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Why couldn't the math portion be crammed into entry level physics?

  • Thread starter Pleonasm
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Is it too much to combine side by side in a physics class? I'm particularly interested concidering the lack of mathematical rigor that tends to characterize physics textbooks. Some of the math descriptions in physics textbooks is incorrect from a mathematicans viewpoint, while it's precise in the mathematical physics textbooks. So why then take pure math classes for undergraduates if they ultimately only use it as a tool, and abandon several principles taught in pure math?

See here with discussion by mathematicans for reference:

What-do-mathematicians-think-of-the-lack-of-rigor-that-sometimes-happens-in-physics-calculations-e-g-the-way-physics-deals-with-differentials?

 
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Dr. Courtney

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One could also ask why history classes are not as rigorous as English classes with respect to grammar.

It comes down to time. More math means less Physics.
 
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IIRC, the math course in my uni first year (Chemistry) was tacitly admitted to be 'remedial'. I liked Math, but it wasn't my best subject at school. (I got an 'A' in 'General Studies' !! Go figure... ) I certainly had an abstracts 'glass ceiling' beyond simple calculus. Even so, I was astonished to discover how badly many of my fellow students must have been taught...
 

symbolipoint

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IIRC, the math course in my uni first year (Chemistry) was tacitly admitted to be 'remedial'. I liked Math, but it wasn't my best subject at school. (I got an 'A' in 'General Studies' !! Go figure... ) I certainly had an abstracts 'glass ceiling' beyond simple calculus. Even so, I was astonished to discover how badly many of my fellow students must have been taught...
Generosity can be valuable especially when the receivers appreciate it.
 

symbolipoint

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pleonasm,
Are you complaining about Mathematics courses outside of Physics, or about "Mathematical Physics", the course?
 
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One could also ask why history classes are not as rigorous as English classes with respect to grammar.

It comes down to time. More math means less Physics.
Some of the mathematics definitions are just plain wrong in physics book, but never so in mathematical physics books. There was a glaring example of that referenced by a mathematican (former undergrad physicist) I chatted with in which the mathematical definition of something in the physics book was wrong, while it was correct in the mathematics physics book, and he added that ALL mathematical physics books get the math fundamentals right, not so the physics book. That is an unneccesary lack of rigor, don't you think?
 
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pleonasm,
Are you complaining about Mathematics courses outside of Physics, or about "Mathematical Physics", the course?
Mathematical physics is very rigorous. Physics (including theoretical physics) is not, though. It's more about function and using math as a tool, which is fine, but I know mathematicans who are highly critical of "non mathematical physicists" use of math in general.
 

Dr. Courtney

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Some of the mathematics definitions are just plain wrong in physics book, but never so in mathematical physics books. There was a glaring example of that referenced by a mathematican (former undergrad physicist) I chatted with in which the mathematical definition of something in the physics book was wrong, while it was correct in the mathematics physics book, and he added that ALL mathematical physics books get the math fundamentals right, not so the physics book. That is an unneccesary lack of rigor, don't you think?
Perhaps, would be interesting to have the specifics.

My son's mathematical physics teacher freely admits that their approach is perfunctory and barbarian compared with proper mathematical rigor. At the same time, all his math profs are sticklers for rigor. On the whole, he'll be OK. (He's a physics major with a math minor).
 
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Perhaps, would be interesting to have the specifics.

My son's mathematical physics teacher freely admits that their approach is perfunctory and barbarian compared with proper mathematical rigor. At the same time, all his math profs are sticklers for rigor. On the whole, he'll be OK. (He's a physics major with a math minor).
It was a factual error about the definition or function of some mathematical quantity. I am not a math major, but all the math in statistics books for social sciences is to the best of my knowledge copy and pasted from pure statistics, then applied to the field of study. Apparently not when physicists write their books....

Perhaps someone who has done both physics and math know what type of factual errors that might plague physics books, which mathematical physics book do NOT contain.

I can't speak for the frequency of such errors, but there are some, apparently.
 
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Some of the mathematics definitions are just plain wrong in physics book, but never so in mathematical physics books.
Unless you can cite a specific example, this just seems like hyperbole to me.
There was a glaring example of that referenced by a mathematican (former undergrad physicist) I chatted with in which the mathematical definition of something in the physics book was wrong, while it was correct in the mathematics physics book, and he added that ALL mathematical physics books get the math fundamentals right, not so the physics book. That is an unneccesary lack of rigor, don't you think?
Again, what example can you show?
It was a factual error about the definition or function of some mathematical quantity.
This is vague to the point of uselessness.
 
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Unless you can cite a specific example, this just seems like hyperbole to me.
Again, what example can you show?
This is vague to the point of uselessness.
I don't recall his example. Surely some here know of some
 
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Some of the math descriptions in physics textbooks is incorrect from a mathematicans viewpoint, while it's precise in the mathematical physics textbooks. So why then take pure math classes for undergraduates if they ultimately only use it as a tool, and abandon several principles taught in pure math?
Since you aren't able to provide any examples to back up your claim in post #1, I am closing this thread.
 

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