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So You Want To Be A Physicist Discussion

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stSagan
#163
Oct24-12, 11:46 AM
P: 2
Quote Quote by ZapperZ View Post
Another periodic reminder that the full So You Want To Be A Physicist essay can be found at the link.

Zz.
mr Kaku had a go at is as well, but this is so much more insightfull !. It's a pain though to keep having to convert back to the european (mainland) system. So lets see, I've completed 'A-levels' again in order to enroll in 'undergraduate' physics, at 35. Hell yeah I want to become a physicist!
OMGCarlos
#164
Nov11-12, 11:55 PM
P: 28
Whoa, this was a really awesome read! I read this over the span of 3 days and I have to say, I'm pretty inspired! Your emphasis on making connections with faculty/students was probably the best takeaway I got from this and is something I'll try and apply when I start next Spring.
ZapperZ
#165
Nov15-12, 07:00 AM
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Quote Quote by OMGCarlos View Post
Whoa, this was a really awesome read! I read this over the span of 3 days and I have to say, I'm pretty inspired! Your emphasis on making connections with faculty/students was probably the best takeaway I got from this and is something I'll try and apply when I start next Spring.
Thank you.

3 days, eh? Didn't realize it requires that long of a read to have it all sink it.

I'm hoping to add a couple more items to it, and then go back and revamp some of the old ones. There are new stuff to add.

Zz.
pcm
#166
Nov15-12, 07:46 AM
P: 72
Nice essay.Really an eyeopener.
Thanks ZapperZ.
montadhar
#167
Nov15-12, 03:10 PM
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Quote Quote by ZapperZ View Post
Thank you.

3 days, eh? Didn't realize it requires that long of a read to have it all sink it.

I'm hoping to add a couple more items to it, and then go back and revamp some of the old ones. There are new stuff to add.

Zz.
great to hear, looking forward to the new content
yes, it is pretty long, much effort that you are thanked for
zacky_D
#168
Dec24-12, 07:57 AM
P: 7
Guys,
Physics totally fascinates me!
Sorry abt the long post,but i really need aome advice...
I really love thinking about Natural Phenomenon,building models and stuff ..!
But i really think i lack at math..i mean,most of the bio of great physicist mention ability to freely use mathematical functions and numbers,calculus algebra etc were like second language to them and stuff..and they all mention math as 'The language of science' and stuff....
I really want to know,Is it really possible to see the 'mathematical beauty' when we first study the subject??I mean like maht when i can think of it in terms of pictures,or some practical analogy i make up...i mean,i understand drevative mean slope,tracing out basic graphs,and usually do calculus from graphs as far as possible,unless it becomes tooooo complicated..
But is it possible to actually visualise or understand even the most complicated functions etc??Or is math just memorising and applying(in that case,i just wont get it :(..) i really want to understand math to and advanced level,if its gonna help me go deeper into physics,and understanding...i like math for its sake itself..and wanna know how to become Extremely comfortable with math! :(
Regel
#169
Dec29-12, 07:51 AM
P: 9
Quote Quote by zacky_D View Post
Is it really possible to see the 'mathematical beauty' when we first study the subject??
...
i like math for its sake itself..and wanna know how to become Extremely comfortable with math! :(
I'd say that study hard (under pedagogically excellent professors of theoretial physics) and you probably will some day begin to see the mathematical beauty of physical theories.

How to become extremely comfortable with math: learn it, use it. Some basic mathematics can often be visualized with few dimensional figures.

But as you continue to study mathematics (notice: mathematics not mathematical methods) the stuff becomes more abstract and it will not be possible to visualize it (at least in same sence than basic calculus for example). However, you will learn new ways to comprehend mathematical structures.
Snow-Leopard
#170
Jan30-13, 02:18 PM
P: 53
Quote Quote by ZapperZ
It has often been said that a physics major sometime needs more mathematics than even a mathematics major. Mathematics is viewed as a ”tool” that physicists use in describing and analyzing physical phenomena. So one just never know what tools are needed for which job. This means that a physics major must have a wide ranging knowledge of different areas of mathematics, from differential equations, linear algebra, integral transforms, vector calculus, special functions, etc. These are the mathematics a physics major will encounter in courses in classical mechanics, electromagnetic fields, and quantum mechanics
Zz can you recommend some others books for Mathematics, I already done Mathematical Methods by Mary Boas.
ZapperZ
#171
Jan30-13, 05:30 PM
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We are approaching 4 million posts on PF. So this is my contribution to that effort.

As a periodic reminder, the So You Want to Be A Physicist essay can be found at the link.

New chapter coming soon, hopefully.

Zz.
Grosvenor2
#172
Feb10-13, 07:56 AM
P: 9
Thank you very much, I greatly appreciate your effort to write this essay!
I live in Italy and I'd like to study physics at university. Now I'm attending my 4th year (out of 5) at high school and I'm on my way to gather information about the subject. I could report you differences and analogies that I may find out between US and Italian system, if you think this would be useful!
Paolo
ZapperZ
#173
Mar17-13, 06:52 AM
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Another update. I was informed that the link I gave in the last few posts might not work and required that you ask to SHARE the document before you can view it.

This link should work without that requirement:

https://docs.google.com/document/pub...3R7_OEHM&pli=1

Please let me know if there's any more problems in reading the essay.

Zz.
ZapperZ
#174
Mar25-13, 07:05 AM
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Hum... I just realized that this thread has had a "name change" to match the "becoming an engineer" thread. Not sure if I like it.

Zz.
ZapperZ
#175
Apr10-13, 01:54 PM
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If you haven't seen it yet, the AIP has released its latest statistics on recent physics PhD's (2009 and 2010) "Skills Used & Satisfaction with Employment".

Considering that these graduating classes entered the job market at the height of the economic disaster, the satisfaction level of those who participated in the survey was optimistically high.

Zz.
gigermaster
#176
Apr24-13, 07:18 PM
P: 1
Do you think it would be wise to go for a PhD directly after acquiring one's bachelors degree?
ZapperZ
#177
Apr25-13, 06:54 AM
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Quote Quote by gigermaster View Post
Do you think it would be wise to go for a PhD directly after acquiring one's bachelors degree?
Most students who entered graduate school for PhD in the US are doing just that. Whether it is "wise" or not depends on the individual situation.

Zz.
bigerst
#178
Apr30-13, 03:36 PM
P: 57
Thanks for the article, it is brilliant.
However a troubling thought that sometimes bothers me is that at which point do you feel like you're a true physicist who can do some stuff? right now I'm learning undergrad physics full speed ahead (classical, EM, QM), but the majority of my time is understanding the underlying principles, knowing when to apply them and knowing how to solve textbook style problems (though this is indeed fun). I don't see the connection between these principles (significance of space time symmetries, significance of lorentz transformation, or even the significance of newton's laws being second order) nor am i able to come up with something sophisticated or deep and fundamental. Everything feels disjoint. At which point in the quest does one finally feel like "this is it, i am finally on a journey to uncover the truth"

i'm also in high school, is this too early to worry?
thanks

Bigerst
JayJohn85
#179
May10-13, 08:31 PM
P: 44
I am 28. I did OK in school as in scraped through and that was only because I did no work. Quite literally never studied so everything was average I did well in English however. I ignored maths because when I was younger I was diagnosed with dyslexia, I am unaware of my IQ I think it was good at some parts of the exam but on others not so good. Ironically I did well in chemistry and physics the only reason I probably passed my double award science though if I am honest my mother is a science teacher who aided me greatly in this endeavour.

However I sat a exam before entering my school and was put into the second highest maths class but due to my laziness and hatred I must confess of the subject at the time. I eventually made my way down to the lowest class. As a consequence of my laziness and putting absolutely no effort into the subject I failed. I went on to repeat it during my A-levels and did the same thing again. The A-levels I did was ICT and History I did ok in them too but didn't score the highest marks.

I entered the world of work mainly manual work on construction sites. Now strangely enough at this age I have become obsessed with the topics of physics and currently nurturing a healthy interest in mathematics. It is a subject I do have difficulty with but that seems to entice me further.

I am aware my interests in physics has been sparked due to problems I envision and goals I have that may be impossible or highly infeasible. Even dare I say controversial and unpopular within mainstream physics, however having said that I am aware of the cardinal immutable rules hence I ain't in cloud cuckoo land lol.

I've been reading up on everything I can get my hands on and been reading up on the greats both mathematicians and physicists. It was my research that brought me here. Currently I plan to do my maths again I am in for higher tier on November then I intend to do my A-levels maths then finally my A-level physics(what I really want to do). Books I intend to get my hands on shortly are Euclid's elements, critique of reason(I know this philosophy) and other texts I have seen posted in these forums.

I believe that effort and work can ofset natural ability. Knowledge can ofset IQ etc. I'd like to go against the grain and pursue this dream. My question to you is should I pack this in before I even start? Though to be honest I probably won't listen anyway I am quite stubborn. If I found it easy I would not want to do it.

JJ McKenna
ZapperZ
#180
May13-13, 07:21 AM
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Quote Quote by JayJohn85 View Post
I believe that effort and work can ofset natural ability. Knowledge can ofset IQ etc. I'd like to go against the grain and pursue this dream. My question to you is should I pack this in before I even start? Though to be honest I probably won't listen anyway I am quite stubborn. If I found it easy I would not want to do it.

JJ McKenna
That really isn't the purpose of this thread. There are other threads already dealing with this issue, or start your own.

This thread details all the unwritten experiences one needs to know in the academic pursuit of becoming a physicist, mainly for someone in a US institution. You may use that to do your own self-evaluation if this is something you want to put yourself through.

Zz.


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