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1 vote

Skills Difference between Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians

It is not so much a difference in skills, but the philosophical approach that determines their use. A physicist would primarily be interested in questions about what reality is and how we perceive it. ...
Kapil's user avatar
  • 980
2 votes

Skills Difference between Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians

In my experience as a mathematician who has started to study physics at various points, there is a level of "physical intuition" that I lack compared to my colleagues who studied physics the ...
Alex Jones's user avatar
2 votes

Skills Difference between Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians

I think there's a big difference between mathematical detail and pedantry. Very often the validity of a theorem relies on many details, and one has to be very careful with the assumptions. Sometimes ...
marcelo salgado's user avatar
3 votes

Skills Difference between Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians

I report a conversation I had with an exceptionally talented physics professor. He said, at some point you realise that it is not possible to know everything and the skill set to build proof in ...
Three Diag's user avatar
  • 4,069
2 votes

Skills Difference between Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians

I have not looked at all the all the answers, but I will give my story. The high school and undergraduate skills are about the same. It is not until you take the advanced undergraduate or graduate ...
Jerrold Franklin's user avatar
15 votes

Skills Difference between Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians

You've already gotten a lot of answers, but many seem to be from the point of view of mathematicians, or people who do both mathematics and physics. This answer is from the point of view of someone ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 8,690
9 votes

Skills Difference between Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians

As a math person, I do get pretty frustrated trying to read physics material by all the unstated assumptions and vague definitions floating around the work (much as the OP says). Here's an article I ...
Daniel R. Collins's user avatar
7 votes

Skills Difference between Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians

Since no one seems to have defended the physics approach yet let me just add that giving up some rigor does have its advantages. Theoretical physics is usually very much ahead of rigorous math. The ...
Kvothe's user avatar
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33 votes

Skills Difference between Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians

My opinion departs rather significantly from the main line seen in most of the answers here, so I'll write another answer. I have a PhD in physics and transitioned between physics and math many times, ...
QuantumBrick's user avatar
  • 2,461
5 votes

Skills Difference between Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians

There are many great comparisons given, and I would like to add another along side them. In physics many assumptions are often made to simplify things. That is necessary, and perfectly reasonable. ...
Ken Horne's user avatar
4 votes

Skills Difference between Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians

This answer isn't complete and is only meant to be complementary to the other answers here. One thing I have noticed is that physics curricula, on average, do a much better job emphasizing geometric ...
Ryan Budney's user avatar
7 votes

Skills Difference between Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians

A question near and dear to my heart. I arrived at college self-taught in several subjects which, except to those with self-discipline of a type unknown to me, meant my skills were strong in those ...
vomlehn's user avatar
  • 71
20 votes

Skills Difference between Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians

Here are my opinions based on my experience as a student and as a professor. For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to understand how things worked at a fundamental level. Naturally this led ...
NWMT's user avatar
  • 301
10 votes

Skills Difference between Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians

I sit (as an applied mathematician) on a few PhD committees in Physics and I would say the line is quite blurred, many times. The main difference, I would say, lies in the "requirement for proof&...
FrozenMiddle's user avatar
6 votes

Skills Difference between Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians

I have not studied math or physics at anything like an advanced level. But I have read a lot of biographies of mathematicians and physicists. Of course, physicists vary. But quite a few of the very ...
Peter Flom's user avatar
  • 3,529
22 votes

Skills Difference between Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians

This is probably a better fit for Mathematics Stack Exchange or Physics Stack Exchange, and might be too opinion-oriented anyway, but for what it's worth I'll give some comments about my experience of ...
Dave L Renfro's user avatar

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