. Astronomy and Math
    3. Physics and Math

    in that order. Remember, some schools will refer to the major as astronomy and other as astrophysics, but they mean the same thing.
     
  20. Oct 21, 2005 #19
    The only thing is I have seen schools with both astronomy and astrophysics. Do you know what the difference is? (And I think that is the thing that is causing me confusion)
     
  21. Oct 22, 2005 #20

    SpaceTiger

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    Well, I've never seen schools with both options, but if I were to guess, astrophysics would be training you to do theory and astronomy training you to do observation. If you want to do theory, you'll definitely want to major in astrophysics, at the very least. Assuming they don't have dramatically different course requirements (they shouldn't), then I would recommend doing both.
     
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