You're correct. A maths degree is much more useful than a physics degree for doing physics. Graduate math programs focus entirely on theoretical physics applications whereas the physics department courses focus heavily on irrelevant topics such as number theory, analysis and abstract algebra. You're also much more likely to find a suitable research advisor for HEP in a math department than a physics department since most theoretical physicists at research universities work in the math department.Sam_Hawkins wrote:since I want to go stady theoretical physics on grad school, isn't it better to rather go for maths degree? Cos pretty much majority of the researchers in the field are mathematicians anyway...
quizivex wrote:You're correct. A maths degree is much more useful than a physics degree for doing physics. Graduate math programs focus entirely on theoretical physics applications whereas the physics department courses focus heavily on irrelevant topics such as number theory, analysis and abstract algebra. You're also much more likely to find a suitable research advisor for HEP in a math department than a physics department since most theoretical physicists at research universities work in the math department.Sam_Hawkins wrote:since I want to go stady theoretical physics on grad school, isn't it better to rather go for maths degree? Cos pretty much majority of the researchers in the field are mathematicians anyway...
Scooter wrote:At this point I can't tell if that's a sarcastic reply to a sarcastic reply, or if he's missed the boat.
TakeruK wrote:If you want to do mathematics and then apply it to Physics, then sure, a math degree is okay and you can probably find some applied math programs that will study physical phenomena. For example, I was in a Physics department for my MSc and one of my committee members was a Math prof who does his research in celestial/orbital mechanics. However, the majority of his research was in the realm of "what is mathematically possible", instead of "what kind of mathematical models would we use to describe the physics we observe". Small difference, but there's a difference!
But you sound like you want to study physics and use math as a tool to e.g. uncover the theory behind the physical phenomena. I would say that this means you belong in a Physics department and a Physics graduate program. At my undergrad program, there is a joint Honours Physics & Math degree for people with interests that sound close to yours. That degree is technically joint between the Physics and Math departments, but the people interested in theoretical physics had Physics as their "home" department. That is, they fulfilled the Physics department requirements and then added on advanced Math courses to meet the Math requirements of their degree.
It sounds like you are in an undergraduate program right now, and maybe even pretty early on in your degree? It would be a good idea to talk to any academic advisors you might have assigned, or find a prof you can get along with. It is my opinion that if you want to do something like HEP-theory (or anything theoretical Physics), then you should actually get a Physics BS and add as many Math courses as you think you will need or are interested in. That is, do a Physics degree and take a bunch of electives in Math instead!
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