In pursuit of genius...


by mathgenius
Tags: genius, pursuit
Arsenic&Lace
Arsenic&Lace is offline
#19
Dec21-12, 12:24 PM
P: 255
From the AIP,
In spite of having graduated during a recession,
there is very little unemployment among physics
bachelors five to eight years later. Among those
who did not receive any additional degrees and are
not primarily students, 96% are currently employed.
The majority of the unemployed are not looking for
work, and most of these are stay at home mothers.
Only two physics bachelorís with no additional
degrees were unemployed and looking at the time of
the survey.
Do you dispute this? Is it misleading? So the number is a little less than 40% working in STEM fields, since there appears to be roughly 4% unemployment amongst physics bachelors.
ModusPwnd
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#20
Dec21-12, 12:33 PM
P: 849
Three groups of workforce bound physics bachelor’s degree recipients are
not included in this report: unemployed graduates (about 5% of new
bachelor’s), graduates who continue the jobs that they held while they
were in school (7% of employed bachelor’s), and graduates who are only
employed part-time (roughly one-fifth of employed bachelor’s).
5% unemployed according to this quote, better than the national average for sure. 27% of the employed are not included in the statistics for some reason. That brings it down to under 30% of recent BS in STEM, where STEM is everything ranging from 'hard core' research to 'have you tried rebooting it' IT. (Probably some of that 27% are doing IT though...)
Arsenic&Lace
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#21
Dec21-12, 12:36 PM
P: 255
How significantly worse than say, electrical engineering is this?
ModusPwnd
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#22
Dec21-12, 12:47 PM
P: 849
I dont know. My thoughts are that it is significantly worse.

When I applied to tech type jobs nearly all required or requested EE, CS or Chem. The only time physics was mentioned was with a PhD next to it and even that was rare.

Engineers have no qualms about making their programs a mix between a trade and an academic discipline so they clearly have employement advantage. But I think that is probably ok. We dont need physics to be marketable, we have engineering if you want a mix between a trade and an academic subject. If you want just the academic subject then do physics. Most dont, most want the trade skills too so most will do engineering.
Sankaku
Sankaku is offline
#23
Dec21-12, 12:59 PM
P: 714
Perhaps a discussion of science employment statistics would be better in a different thread?

Back on-topic:

Quote Quote by ModusPwnd View Post
I would advise to start taking beginning math classes and other requirements at community college... (snip)
This is good general advice.

As others have said, self studying is a good supplement, but you need to get some organized classes under your belt to know what you are getting into. A community college (or some distance courses, if you are extremely disciplined) will give you a more realistic idea of what lies ahead. Community college credit can normally be transferred if you apply later to university, and they are (usually) more accommodating of non-traditional students.

Age is no real barrier to doing well in math/science classes, but the time commitment is substantial and as someone who is not 17 any longer, you do need to think about money, family and career. Starting out part-time can allow you to get started without completely abandoning your present income.
mathgenius
mathgenius is offline
#24
Dec21-12, 05:29 PM
P: 7
Why avoid the traditional route?

I might as well tell you why. I developed a brain disease (schizophrenia) a few years ago and it has become quite difficult for me to be around people. That's why I quit construction work and now have thoughts about becoming a recluse genius.

I don't think I can be around people anymore. I tried that route and it didn't work. If you must know, it made my symptoms, like voices and visual hallucinations, worse. So, it's either studying on my own or nothing at all.

I have to make this work somehow. Video lectures? Good books that explain things well? Emailing a professor? What else?
HeLiXe
HeLiXe is offline
#25
Dec22-12, 05:29 PM
P: 404
Quote Quote by mathgenius View Post
Why avoid the traditional route?

I might as well tell you why. I developed a brain disease (schizophrenia) a few years ago and it has become quite difficult for me to be around people. That's why I quit construction work and now have thoughts about becoming a recluse genius.

I don't think I can be around people anymore. I tried that route and it didn't work. If you must know, it made my symptoms, like voices and visual hallucinations, worse. So, it's either studying on my own or nothing at all.

I have to make this work somehow. Video lectures? Good books that explain things well? Emailing a professor? What else?
I'm only a junior in college, but I have found the the application aspect of physics, i.e. the labs, are a very important learning point. I have heard of some colleges that offer physics degrees online...I'm not sure if they have virtual labs or something, but I think missing out on labs would be a major loss for your inner genius. I think it's also difficult to become a recluse genius without some form of formal training/education. Is there anything that can help your condition, like therapy or meditation? Maybe you and your doctor should try to find something that will help you to tolerate being around people... something that you agree with.

In any event you can still learn a lot from self study, but you have a lot to study, and I also agree with micromass that sometimes you can think you understand something but are misleaded. It is good to have guidance and a knowledgeable person/people to check with.
Lavabug
Lavabug is offline
#26
Dec22-12, 06:08 PM
P: 849
Well I don't know anything about your condition, but maybe doing something to help that would be a good idea, before doing anything like what you're planning.

Regardless of your health, your plan IMO sounds overly ambitious and I think you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Take smaller bites and make sure you can chew them before trying to swallow the whole steak (or salad, if you're vegetarian).

Don't get me wrong, you can reach BSc level physics knowledge and beyond that via self-study, I've seen it done by people who attended distance universities (which I formerly attended), but it's a far longer and highly inefficient path (think of taking at least 8 years to complete just the BSc if you're holding a job), not to mention that it can really potentially put you off of studying altogether if you try to take on too much at once.

At your stage, as a first step I'd do whatever was necessary to make sure you finish your HS education and get your high school level math up to a respectable level. That means your trig/geometry, calculus, and basics of matrices need to be rock solid
hddd123456789
hddd123456789 is offline
#27
Dec22-12, 10:31 PM
P: 76
Quote Quote by mathgenius View Post
Why avoid the traditional route?

I might as well tell you why. I developed a brain disease (schizophrenia) a few years ago and it has become quite difficult for me to be around people. That's why I quit construction work and now have thoughts about becoming a recluse genius....
Though I've never been diagnosed professionally, I was a psych major in college (go figure ) and if that stands for anything, I had pretty much all the symptoms of negative schizophrenia which developed during my college years. Like you, I had great difficulty with social skills to say the least, and while I had several friends in high school, I went through four+ years of university with literally not knowing the name of one student or professor there, never mind making new friends. I had wild and grandiose fantasies then, and while I don't mean mean to equate your situation with mine those years back, I do at least mean to be helpful in asking you to hear me out.

Until you focus on beating this beast that is schizophrenia, then you should know as well as I do, that committing one's self to any long-term plans while battling with this condition is basically not possible. I'd long lost count of how many times I tried and failed to commit myself to anything at all while I was dealing with it. So IMHO, you should seriously consider first dealing with schizophrenia, and become accustomed to being around people to some reasonable extent before pursuing a life changing goal such as this.

If it helps, I haven't given up on my goals, but with my schizophrenic tendencies largely side-lined, I can meet my goals in terms of years of consistent effort, rather than days or weeks of sporadic/manic effort like I used to before.
rhythm42
rhythm42 is offline
#28
Dec22-12, 10:39 PM
P: 5
Gattaca.

Great movie from 1997, but it expresses your situation perfectly if it really is your dream.
mathgenius
mathgenius is offline
#29
Jan1-13, 11:52 PM
P: 7
Once again, thank you for the replies. You make me want to take a course or two at a college near me, but I'm not ready for that just yet. Maybe in the summer. Anyway, since we're on this topic, I have a few things on my mind.

Back when I was in school, I had eight courses to take per year (no semesters) and I remember how easy it was. I imagine higher education to be the same. You don't really need all that repetition and to spend countless hours in a classroom listening to someone talk about things you already understand. You can learn it on your own quicker than that, it seems, and save yourself a lot of time for studying things which aren't understood by anyone.

For instance, high school takes four years, but a GED is only a test. Do I really need to study for 4 years to be capable of getting a GED? I doubt it.

I'd like to discover new knowledge and revolutionalize a field of study. That would be my ultimate dream. And it makes me wonder if I really need to start at the bottom and to learn everything that's already been discovered, first. Maybe it takes some ignorance to make new discoveries? Hmmm.

Gattaca is a great movie. I also liked Good Will Hunting.
Arsenic&Lace
Arsenic&Lace is offline
#30
Jan1-13, 11:57 PM
P: 255
That's the wrong attitude; revolutionary discoveries are accidents of one kind or another. It's an ego dream.

I just don't think it's wise for somebody to be motivated by the desire to win prizes and be thought of as a genius. It's superficial stuff.
0xDEADBEEF
0xDEADBEEF is offline
#31
Jan2-13, 07:48 PM
P: 824
Maybe I am completely off track here, but if I remember correctly schizophrenia is characterized by a different perception of the world from what is actually real, i.e. delusions. I have met people who were on the edge of paranoia in physics research, and they still did ok, but I imagine that this is also how crackpots are born. Of these there are regular visitors to our institute and only in their head it all makes sense what they are saying... Maybe it would be better to go into mathematics, where it might be more easy to prevent fooling oneself by making the proofs rigorous. I just have a weird feeling encouraging a schizophrenic to do theoretical science research as a recluse.
hddd123456789
hddd123456789 is offline
#32
Jan2-13, 08:05 PM
P: 76
Quote Quote by 0xDEADBEEF View Post
Maybe I am completely off track here, but if I remember correctly schizophrenia is characterized by a different perception of the world from what is actually real, i.e. delusions. I have met people who were on the edge of paranoia in physics research, and they still did ok, but I imagine that this is also how crackpots are born. Of these there are regular visitors to our institute and only in their head it all makes sense what they are saying... Maybe it would be better to go into mathematics, where it might be more easy to prevent fooling oneself by making the proofs rigorous. I just have a weird feeling encouraging a schizophrenic to do theoretical science research as a recluse.
The general advice is to not glamorize schizophrenia like they do in the movies. Anyway, delusions are part of the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, and social difficulties (to say the least) are part of the negative symptoms.
billblack
billblack is offline
#33
Jan3-13, 02:03 PM
P: 35
I completed 2 BS degrees with all of my upper-level classes online. It is much more difficult than taking the same class in a face-2-face setting, but it can be done.
I would suggest that you try to deal with your mental health issues rather than merely retreating into yourself. If your goal is to further your field of study, you will still have to communicate your findings to someone as well as submitting your work for some kind of peer review. You can make your mental health a long term project for research and experimentation, but merely deciding that you are schizophrenic is not a diagnosis, it's a guess. Get a diagnosis by a professional and then determine your strategy.
Advice ends-
Self-education and other resources:
http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses
http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm
http://www.udacity.com/
https://www.coursera.org/
mathgenius
mathgenius is offline
#34
Jan4-13, 04:24 AM
P: 7
This isn't about my schizophrenia. I just gave a reason as to why I can't be around people, so please don't use it against me. I've suffered with this illness for 6 years, 4 of which have been medicated. I'm now 26, not on medication and re-evaluating my life. It's really sad, because just a few years ago I was normal and life was great. From what I understand I'll probably have schizophrenia for the rest of my life, but at least if I become a genius and make some breakthroughs, people will respect me for that. Stephen Hawking comes to mind, for example, so things like this are possible, even though they may not seem very likely at first. Just give me the bennefit of the doubt, please.

I want to dedicate my life to science and math. I mean, I won't jusy be your typical student who goes to school for a couple of hours to listen to the teacher, then come home and do homework for an hour or two, and then spend the rest of the day having a life and going out with friends. My life as I knew it is over. I will sleep for 8 hours a night, leaving 14 hours to devote toward science and math. Some amazing things are bound to happen with so much effort being invested into such a pursuit.
mathgenius
mathgenius is offline
#35
Jan4-13, 04:33 AM
P: 7
Thank you for the links, Bill. Will definitely take a look at those.
Vanadium 50
Vanadium 50 is offline
#36
Jan4-13, 10:05 AM
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Quote Quote by mathgenius View Post
but at least if I become a genius and make some breakthroughs, people will respect me for that.
I don't think this is a very good plan. Most researchers do not make "breakthroughs". They make incremental progress.

Also, I think you overestimate public acclaim. Can you name ten living famous mathematicians? Five? Three?

If this is what is drawing you to a career in research, you might well end up very disappointed.


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