Will I Be Prepared for Methods of Theoretical Physics?

  • Thread starter mg0stisha
  • Start date
In summary, if you have completed calc III and have math from Intro Physics and Linear Algebra, you should be able to take this course. However, if you have not completed Intro Physics or Linear Algebra, you may need to speak with your advisor.
  • #1
mg0stisha
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0
Hello,

Next fall I am supposed to be taking a course titled Methods of Theoretical Physics (prerequisite for Advanced E&M, Modern Physics, QM, Dynamics, etc...), yet will have only been through the first two semesters of calc. The course guide describes the class as, "topics including methods of theoretical physics, vector analysis, differential equations of mathematical physics, analytic functions and integration in the complex plane, Laplace transforms, Fourier series, Fourier transforms, and their applications in physics."

Basically, coming from those who have gone through mathematics like this, will i be prepared for this after only completing Calculus I and II and being enrolled in Calculus III?
 
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  • #2
mg0stisha said:
Hello,

Next fall I am supposed to be taking a course titled Methods of Theoretical Physics (prerequisite for Advanced E&M, Modern Physics, QM, Dynamics, etc...), yet will have only been through the first two semesters of calc. The course guide describes the class as, "topics including methods of theoretical physics, vector analysis, differential equations of mathematical physics, analytic functions and integration in the complex plane, Laplace transforms, Fourier series, Fourier transforms, and their applications in physics."

Basically, coming from those who have gone through mathematics like this, will i be prepared for this after only completing Calculus I and II and being enrolled in Calculus III?

I'd recommend asking the professor or someone who has taken the course. We can only speculate. At my school, having calc 3 completed would definitely be helpful, as would having the introductory calc based physics sequence and linear algebra. Our version of that course put it between introductory calc based physics and upper level physics courses and assumed all physics math prereqs were completed. It was 4th semester for majors.
 
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  • #3
Ours sounds the same as yours placement-wise (in between calc-based intro and upper level), but with no guidance on math prereqs. I was just wondering about anyone who's done this type of math and what they'd suggest.
 
  • #4
What are the prerequisites for the course, as listed in your college or university's course catalog or web site?
 
  • #5
Just Physics 181 (second semester of calc-based intro). However, a co-requisite for that class is Calc II.
 
  • #6
Then you're probably OK, because the department probably designed the course specifically for preparing people coming out of intro physics (with a Calc II background) to take their upper-level physics courses. This is a fairly common type of "math methods" course.
 
  • #7
Okay, thank you! I was a little worried, a couple of people i know who have been through the calc sequence, linear algebra and diff eq's were having a little trouble with it, made me a little nervous.
 
  • #8
mg0stisha said:
Okay, thank you! I was a little worried, a couple of people i know who have been through the calc sequence, linear algebra and diff eq's were having a little trouble with it, made me a little nervous.

If you're still in your first year and haven't taken those other math courses yet, I'd speak with your advisor about it. Sometimes it's the case that there are assumed prereqs. They may or may not be assuming that if you've finished physics 181 and are taking this course that you're a 2nd year physics major with other math completed.

I ran into this problem when taking advanced probability, which only had calc3 as a stated prereq, but assumed knowledge of set theory and a bunch of other things all of the math majors in the class were familiar with. I wasn't a math major :smile:.

You can often pick up things you need as you go if they aren't explicit prereqs, but that will depend on how busy you are with other courses too.
 
  • #9
I believe i have a pretty light schedule that semester as i can't take much besides statics without the methods of theoretical physics. I'll still talk to a professor though. Thanks, guys! :)
 

Related to Will I Be Prepared for Methods of Theoretical Physics?

1. What background knowledge do I need to have in order to be prepared for methods of theoretical physics?

In order to be prepared for methods of theoretical physics, it is helpful to have a strong foundation in mathematics, including calculus and linear algebra. Knowledge of classical mechanics, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics is also beneficial.

2. Is it necessary to have programming skills for methods of theoretical physics?

While programming skills are not a requirement for methods of theoretical physics, they can be extremely useful. Many physicists use programming languages such as Python and MATLAB to analyze data and create simulations.

3. How important is mathematical rigor in methods of theoretical physics?

Mathematical rigor is essential in methods of theoretical physics. Theoretical physicists use mathematical tools to develop and analyze models that describe physical phenomena. Without a strong understanding of mathematical concepts and techniques, it can be difficult to fully grasp these models.

4. What are some common challenges in learning methods of theoretical physics?

One of the main challenges in learning methods of theoretical physics is the abstract nature of the subject matter. Theoretical concepts can be difficult to visualize and may not have direct real-world applications. Additionally, the use of advanced mathematics and complex equations can be challenging for some students.

5. How can I best prepare for methods of theoretical physics?

To prepare for methods of theoretical physics, it is important to have a strong foundation in mathematics and physics. Practice solving problems and familiarize yourself with mathematical tools commonly used in theoretical physics, such as differential equations and Fourier transforms. It can also be helpful to read introductory textbooks on the subject and attend lectures or seminars on theoretical physics topics.

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