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Does anyone have any suggestions as to what is a good topic for a short talk on theoretical physics to a bunch of Math and Physics undergrads that might make them "embrace" theoretical physics? Thanks.

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closed as off topic by Asaf Karagila, Grigory M, Chandrasekhar, t.b., Chris Taylor Aug 18 '11 at 15:49

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Maybe a better place for this is the physics site? –  J. M. Aug 18 '11 at 14:58
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Do you want to give a "math" talk with "applications to physics" (in which case this site would be good), or do you want to fully embrace physics by given a physics talk and dragging in "mathematical foundations"? For the latter you may want to ask at the physics site. –  Willie Wong Aug 18 '11 at 15:03
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The cousin at Physics.SE of this question: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/13714/embrace-physics –  Willie Wong Aug 18 '11 at 15:38
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I think it is harsh to close this as off-topic. I think this falls within the domain of this site. Voting to reopen it. –  user17762 Aug 18 '11 at 15:53
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To be above the table: I didn't vote to close precisely because the apparent behavior nowadays of the software is to penalize askers of questions that were closed as "off topic". Here a migration (which doesn't penalize the asker) would have been much better than closure. –  J. M. Aug 18 '11 at 16:01

1 Answer 1

This is not so much an "answer" as it is a pointer to where you can go to look for inspiration. Gregory L. Naber has written two very interesting volumes on the application of geometry and topology to physics. These are Topology, Geometry and Gauge Fields: Foundations and Topology, Geometry and Guage Fields: Interactions The second volume builds on the first and each has introductory chapters that provide examples from physics illustrating the (formidable) mathematical machinery that is developed. This is very much a mathematician's view of physics in that the mathematics is presented rigorously with very little hand waving. I would think that within these volumes you could find much of interest to both potential mathematicians and physicists. Since you are targeting undergraduates, you might want to take a look at Appendix A in Foundations. It has a nice elementary discussion of SU(2) and SO(3) and how these relate to QM.

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Thanks, 3Sphere, that sounds interesting. –  user Aug 18 '11 at 17:34

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