Math in the Physical Sciences

Modern Physics and Mathematics

What is modern physics and how is mathematics used?

In contrast to classical physics—although there are overlapping topics—modern physics includes relativistic mechanics, atomic, nuclear and particle physics, and quantum physics. Mathematics is very relevant to all these topics, with physicists using mathematics as their toolbox to find out the physical answers to the universe. For example—and these are only generalizations—the study of quantum mechanics often means a person uses calculus, algebraic techniques, and to some extent, probability and statistics; general relativity uses differential geometry; and quantum field theory uses matrices and group theory. In fact, according to most physicists, you can never know enough mathematics when you study physics because it seems one type of math often leads to another in the natural, physical world.



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