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Which major to compliment physics degree? Applied or pure math?

  1. Mar 10, 2010 #1
    Hi. I'm entering university this year and planning to do a double degree. My chief aim would be theoretical physics.

    I'm facing the dilemma that my university's math department offers Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. Since I hope that my second degree would compliment and strengthen my knowledge in physics, which branch of math should I register myself to?

    I have heard that applied math related to physics more closely compared to this "pure" math, which is quite unrelated to theoretical physics. Or is that pure math related to physics in an indirect but still profound way so eventually it can helps my physics?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2010 #2
    Would you be interested in a 2nd degree in the Humanities or Liberal Arts? Since your chief aim is to work as a theoretical physicist, sooner or later you will learn as much math as you care to learn. Why not take this opportunity to delve into a completely different subject to widen your intellectual horizons?
  4. Mar 10, 2010 #3

    Gib Z

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    Mathnomalous: Generally Physics classes will not teach the corresponding Mathematics required, yet take it as assumed knowledge, so if he did another subject altogether, he would have the extra work of learning the mathematics on his own, which I would imagine would stretch his timetabling abilities =)

    dadede: Welcome to Physics Forums. Are you sure theres no way you can't take classes from both areas? Or perhaps by signing up to the applied mathematics faculty, inside their degree you can also do the areas of pure maths that have some physical applications?

    You will definitely want to pick Applied Math if you are looking at direct applicability for Physics. Pure maths has applications in Physics, I can think of Complex Analysis as an example, but this occurs more frequently in Graduate level or above.
  5. Mar 10, 2010 #4
    Thanks Mathnomalous and Gib Z. I have checked it out. Mathematics and applied math offered by my university are not mutually exclusive, meaning there have certain core units that are overlapped. But there are still differences... and attending classes offered by both subject would be rather impossible since it would be too tiresome.

    I'm planning to take up applied math, since most probably it would serve me well in my physics pursuit. ( but then, some minor part of the aspects in applied math can be as irrelevant to physics as pure math...)
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