- #1

Porthos

- 20

- 3

Last semester I was enrolled in computer science and took a discrete mathematics course that included basic proofs and logic. In the course, I was introduced simple proofs, proofs by induction, things like the pigeonhole principle and structural induction, basic propositional logic and predicate logic. The course, as a computer science course, was more focused on solving problems than proofs, but the professor comes from a mathematics background and she proved everything, in full, during class. As a result of having such an excellent professor, I feel very comfortable with all of these things, although more so with the logic than the proofs.

I have to choose this semester between a proofs course taught via the mathematics department that will cover similar things to the ones above, albeit in more depth, or a computer science logic course that will go into logic in much greater depth. Behind the decision lies the fact that I am hoping to complete a degree in physics (probably with a comp. sci. minor), where the computer science course can be used toward the minor, but is not a requirement for the minor. Additionally, it is taught by a superb professor (the same one who taught the other proofs/logic course I took). The proofs course is taught by a professor with a good reputation, although I haven't had one of his courses.

What I am really unsure of, and what is of the most importance to me, is whether one of the topics is going to be more useful in a physics degree than the other. I recognize that proofs are less central to physics than they are to mathematics, but obviously if I am going to be taking some upper year applied mathematics courses, the proofs will be useful, particularly for more advanced linear algebra (intro. linear algebra is a prerequisite for the proofs course). I don't know how important logic at this level is for a physics degree. Is it more important to have the basic propositional/predicate stuff, or should I delve more deeply into things like predicate calculus?

Here is the description of the proofs course:

*"Primarily for students interested in pursuing a degree in one of the mathematical sciences. Logic, set theory, relations, functions and operations, careful study of the integers, discussion of the real and complex numbers, polynomials, and infinite sets."*

Here is the logic course description:

*"Propositional and predicate logic; representing static and dynamic properties of real-world systems; logic as a tool for representation, reasoning and calculation; logic and programming."*

I was hoping that some of the excellent advisors out there with experience at the upper levels of physics will have a feeling as to which one is of more direct use. Any advice you can offer, as always, is greatly appreciated.