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physics vs statistics

In this post will discover the difference between physics and statistics, and the difficulties of each one.

which is harder: statistics or physics

Physics is harder than statistics because physics involves statistics and many other math topics like calculus, algebra, and multivariable functions. Statistics is not condensed and difficult like physics, it can be messy with many numbers but doable and doesn’t require special critical thinking like physics. 

In physics you are required to understand math first before doing physics, you have to be good at algebra and calculus to study subjects like kinematics, and motions, in addition to having a good background in multivariable calculus, considered the hardest math in college.

Also, students should study thermodynamics and quantum mechanics, which are the toughest subjects in physics. They involve a lot of math and critical thinking.

Statistics sometimes can become messy and require analyzing a lot of tables and graphs, which might not be easier for anyone. But in physics, you will need to understand statistics and other difficult subjects.

If you are interested in majoring in business, psychology, or economics it is good to focus on statistics, but for people who are interested to become physicists or engineers, they have to study all math topics including statistics and probability, calculus, and algebra. So they can study physics or engineering topics later.

Is statistics used in physics? 

Statistics is used in many physics topics including thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, and other related topics. Physics uses statistics to have a big broader vision of systems.

To clarify, physicists study phenomena and make tests in small spaces or volumes, if they want to have a big picture like how much power or energy a rocket engine will release. In this case, they have to make small tests in laboratories and then use statistics to give approximate values to their experiments.

Because sometimes it is impossible or very costly to make some physics experiences, physicists use math like statistics to help them predict the outcome of the experience.

On the other hand, statistics are very useful to make some physics tests that require a lot of repetition and counting results. 

Some physics tests require a lot of repetitions and doing case studies, so they get a lot of data from these repetitive tests helping them to create a clear picture and understand a problem.

For instance, in softwares that physicists use to make tests. Most of them give graphs or charts as test results, which physicists should be good at analyzing. All these skills are acquired in statistics classes.

how statistics is used in physics

Statistics is used in many physics topics, especially thermodynamics and quantum mechanics. We’ll be giving 3  main examples of how statistics are used in physics:

1 – Thermodynamics

The famous application of statistics is used in thermodynamics topics called entropy, which is the energy of chaos. Physicists use statistics in entropy. When it becomes very difficult or impossible to explain physics phenomena using calculus or differential equations.

For instance, the distribution of atoms is represented statistically, you find some atoms have a different level of energy compared to others. They don’t have any linear or relational functions that study this change.

2 – Maxwell Boltzmann

There is a physics law invented by Maxwell Boltzman that uses statistics to describe the distribution of particles at different energy levels. For instance, if you warm particles at 20 degrees you will have a different energy distribution compared to warming them at a higher or lower degree.

The result of the distribution of these particles is represented statistically, if you dig deeper you will find Maxwell Boltzmann’s statistics that describe in detail in this article.

3 – quantum physics

In quantum physics, you will be using statistics like in bosons analysis, which is a domain that studies the subatomic aspect. It has many collaborations from creating superconductors and other applications like lasers.

Do you need statistics for physics?

Yes, you need to take statistics courses for a physics major, or to study advanced physics topics like quantum mechanics and thermodynamics, statistics is not difficult, it could be taken and absorbed in a short period of time. 

You don’t have to take advanced statistics topics, but elementary courses like knowing what means, and median, and analyzing statistical graphs or curves are way enough.

Having a background in probability and statistics is useful to take before tackling physics topics like mechanics, thermodynamics, or quantum physics. It will facilitate a lot of your job.

statistics is not also used in thermodynamics or quantum physics, it is used in all physics and other science branches. You will need statistics to analyze the physics experience when you make physics lab tests or in a lecture analyzing theories and tests, scientists have made. 

You will be required to study statistics no matter the specialty you choose. 

physics and statistics are double major

You probably won’t find a double major in physics and statistics alone, but you will be double majoring in physics and math, which is not a good option because it is too difficult and doesn’t give any significant value. It is not worth it to do it at all.

Even if physics and math are close to each other, they still have a big gap, especially talking about college-level math which is more advanced. 

In math, you will be focusing on topics like abstract algebra and complex analysis, at the same time you have to study thermodynamics and quantum mechanics.

So there are a lot of math topics you don’t use in physics, so it will be time and energy consuming unless you want to impress your, friend, with how intelligent you are.

If you think that math will be helpful in physics the answer is yes, but the wrong method is to double in physics and math at the same time. It is like taking a college course in civil engineering to learn how to build your house when someone else is ready to do that for you.