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Which of these courses could be seen as superfluous?

  1. Dec 30, 2014 #1
    Hi, I'm a long-time lurker, and finally decided to get in on the fun with you guys.

    I have a list of courses I can take at my university, and I'm wondering which of these I could safely go without if pursuing the physics B.S. as my primary degree (as opposed to math - my current).

    I'll put those which would be required if pursuing a double major in bold! (however, my goal is not to get out as quickly as possible, but rather take the proper courses to prepare me for grad school)

    - Geometry
    - Topology
    - Intro to Advanced Math (Set Theory/Proofs/Logic)
    - Vector Analysis

    - Complex Analysis
    - Abstract/Modern Algebra
    - Real Analysis (I & II)

    - Combinatorics
    - Graph Theory
    - Number Theory
    - Differential Equations II (Partial Diff Eqs.)

    On the other hand, while I'm here, I'll ask this as well - I'm strongly considering staying as a mathematics major and having a strong background in physics (perhaps to go to grad school for mathematical physics). So, if that's the case, which of these physics courses could be 'stripped' from the curriculum and allow me to maintain a broad base?

    - Intro to thermal/modern physics
    - Thermal Physics
    - Electromagnetism

    - Optics
    - Solid State Physics
    - Classical Mechanics
    - Modern Physics (with lab)

    - Quantum Physics
    - Quantum Theory of Two State Systems
    - Relativity (special)
    - Computational Physics
    - Electronics lab
    - Advanced measurements lab
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 30, 2014 #2


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    Gold Member

    I'm confused with the way you asked your question so I answer in my own way. I list you the things you should take if you want to go to mathematical physics for grad school:

    -Vector analysis
    -Complex analysis
    -Abstract algebra(maybe only a subset of it but that subset is really necessary)
    -Real analysis
    -Differential equations II

    -Intro to thermal/modern physics
    -Thermal physics
    -Classical mechanics
    -Modern physics
    -Anything that contains the word quantum(Some of the aren't necessary and you may understand them yourself or with self-study but its really necessary to know them)

    Now it comes the question what you wanna do in grad-school. You may work on theoretical condensed matter physics then you need sold state courses too and maybe you don't need relativity here.
  4. Dec 30, 2014 #3
    What are some interesting types of mathematical physics research going on right now?
  5. Dec 30, 2014 #4


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    Gold Member

    They are of course much more than I can know or list! Actually in most parts of physics, there's room for purely theoretical investigations. But those parts of physics that seem to be more active in this respect, I think are the below ones(This is only a list of some examples) :

    -Quantum Gravity
    -Particle Physics and Quantum Field Theory
    -String Theory
    -Condensed Matter Physics
    -Critical Phenomena
    -Non-linear Dynamics and Chaos
    -Density Functional Theory
    -Strongly Correlated Electron Systems
    -General Relativity
    -Plasma Physics
    -Complex Systems
    -Quantum Information and Quantum Computing
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