1. What do physics majors take?
- I didn't really find many university catalogs very helpful.
- So there's a first semester introductory course, typically covering Mechanics, then advanced mechanics later
- Then there's a second semester course, perhaps covering Thermodynamics, then advanced thermodynamics later, statistical mechanics
- Then there's a third introductory course, usually Electromagnetism, then more advanced electromagnetism later
- Quantum physics, particle physics, and relativity
- Computational physics
So the Library of Congress adds geophysics and meteorology. I suppose fluid mechanics wasn't exactly mentioned above either.
3. Then there are physics textbooks. Here are the units in one I have:
- Modern Physics
I. Classical Mechanics
- Kinematics - describing motion, including rotational motion
- Dynamics - the forces that cause motion
- The math required to do these well includes basic algebra, trig, differential and integral calculus; there is at least some minimal treatment of vectors, radian measurement, partial differential equations
- wave mechanics (mechanical, fluid, sound)
- add logarithms to the math of sound waves
- Great deal of overlap here with those aspects of chemistry relating to changes of states.
- zeroth, first and second laws of thermodynamics
- natural logarithms and e pop up occasionally
- statistical mechanics gets into summation functions and probabilistic functions
- I suppose meteorology and geophysics go here.
- Maxwell's four laws and beyond
- Not much new mathematically, surface integrals
- relativity, special and general
- Relativity required some new math, especially non-Euclidean geometry
- cosmic physics
- quantum mechanics
- Quantum mechanics involves a lot of linear algebra, including matrix algebra. It involves complex analysis, that is, extensive use of complex numbers. There is e.
- There is of course the standard and exotic equipment, including everything from particle accelerators to voltmeters to the Hubble Space telescope.
- Computers have increasingly played a role in doing physics, to where computational physics is an important piece of the puzzle