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  1. Z

    Programs Every website that a Physics Major should check?

    I second physicsworld. Physics Today, published by APS, is also a good source, if a bit "fluffy."
  2. Z

    A "what should I self study this summer?" thread

    Don't discount the value of review. I suggest spending some time doing new problems from old material. Keep those skills sharp.
  3. Z

    Schools About a university

    I agree that it was discouraging. But if you are planning on going to graduate school and can't answer the question asked in the OP yourself, I'm not sure you should be encouraged... I disagree that it was rude. I think it was quite honest.
  4. Z

    Goodbye Physicsforums

    Goodbye micro. It's very strange to me as well, but he says he'll be in touch with those who request his email address.
  5. Z

    Programs I just started undergrad as a Physics Major, and have lost confidence

    Very often when a student stops worrying about getting perfect scores or perfect A's, they can actually start learning a lot of physics!
  6. Z

    Why the gulf between lay people and physicists?

    I can't tell you how many students I've had in classes I've taught and how many students I knew in my own classes when I was younger who professed a love of science and general interest in physics. They really wanted to know the big pictures of the universe. They were truly interested in how...
  7. Z

    Why the gulf between lay people and physicists?

    Typical citizens could learn much more music than they do without being virtuosos, but they don't. Why is that? Typical citizens could learn much more baseball than they do without being MLB players, but they don't. Why is that? Typical citizens could learn much more about art without being...
  8. Z

    Modern Einstein has an idea but needs your help

    A YEAR of physics? C'mon. At least make AlternateHistoryEinstein realistic with a graduate degree in physics and a fairly precocious talent for the natural sciences.
  9. Z

    Undergraduate or Graduate Quantum Mechanics?

    When I took QM at the undergrad level (Griffiths) I found it too easy. And I think that I learned more than if I found it hard. Because the content required for the class was easily done, I was able to do all of the problems in Griffiths and really sit and play with the material. I may have...
  10. Z

    Faculty Positions

    What's the alternative? Bury my head in the sand? Observing where students from my school went with their credentials being known variables seems like a good way of assessing how well prepared I am to go into industry should I need to. I don't understand your points at all and I think you have...
  11. Z

    Faculty Positions

    Again, I only speak from anecdotes, not statistics. But... I never said that it was easy or that they used their skills from their PhD. I also never said anything about going into engineering. But, I don't think I've seen anyone go from their PhD at my school to somewhere making less than 80k...
  12. Z

    Faculty Positions

    A Fermi problem is a problem done using only order of magnitude estimates (and, more strictly, only mental calculations and without looking anything up!). A canonical example would be to estimate the number of piano tuners in Chicago or leaves on trees on trees in a park.
  13. Z

    Aspiring to Theoretical Physics as an Undergraduate

    I'm a grad student in condensed matter theory and I double majored in math and physics as an undergrad. I dont regret taking any math class and I often wish I knew more math. However, I'd advise being extremely careful sacrificing physics courses to take more math. Take physics courses with...
  14. Z

    Faculty Positions

    Although folks here have quoted some numbers, I'd like to point out two pieces of completely anecdotal observations on my part. 1. During faculty searches at the school where I am getting my PhD (a large school in the top tier of many areas of physics research, say in the top ~10-20 overall...
  15. Z

    My professor takes manual attendance for 150+ students

    Sure, and I think the students have largely no option. That's the beauty of being the professor, you get to implement whatever inefficient, asinine policies you want. It doesn't mean it's the most educational modus operandi.
  16. Z

    My professor takes manual attendance for 150+ students

    And if the class lasts an hour they are wasting 13% of the class on calling roll. Instead, if they used that time to lecture, the students would receive (conservatively) at least 10% more lecture from the professor. Presumably the students are paying for lecture time from the professor and so...
  17. Z

    My professor takes manual attendance for 150+ students

    Because at least a ten minute quiz at the end seems like it motivates the students to study or pay attention. This is ten minutes of sitting listening to names being called. I think this is almost objectively a waste of everyone's time.
  18. Z

    My professor takes manual attendance for 150+ students

    Another option that he has is to ask clicker questions in class.
  19. Z

    Does Anyone Else Learn Better On Own and Hate Class?

    I agree. This is a skill that I did not acquire until grad school and it is one that I still am working on. Great points!
  20. Z

    My professor takes manual attendance for 150+ students

    Seems like a waste of time. Out of curiosity, how old is your professor?
  21. Z

    What type of notebooks do you use to take notes?

    I use large moleskine notebooks with plain pages. I go through 6-7 of them a year. I've started texxing them up, but I must take my notes in a bound book, I can't stand to type in class and I will inevitably lose loose papers I take notes on.
  22. Z

    Are possibilities endless?

    And just how would you make such a sculpture out of neutrons? I don't understand what you're talking about in the rest of your post...
  23. Z

    Are possibilities endless?

    Except for me it's not an interesting distinction and I think people on this forum spend entirely too much time muddling around with these things. So much time is spent talking about the twin paradox, quantum zeno paradox, Bell's theorem and other things that make it into the Pop Sci books but...
  24. Z

    Are possibilities endless?

    I agree that you're pretty much talking nonsense. Any time we look at something, we use some kind of wave (light, neutrons, electrons, etc). Eventually we will reach the resolution limitations of that wave and not be able to make out anything beyond a certain small scale.
  25. Z

    Are possibilities endless?

    I suppose that I am trying to hammer home (perhaps more to the OP than to you) that for a physicist the distinction is arbitrary. EDIT: I should add that I am a humble squalid state physicist and so my viewpoint here may be biased,
  26. Z

    Are possibilities endless?

    I don't agree with you at all. The difference between a Very Large Number like 10^10^23 and infinity is for the purposes of a physicist negligble. This is precisely the reason why if we have a chunk of copper, we can treat its energy spectrum as a continuum, even though in principle there are...
  27. Z

    Combining two passions into a career

    Why do you think that a degree in physics gives you better preparation for a graduate degree in computer engineering. I think that certainly a degree in physics prepares one well for a graduate degree in physics, but why do you think it would give you better preparation for a graduate degree in...
  28. Z

    Combining two passions into a career

    I don't think this is in regard to what you're asking, but why are you majoring in physics (and mathematics) if you want to go to graduate school for computer engineering. Would it not be more straightforward to simply get a degree in computer engineering in preparation for graduate school in...
  29. Z

    Schools College/Career Quandary

    I am confused by this statement
  30. Z

    Awesome textbooks

    Wen's book is a truly fantastic book, but I don't think it can be considered a "Solid State" text. It is a many-body book in the spirit of Altland and Simon, AGD or Fetter and Walecka. It is emphatically NOT in the spirit of Kittel or A&M. That's a good thing! But I think to really get much...
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