Which path?

  • Thread starter math_owen
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  • #1
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Ok. I have to decided on which path to take next year.

I want to be a mathematical physicist. I'm going into my senior year, and I have almost literally taken every math class offered. I took 8 pure math classes last year. I've taken the 1st year of physics too.

Next year I can take graduate classes in mathematics or I cant opt to take physics classes. Mixing them doesn't really work with the scheduling. I would need to take 3 physics classes in the fall so that I can take quantum in the spring. I would like to research the mathematics behind quantum in graduate school and beyond.

So, should I take the grad classes, which will help me get into a better math grad school, or do I take the physics?

I've been told by some that I should learn the physics on my own if I wish to be a mathematical physicist. Is this realistic? To me, this sounds like Bourbaki-arrogance. I don't know too many Bourbaki's that can handle reading Landau, but I'm sure they would say they "could". Thing for me is, I "want" to be able to read Landau and beyond someday - as well as the classic Algebra by Bourbaki.

Thanks.
 
Last edited:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
1,256
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read Landau, good idea
 
  • #3
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You say you will need to take three classes this fall so that you can take quantum in the spring - does that mean you've not taken any quantum at all so far?
 
  • #4
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No, no quantum yet. In the fall would be a waves and optics class, EM, and mech, and in the spring quantum 1 and EM 2. I'm not at all worried about the intense work. Especially after Differential Geom, Analysis on Manifolds, Fourier analysis and Complex analysis last semester. I just want to make the wisest choice.
 
  • #5
233
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If you want to apply to graduate programs in physics, undergraduate courses in classical mechanics, E&M, statistical mechanics and quantum are pretty much essential. You might want to take a lab course too.

My advice: you have 4 (5? 6?) years of grad school to take grad courses. Use your undergrad to broaden your background and explore material that sounds interesting.
 

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