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Mathematical and Computational Methods

Georgetown University via edX


Physicists use math all of the time in nearly everything that they work on. Hence, it is critical that you become efficient in being able to use more advanced math to enable you to work on more advanced physics courses. Most of you are currently what I would call a technician at math. You are able to perform the required manipulations to find and simplify answers. But, in many cases, you are missing the deeper understanding to help you interconnect different math topics and for you to be able to apply the relevant math for whatever problem you will face, based on your knowledge of how the different math topics inter-relate. On the other hand, a practitioner is someone who not only is technically adept at performing math calculations, but also have the insight and deeper understanding to know how to recognize what math applies to what problem. They understand how math is interconnected and recognize that math involves a handful of simple ideas that repeat. They are able to re-derive important formulas from basic principles or know precisely where to look them up and use them.

The goal of this class is to transform you from a math technician to a math practitioner. Mathematicians take this one step further and actually create new math. We will not focus on how to do that at all in this class.

Taught by

James Freericks


4.9 rating, based on 36 Class Central reviews

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  • I am writing the following review having completed the course except for the epilogue and the final. It's difficult for me to write a review because I was familiar with most of the material, and so I must try and write from the point of view of a so…
  • Anonymous
    I want to make clear in advance that this course's main target is possibly not being a MOOC, but might be just an "I Want YOU", to dig up as many clever and interested oldies (maybe students too) as possible, and check via the course forum whether…
  • Aero
    I can not express my appreciation for this fantastic course using my limited English capability, but this course really intrigues me and gives me a stepping stone to higher professional career in the computational world: * Highest quality of Math c…
  • Anonymous
    Full disclosure: I am a math teacher and I have been taking this course on audit. I am about a quarter of the way through and I am VERY impressed. First, I have learned a ton. I actually have an MS in math but I have done things in this class that…
  • Anonymous
    This course on mathematical methods teaches a fair amount of what you need to know for upper division undergraduate science courses. I previously had courses in calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations, and about half of the content of…
  • Robert Roy MacGregor
    The idea of becoming a practitioner rather than just a plug-in technician immediately struck me as the way physics/math should be taught. Professor Freericks is incredible. He is very knowledgeable and clear in his presentation. The material is specially selected to meet the goals. This course is important and well worth taking.
  • Anonymous
    I enjoyed taking this course on the edx platform and learnt quite a lot but that does not make me a practitioner yet since that takes a lot of practice. The best features of the class were the in class problems, the problem of the week and the activ…
  • Paresh Kenkare
    I highly recommend this class. My expectations in taking this course were (a) to brush up on the engineering math courses I took more than 35 years ago and on which I performed poorly and (b) to obtain a foundation in mathematics which would help me…
  • Anonymous
    The course is clear and concise; yet it provides details on topics covered. the staff is good in answering question.
  • Anonymous
    I am an adult learner with a Master's degree in Engineering and took this course via the audit option on EdX. This was a great sampling of myriad techniques I had not seen before in my studies. Had I known of some of these techniques when I was gett…
  • Anonymous
    Challenging but very rewarding course. I learned many interesting mathematical methods beyond the introductory calculus, like Vector Calculus and Differential Equations. If you already have some mathematical maturity, but you miss practice, and you want to fill some gaps, this is, in my opinion, the best mathematical course on edX.

    Professor Jim Freericks was very helpful and available during the whole class, and he is an excellent teacher, and I enjoyed every week.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent course. The “course book” was complete within the stated goals for the course, then the material was made clear and relevant in the lecture videos. I found the in-class exercises very helpful in helping me understand the material and highlighting need for additional study; there was always a good range of difficulty and thought challenging opportunities. The course showed an excellent blend of mathematical rigor and practical applications in physics. I would recommend this course for anyone interested in physics and engineering.
  • Ged Langosz
    This course covers a huge range of topics from "Devious math tricks", Feynman Integration, Infinitely dimensional Spheres, Vector Calculus, Complex Numbers, Linear algebra, Differential equations etc etc . All topics are covered in lectures and ful…
  • Anonymous
    Excellent course. I was always looking for an "advanced" course that would give an overview of all that math I have seen in many places but I have never studied. The course was challenging for me but the big number of exercises really helped practice my skills and improve comprehension. What to say about Professor Freericks? This is my second course with him. Cannot wait to have the third one! Five stars to the course and six stars to Professor Freericks.
  • Profile image for Sam Shaaban
    Sam Shaaban
    I took the paid version of this course, partially to refresh what I learned 30 years ago in electrical engineering classes, and partially to fill in the blanks on material I never learned that well to start with. It's a great overview course, just deep enough to give you a good feel for the material, but broad enough to cover a great deal in one course. Professor Freericks is really on top of the discussion forums, providing thoughtful feedback within hours on any question asked.
  • Anonymous
    This course was very challenging but in a good way. Professor Freericks made very complicated and sophisticated material understandable. The goal of learning to truly think mathematics in a way that makes one a practitioner instead of just a technician is so important, I think that it has a place in just about every subject. Excellent course.
  • Anonymous
    An absolutely excellent course - very deep and like the regular checks for understanding. I wish i had more time to do the course some justice. Look forward to seeing some more applied maths courses in the future.

    As a new area it would be great to see a course on maths in finance topics such as options, exotic options and other derivative pricing. I know this is very different but is something I work in a lot.
  • Excellent course. The professor is very clear in explaining the concepts. The lecutres are short and precise covering both theory and examples. A lot of interesting topics covered - especially the ones on calculus, vector calculus and differential equations were covered very well. Looking forward to his future courses
  • Anonymous
    Many unexpected but interesting topics included. I enjoyed the videos with the experiments/demonstrations. FUN!
    And the detailed examples that Prof. Freericks worked out are particularly helpful.
    The videos are well-prepared and carefully done.
    Congratulations to all involved.
  • I finished the university studies(statistics & operational research) 42 years ago. My interest was how mathematics is explained on internet. The course was excelent and my recomendation is that if you love Maths, this is your course. Enjoy

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