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Your physics bachelor program

  • Thread starter sony
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Hi,

I'm curious about what your curriculum and book list look like.

I've looked at the webpage of the university I'll begin at this fall, and was a bit perplexed to see that many courses are based on custom made issues (for courses like mechanics and such), not books. Also, in the 1. and 2. semester there's only mathematics (diff.eq, calculus, linear algebra, books by: Robert A. Adams, David C. Lay, and William E. Boyce), and no physics... ?

So, is this normal? Could you guys tell how the beginning of your bachelor degree looks like?

Book recommendations would be great. I don't mind spending a couple of 100 dollars (or more), to ensure me surviving my degree...
 

dextercioby

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You can't be a physicist,unless you some mathematics,so the first year of uni studies are for mathematical preparation and intro.physics courses.Serious matter should start in the second year.

My first year had
*Mathematical Analysis
*Abstract & Linear Algebra.
*Analytical & Differential Geometry.

for the maths part.And intro to mathematical physics alongside
*CTPCN formulation of nonrelativistic thermodynamics.
*Electricity & Magnetism.
*Classical Mechanics (the Newtonian formulation of Classical Particle Mechanics).
*General Chemistry (intro course for the physics stud.)

Daniel.
 
3,761
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In my first year i had

calculus (one and multiple variables)
linear algebra
analytical and differential geometry
theoretical mechanics (classical mechanics of point particles and intro to Euler equations and the Hamilton and Lagrange formalism)
intro to EM/special relativity
intro to optics
intro to scientific philosophy/science
programming (JAVA)


second year

QM introduction

intro to nuclear physics

intro to atomic physics

intro to relativistic mechanics (special relativity that is)

thermodynamics

complex calculus (complex integration, Z-transform, distributions, Laplace transform and the invers bromwich integral)

statistics

computational physics (the stuff on Newton Cotes, Peano, Sturm Liouville)

intro to astrophysics and spherical tri-geometry

mechanics of rigid bodies, Euler kinematics

crystallography : boring

Electromagnetism : the stuff on Green-functions and potentials, skin effect, cerenkov radiation, Lienard-Wiechert potentials and a little intro on plasma physics, local Maxwell equations,...



marlon
 
Last edited:

dextercioby

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Here is the latest thread on physics books reccomandations.Actually there's a pretty solid list in my post on the second page.

Daniel.
 
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"I've looked at the webpage of the university I'll begin at this fall, and was a bit perplexed to see that many courses are based on custom made issues (for courses like mechanics and such), not books."

A few courses were run like this in my school, part of my calculus was run like this, and all of linear algebra (they issued bound "notes" they sold to us for about 15$, made by professors at the school). In relativity our teacher had his own notes he teached from, and then recommended another book if we wanted extra reading. So without knowing how it is at other schools, i'd say it's not uncommon, and i rather liked it, since i saved lots of money on books by buying cheaper notes that he taught from.

As far as recommendations, i just finished (the exam is in 12 hours :) ) an intro to EM and we used Griffiths "Introduction to electrodynamics", and i think it's the best book i've read. It's really clear and easy to read, always stops to explain things when you might be wondering about something he just said.
 
754
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Marlon where are you going to school?
 
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I year (number of credits: measuring the Student's required commitment)

I sem.
Introduction to Physics 4
Calculus I-II (functions of 1 real variable) 8
Geometry and linear algebra 6
Intro to Inf.Tech. 4
Chemistry 6
English 4

II sem.
Mechanics 8
Calculus III 4
Programming I (intro to C++) 4
Laboratory I (Mechanics, thermology) 8
Compl. of geometry (spect. theory,diff.geom) 4



II year

Electrom. 8
Calculus IV 4
Analytic Mechanics 4
Programming II 4
Group theory 4
Free choice (maybe archit. of computers) 4

Thermodynamics 4
Waves and Optics 4
Statistical Mechanics 4
Laboratory II (El., optics, therm.) 8
Relativity and Quanta 6
Diff. equations 4



III year

Intro to quantum Mechanics 6
Mathematic methods for Physics I 6
Intro to Physics of Matter 6
Intro to Physics of the solid state 4
Intro to Mathematic Physics 4
Laboratory of modern Physics 8

Nuclei and Particles 4
Probabilistic methods for Physics 4
Mathematic methods for Physics II 4
Training 10
Thesis 6
 
1,349
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what exactly do you guys learn in differential geometry in first year? I'm thinking we just call it calculus in canada but i could bt wrong.
To get my astrophysics minor..

First year
Physics I Intro Physics II Modern
CHem I Chem II
Calc I Calc II
Alg I
Psych I

2nd year
Vector Calculus
linAlg
DEs
Numerical Methods
E&M
AnalMech&SR(combined)

3rd year
Astrophysics I: Stellarphysics
QM I: Modern
MathPhys I

4th year
Astrophysics II: Cosmology
QM II: Quantum

5th year
Relativity
Computational Physics

courses that i wanted to take AnalMech Advanced(classical Mech)
& a course in particle physics that I wanted to create with a Dr. Pudritz willing to teach
but I only got 5/10 students required to make the course...
 
754
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Differential Geometry is not Calculus.
 
Last edited:
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Differential geometry deals with: parametric curves, torsion, Frénet frame and formulae, surfaces ecc...

Calculus is the same as Analisis: real and vectorial functions, limits, differential calculus, integral calculus, series, variational calculus, differential equations ecc...
 
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man, belgium is hardcore! :eek:

i'm at the university of florida, and this is what a double major in math and physics looks like, with the honors physics course sequence. (ie, what i'm doing):

first sem
enriched physics I and physics I lab
chem I and chem I lab
calc II

second sem
enriched physics II and physics II lab
chem II
calc III
diff eq

summer
functions of a complex variable

third sem
thermal physics
intro to theoretical physics (really should be called mathematical methods; it substitutes for mechanics I)
linear algebra

fourth sem
EM 1
classical mech II (known as analytical mechanics elsewhere)
enriched modern physics

fifth sem
EM 2
quantum mechanics I
mathematical statistics I: intro to probability

sixth sem
quantum mechanics II
stat mech
abstract algebra

seventh sem
advanced lab I
advanced calc I

eighth sem
advanced lab II
advanced calc II


this gives a good idea of what's required for both degrees, although the order is certainly not unique. i also want to squeeze in intermediate differential equations and partial differential equations, and take intro to solid-state, which is an introductory grad-level course here.
 
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Differential geometry deals with: parametric curves, torsion, Frénet frame and formulae, surfaces ecc...

Is that for first year Differential Geometry?

anyhow in canada we include parametric Curves,Torsion and surfaces as part of Calculus first year.
 

robphy

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Freshman Year: --as an EE major

Analytic Geometry, Vectors, Matrices
Calculus I, II
Physics I (Tipler)
Engineering Design
Computer Programming
General Chemistry
Physical Chemistry

(summer)
Vector Calculus
ODEs

Sophomore Year:

Electric Circuits
Engineering Mechanics (Beer-Johnston)
Physics II (Tipler)
Probability

--- started to drop out of EE
Modern Physics (Tipler)
Computer Graphics
Selected Topics in Math
Classical Mechanics (Goldstein)
PDEs (Berg)

Junior Year: --transferred, now a Math and Physics major

Math Methods/ODE (Kreyszig)
Differential Geometry (curves)
EM (Purcell)
Mechanics (Symon)
Lab

Math Methods/Complex (Marsden)
Differential Geometry (surfaces) (Kreyszig?)
EM II (notes)
Quantum (French-Taylor)
Relativity (Skinner)
Special Topics

Senior Year:

Abstract Algebra (Fraleigh?)
Topology
Thermo (Kittel)
Quantum II
Tutorial Advanced Topics: GR (Lawden)
EM-G (Ohanian)

Linear Algebra (Lang)
Lab
EM II-G (Ohanian)
Relativity-G (Landau/Lifshitz)
+my last 4 humanities courses (ugh...)

I should add that a few of these courses were not required by the program... some of them I just really wanted to take.
 
Last edited:

ek

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Astronomy Major.

Year 1:

Mechanics I
Mechanics II
Calculus I
Calculus II
Java

Year 2:

Electronics
Quantum Physics
EM I
Astronomy I
Astronomy II
Calculus III
Calculus IV

Year 3:

Thermodynamics
Optics
EM II
Extragalactic Astronomy
Solar System
Applied Diff Eqs
Partial Diff Eqs
Calculus V
Complex Variables

Year 4:

Atomic/Molecular Physics
Nuclear Physics
Quantum Mechanics I
Astrophysics I
Astrophysics II
Radio Astronomy
Galactic Astronomy

Right now I'm in the middle of second year. This fall I take Electronics, Calculus III, Astronomy II and my elective which is Geophysics.
 
Honours UofM

Year 1

Mechanics
Waves and Modern Physics
Calculus 1
Calculus 2
Linear Algebra

Electives (in my case)
Elements of Discrete Mathematics
Science and Religion
Evil in World Religions
Death and Concepts of the future

Year 2

Optics + 1/2 lab
Introduction to Theoretical Physics
Quantum Physics 1
Electromagnetic Feild Theory
Circuit Theory + 1/2 lab
Classical Mechanics 1
Calculus 3A

Electives (in my case)
Astronomy

Year 3

Thermodynamics
Classical Mechanics 2
Electromagnetism and Special Relativity
Quantum Physics 2
Honours Physics Lab
Linear Spaces for Physicists
Applied Complex Analysis

Electives (I'm currently undecided)

Year 4

Quantum Physics 3
Introduction to Nuclear Physics
Introduction to Solid State Physics
Honours Physics Lab

Electives (Not there yet)


So that's what my undergrad looks like
 
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Maxos said:
Differential geometry deals with: parametric curves, torsion, Frénet frame and formulae, surfaces ecc...
correct,

we also studied those subjects all together with stuff like Gauss curvature, Gauss's Theorema Egregium,..

marlon
 
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In my first year of Physics and Astrophysics, I had:

Core Physics 1: Classical Mechanics and Relativity, Optics and Waves, Quantum Mechanics
Core Physics 2: Electromagnetism, Electric Circuits, Temperature and Matter (mostly thermodynamics, some stuff like bulk modulus, too)
Physical Maths 1 (algebra, complex numbers, vectors, differentiation, applications of differentiation)
Physical Maths 2 (integration, first and second order differential equations, partial derivatives, multiple integrals)
Intro to Astronomy
Physics Lab 1
Astrolab
Physics and Communication Skills (waste of time. We did some computing, firstly word processing and spreadsheets, then MathCad. We also did a group poster and had to write an essay and give a talk to our tutorial groups)
 
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Nylex said:
Physics and Communication Skills (waste of time. We did some computing, firstly word processing and spreadsheets, then MathCad. We also did a group poster and had to write an essay and give a talk to our tutorial groups)
This is so hard to imagine for me. In our universities i really do not know of any specific subjects on this matter.

marlon
 
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Well if we're doing years, then i have:

Math Intro (assumes decent knowledge of calculus, goes into multiple variables etc)
Linear Algebra
Math for physicists (PDE's and vector calculus)
Classical mechanics,
Special relativity
Thermodynamics (mostly statistical)
Electromagnetism (just finished today \o/ )
And one physics based elective (astro/bio/geo)

Then after this first yaer it all depends on what path you choose, everyone has two quantum courses, and other then that it's (physics) electives.
 
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marlon said:
This is so hard to imagine for me. In our universities i really do not know of any specific subjects on this matter.

marlon
Yeah, I'm not sure how common over here courses like that are. Most universities here seem to teach programming as part of the first year computing, but we had to get office stuff and MathCad :rolleyes:. The word processing stuff they made us to seemed to be the most pointless thing. We were given documents, like biographies of physicists with images and text and had to reproduce them exactly. I mean, come on, it's not hard to format documents. The students that just finished their first year had C++ instead of the spreadsheets/word processing.
 
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Differential geometry deals with: parametric curves, torsion, Frénet frame and formulae, surfaces ecc...

Is that for first year Differential Geometry?

anyhow in canada we include parametric Curves,Torsion and surfaces as part of Calculus first year.
Yes for the first year.

Actually, the subject is included in both "Calculus III" (for integrals) and "Complements of Geometry" (more specifically)
 
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do you guys ha e course called vector calculus? Topics include
div/curl, flowe field, parametric Curves and Surfaces,torsion/BNK-B(don't remember the term???/Normal/curvature,
triple integrals, stokes Theorem Gauss theorem
 

dextercioby

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Nope,those were parts from our Analysis and Intro to Mathematical Physics courses.

Daniel.
 
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Year 1:

  • Physics 1 - Mechanics and Thermodynamics
  • Physics 2 - Electromagnetism and Optics
  • Physics 3 - Modern Physics
  • Mathematical Methods of Physics 1 - Multivariable/Vector Calculus, Linear Algebra and ODE.
  • Calculus
  • C programming

Year 2:

  • Quantum Mechanics 1
  • Electricity and Magnetism 1
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Mathematical Methods of Physics 2 - Special Functions, Complex Calculus and PDE.
  • Optics
  • Thermal and Statistical Physics
  • Lab.
 

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