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# calculus vs physics

many students asked which is harder calculus or physics in this post you will find the response.

we explain and give some examples or details of the differences between calculus and physics.

In addition, we will respond to some famous questions asked about this topic and explain to the student the right decision should take, like whether they have to take calculus before physics or take them both at the same time.

## Is calculus or physics harder

Both are harder, calculus and physics. but what makes physics harder than calculus is in physics you will need to study Physics phenomena and memorize rules, in addition, to having solid fundamentals in calculus itself. Physics is a science that requires knowledge in all calculus courses in addtion to other related topics to science.

For this reason, we find a lot of students struggling in physics because they don’t have solid fundamentals in calculus, especially in derivatives and integrals.

“If you didn’t study hard calculus, especially derivatives and integrals, physics will be like hell. “

because in most physics applications you would be needing calculus Basics to solve equations and use different functions in multiple topics especially difficult ones like quantum mechanics and thermodynamics.

For example, there is a specific calculus physics students take called calculus-based physics. It is got Calculus 1 topics mixed with basics physics topics that talk about kinematics. which is including studying movement objects by determining their speed acceleration etc.

This is one of the difficult courses students take. but still, an elementary or easier course if we compare it to advanced physics topics that Engineers or physicists take in college like quantum mechanics and thermodynamics or multivariable calculus.

The thing that makes calculus easier than physics is you have fixed rules that you should apply without any variable circumstances for instance:

in the Calculus 1 course you will be required to apply to find a derivative of a function like this example below:

So in this case we applied a general rule of the derivative that any student will have to Calculus 1  Know about.

so let’s take an example of physics

We have a plane that has crossed a distance of 2000 km in 2 hours.” we consider that the speed has been constant” during this distance.

So What is the acceleration of a plane during this distance?

In this case, we use a simple calculus equation which is:

But the problem is, we still not be able to find this solution based only on this equation. But if we look at the statement of ” we consider that the speed has been constant” the light bulb is off.

if a speed is constant so  dv/dt=0

which means

This example gives an approximation of how physics is different and harder than calculus. because it required having previous knowledge and tricks like the following rule that solved our problem.

“If an object has a constant speed so its acceleration is equal to zero.”

## How much calculus is used in physics

Calculus is used almost in all physics applications and topics we’re going to list the 3 principal subjects where Calculus is  intensively used:

### 1 –  thermodynamics

Thermodynamics is one of the most complex topics in physics simply because it has multivariable calculus or caluclus 3 which is the most difficult calculus course if we compare it to single varible calculus such as Calculus 1 and calculus 2.

you can read this article if you need to know the difference between single varible calculus and multivariable calculus.

In thermodynamics students study subjects related to:

Physicists use these topics to study systems like how engine planes burn the file, or how to design more effective combustion systems like car engines or rockets.

these topics use a lot of calculus, especially multivariable calculus including  double or even triple derivatives and an integral function like this example below:

Thermodynamics is the secret that allows planes and Rockets to fly today. Engineers and physicists use all the calculus topics to find the best way to improve the efficiency of this system.

Thermodynamics and calculus are used in other abstract topics that you can find in this link if you are interested in learning more about thermodynamics.

Quantum mechanics and electromagnetics that we noticed are mentioned in detail in the other article where we talked in detail about how calculus is used in physics you can find this article.

## Should I take calculus and physics at the same time?

Is still possible to take calculus and physics at the same time but is it not a good idea it would be so difficult to absorb calculus and physics topics at the same time? Because calculus requires a lot of time.

While physics topics require also calculus Basics that you should already know about. So it is so difficult to make a balance between these courses together and in the same frame of time.

For this reason, we recommend taking calculus first, especially Calculus 1. it is the first course that you should be good at before thinking to take any physic course, especially College physics classes.

In Calculus 1 you will study the interesting topics that any student needs in physics which are derivatives and integrals.

These subjects are representing a singular calculus course.

but if you are thinking to major in physics you will be required to take more advanced physics courses like thermodynamics or quantum mechanics which require multivariable calculus.

As a result, you need to finish all the calculus courses meaning Calculus 1 calculus 2, and calculus 3 before thinking to take these difficult physics classes that we mentioned (thermodynamics and quantum mechanics).

But at the beginning and before taking the Calculus 1 course…

To be eligible to study Physics you have to be good at precalculus where you’ll be learning all the necessary basics like trigonometry functions and limits and continuity.

These topics are necessary important to prepare for calculus 1 and then finally be able to take physics courses.