I am an undergraduate physics student who wants to be a theoretical physicist. The math department in my uni offers the following sequences of classes:

~Analysis 1 -> Analysis 2 -> Topology

~Intro to set theory and combinatorics -> groups and rings -> Multilinear algebra

Due to time issues I can only take one of the sequences, what should i take?


closed as primarily opinion-based by Qmechanic May 22 '18 at 4:58

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ All the mathematics a physicist needs will come up on physics courses, except perhaps details of rigour. If you think any step is iffy, Stack Exchange can probably explain it. For example, this level of detail tends to be missing from undergrad physics lectures: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/138217/… $\endgroup$ – J.G. May 22 '18 at 6:11
  • $\begingroup$ For particle physics, analysis and topology. For quantum computing, groups and linear algebra. $\endgroup$ – Mitchell Porter May 22 '18 at 7:04
  • $\begingroup$ Neither seems to be particularly well adapted to the needs of theoretical physics; probably the key subject here is differential geometry. This helps with GR and string theory. It's often quite bad taught. It's still, I think, in the process of being assimilated by the physics community. Essentially it's the next step beyond vector analysis. $\endgroup$ – Mozibur Ullah May 22 '18 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ Often the emphasis is wrong on maths courses. Looking at the first sequence, it looks like the focus is on point set topology; the topology that's important in theoretical physics is more to do with algebraic topology - cohomology for example. Again, going back to differential geometry, there is a natural introduction there because the graded algebra of differential forms has a second structure, that of a complex of algebraic topology and thus we can form cohomology. This side-steps the difficult topic of algebraic topology. $\endgroup$ – Mozibur Ullah May 22 '18 at 10:50