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Which elective on applied physics? Optics vs Material Science

  • Thread starter Ashuron
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I am pursuing my Bsc in Physics.
I am still in sophomore year.
This semester and next year I am intending to take some applied physics courses as electives.

I got choices for Junior level electives, which are:
-Optics: covers geometrical optics, interference, diffraction etc.
-Fiber Optics: covers waveguides, fiber fabrication, optical sources/detectors etc.
-Intro to Material Science: covers crystal structures, microstructures and microscopy, defects, phases etc.
-Intro to Material Processing: covers thin film preparation, chemical processing etc.

At most, I am able to take two course from the list.
In general, at this level, which ones do you think are most beneficial(practical purpose or for understanding)?
Please tell me any advices you have.
I have checked some similar thread in physicsforums. It seems some think optics at this level a bit dull.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Optics is doable at the end of your first year, that's when my university teaches it. Fibre optics will probably require knowledge of optics. Material science is probably a prerequisite for material processing as well.
I would advise optics and either fibre optics or material science. It truly depends on where your interests lie, but optics is one of the most important subjects in physics, at least that's my experience because many optical methods are used in experiments.
 
  • #3
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Hey, thanks.
True, material processing course requires the material science course as pre-requisite.

In general, I lean on Optics. It seems important.
But, my department is known for its material science/condensed matter research.

I am still wondering is it even better to substitute those physics electives for mathematics.
 
  • #4
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A lot of condensed matter requires some knowledge of optics. I actually think it's weird that you're studying physics but have had no optics, because it's a first step to quantum mechanics.

I don't know what courses on math you've had, but if you've had calculus up to and including the integral theorems of Gauss and Stokes and some linear algebra (eigenvectors, diagonalizing matrices, systems of differential equations) I think you should be fine.
 
  • #5
141
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Well, optics as at the level of HRW were discussed in my intro phys course.
My impression is that since those applied physics courses I mentioned are supposed to be taken in my 3rd year of study, the optics course will examine the concepts deeper.

I took calc 3 and linear algebra classes btw.
 

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