Recent content by Lavabug

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    Why is physics so hard?

    TA'ing some 3rd year physics majors and getting to know some fellow grad students from around the world, I've noticed a few things. Those do well on exams typically do not follow the syllabus to the letter and do problems beyond what is required of them through homeworks. The mathematical...
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    I'd like to know how you got your research

    Talking directly to the ones that seem approachable.
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    Does Anyone Else Learn Better On Own and Hate Class?

    One of the better prof's and researchers at my undergrad school openly admitted not having gone to lectures at all as an undergrad, he spent all his time self-studying (and honestly probably ended up learning more than his peers), telling us straight up he would not hold it against us if we...
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    Day in the life of an astrophycisist?

    I can provide some examples as a grad student that doesn't have the added responsibilities of applying for grant money., observation time, teaching and other bureaucratic worries of a practicing researcher in a university or national lab setting: Read the latest papers related to your field...
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    Awesome textbooks

    Cohen-Tannoudji's QM Landau's Mechanics Marsden/Tromba's Vector Calculus MTW? I don't have a favorite GR book, but I've always felt very attached to this one and grab it whenever I find it at a library.
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    Which religion do you affiliate with?

    The big 3 (some would say the only 3) monotheistic flavors are up there, I really don't think there's a degeneracy problem here. Atheist/agnostics are clearly the only ones that should be picking the "none" option.
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    Which religion do you affiliate with?

    I like the fact the OP used "None" as an option. It's always nice to see when someone bothers to get it right, ie: not labeling atheism as a religion.
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    Benefit of external funding for phd?

    On the topic of being able to TA part time: it will also depend on the terms for the fellowship/scholarship. I know of a fellowship at my school that explicitly prohibits taking up assisstantships for pay (fortunately it pays better than both RA's and TA's!), and discourages seeking outside...
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    'I Want To Do Theoretical Physics'

    I think I made a thread a while back asking about graduate schools with research programs that focused on this topic. It turns out the "pure" research on it is carried out by very few schools IME, but I have come across many that deal with it through the goggles of other disciplines, since it...
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    How to do problems

    I am surprised no one has brought up a third option: picking easier exercises appropriate for one's skill level. Allow me to stretch the weight lifting analogy even further: start with the empty barbell, make sure you can go through the motions properly, then progressively add weight to it... A...
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    Schools Getting into graduate school with average grades

    Where do you obtain official reports of the total number of students taking the GRE's? Is this something that's only available to academic institutions?
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    Schools Getting into graduate school with average grades

    Yes. The research, even if it's not in GR topics will help you (not just for application purposes, but for giving you a head start in the game with some hard skills), especially if you get the bulk of your rec letters from the people who supervised your research instead of just your lecturers...
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    Schools Getting into graduate school with average grades

    I will give a stern word of caution on converting foreign grading scales to US GPA, it does NOT give an accurate picture of your performance or preparation. In the UK, obtaining a first class (70%) is non-trivial and very unusual among physics majors IME. In my country (Spain), where a 1-10...
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    Schools Getting into graduate school with average grades

    A 1/20 admitees/applicants ratio is very typical and not that bad, it can be better, but for the most part at the bigger schools it tends to be even worse. I remember having made a spreadsheet with info like this that I managed to get from all the schools I was seriously interested in applying...
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    University prestige: how much of a factor?

    I disagree, but you picked a very safe example that has a reputation for having a very tough physics bachelors program. Alma mater may have also been a result of how wealthy your family is and what contacts you have, and things like grade inflation, plagiarism and cheating are still present even...