Physics is more than applied mathematics
I thought rather hard before reblogging this, as I do not wish to cause any conflict between the different parts of my School – the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Physics and Astronomy!
I don’t think I really agree that Physics is “more” than Applied Mathematics, or at least I would put it rather differently. Physics and Mathematics intersect, but there are parts of mathematics that are not physical and parts of physics that are not mathematical.
A problem set for potential applicants in the foyer of the Physics department of a premier UK university. It looks like physics, but it is in fact maths. The reason is that in the context of this problem, the string cannot pull a particle along at all unless it stretches slightly. Click the image for a larger diagram.
While accompanying my son on an Open Day in the Physics Department of a premier UK university, I was surprised and appalled to be told that Physics ‘was applied mathematics‘.
I would just like to state here for the record that Physics is notapplied mathematics.
So what’s the difference exactly?
I think there are two linked, but subtly distinct, differences.
1. Physics is a science and mathematics is not.
This means that physics has an experimental aspect. In physics, it is possible to disprove a hypothesis by experiment: this cannot be done in maths.
2. Physics is about…
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