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    UG research Advisor wants me to come up with my own topic

    Its a little presumptuous to think that an undergrad just starting on an REU program can figure out their own area of research. First of all it's pretty unlikely that you would even be able to work on any project of your choice as your adviser's expertise and resources are going to determine...
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    Ratemyprofessors website?

    matt (and others) - you may be interested in rateyourstudents.blogspot.com. It's really entertaining.
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    Bachelor of Arts

    Look at what they say about their undergraduate program: http://buphy.bu.edu/undergrad It's obviously a serious program. If you take the appropriate courses obtaining a BA should be no obstacle to further study in physics. There are many serious physics programs that only offer a BA.
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    Shouldn't the electromagnetic fields in waves be 90 degrees out of phase?

    I did indeed learn this sort of stuff in my courses on Electricity and Magnetism, but both courses I've taken (intro and advanced undergraduate) presumed a knowledge of vector calculus. You're probably studying a text without the same mathematical prerequisites (I used Purcell and then...
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    Shouldn't the electromagnetic fields in waves be 90 degrees out of phase?

    pizzadude - Take another look at Maxwell's Equations in free space. The relationships between the electric and magnetic fields involves the time derivative of one and the curl (a some of spatial derivative) of the others. The change in space of a sin function is cos, but so is the change in...
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    Why?Probably the most popular question in physics.

    Exactly. For me it's not even so much that I find solving problems more fun than writing papers, but I find it easier, too. It's ridiculous to assume that physics is inherently some sort of pinnacle in the hierarchy of disciplines. You can make any subject as difficult as any other, and for...
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    Adjoint operators

    ultimateguy: In the form of abstract operators, the definition of a Hermitian operator A is A = A^\dagger. You can just use matrix algebra to get your answer. Your second equation in the list that you consider the definition of a Hermitian operator is the follows from the what a Hermitian...
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    Courses How rigorous do these courses look?

    complexPHILOSOPHY - Your Math 252 course looks very similar to Vector Calculus so you may actually be okay on that requirement.
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    Testing A few practice SAT essays

    Werg22: I didn't write an essay for the SAT, but I wrote an essay for the SAT II writing section which I understand to be essentially the same thing (I did well). One thing that you may what to consider is that from what I recall they prefer you to use multiple examples or sources of evidence to...
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    Best Electromagnetics book?

    Griffiths is superb. The later chapters, even though the math gets harder, are still well written. I haven't used Jackson or Schwartz, but I would use Griffiths while you can, if it covers the material you're studying. Of course, my experience is merely a course like yours that managed to get...
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    Cheat sheet policy at your school?

    Maybe you don't have simple derivations, but to take upper level electrodynamics and mechanics courses, for example (what I'm doing this semester), it's not hard to recall Maxwell's Equations or the Euler-Lagrange Equation if you've worked at least a minimum of problems. Take a look at the back...
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    Mathematica Mathematica Help

    You need to put a space between your n and x. Mathematica is treating nx as a single variable, which explains the funky result.
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    Electric Potential

    Your integration limits for \phi and \theta should be switched.
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    A project

    Take a lot at information on Expanding Your Horizons conferences: http://www.expandingyourhorizons.org/ They do essentially what you're talking about.
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    Problem about Lagrange's equation

    Your kinetic energy is also missing a term.
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    I feel like I waste too much time on the wrong parts of lab reports

    Perhaps you could post one of your reports here and we could give you direct feedback on it?
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    Which school is better for theoretical physics - Princeton or MIT

    The difference in the quality of the undergraduate physics education at MIT and Princeton is essentially negligible. The same can probably be said about any number of other schools. I think you will need to use other criteria to make your choice -- for starters, you need to get in first!
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    MATLAB Just bought MATLAB

    I would hesitate to buy any software before you enroll, as software such as Mathematica and Matlab is expensive and you may be able to get them through your school for free. The copies at my school only work when you are on the campus network, but it is better than paying for it. You can also...
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    Directions for failed physicist

    Depending on your location and your school, it is conceivable that you might be able to take courses for credit at another nearby university. I would talk to your professors at your school and see if you can find some research opportunities. At the very least, you should ask for their advice.
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    In class final for a graduate EM class?

    And to think they could get away with it, in a class of seven people? If any two people in a class that small do a hard problem with exactly the same work and with the same writing, it should be pretty obvious that the professor is going to catch it.
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    Trying to narrow down career options.

    It's not that they are so different that comparison is meaningless, but it depends entirely on what you want to do. Depending upon your abilities and interests each of these three programs could be valuable.
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    Which is more respectable?

    That's a stupid question. There is no singular career associated with each particular degree and the degrees themselves can be as hard as you make them. There are no absolutes when judging entire fields.
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    Testing Math + Me + SATs = Help

    Take a few practice tests, and look in the book you bought. It should all be laid out for you and become pretty clear once you've put in the time to practice.
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    Problem Solving question with circles

    I think graphing it would give you the clearest and most obvious answer, although you could also solve it algebraically. Since these are equations of circles, graphing them should be very straightforward. I'm sure instructions on how to do this are in your text.
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    Programs What options to choose for my physics degree

    From that website, it seems that the normal duration for a degree is 4 years. It seems that you want to cut off one of the last years -- are you sure that is possible or advisible? I would wait until you are enrolled in the program and can get advice from the faculty before deciding this one way...
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    Conservative field

    To test if a field is conservative, you can take the curl...
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    Distance between planes in crystals

    Thanks for you help. It looks like the general proof isn't actually so tedius after all, so I guess I'll include that instead.
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    Distance between planes in crystals

    I'm working on a lab report on powder X-ray diffraction off of some relatively straight-forward crystals (Si, NaCl, CsCl) for an introductary course on modern physics. I thought it would be useful to include a partial derivation of the formula relating the distance between parallel planes, d...
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    Courses Course Advice Needed

    Even the most "pure" math is rarely without any practical applications at all, so even if you major in "pure math" you'll still learn lots of practical math. Linear algebra, vector calculus and differential equations are perhaps the most essential applied math, useful for just about all...
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    More math or more physics?

    Do you really need to choose one entire course set or the other? I think Mathematical Methods would probably be worth it for physics whether you do theory or experiment. My Mathematical Methods class is covering differential equations, PDEs, Fourier Series, Fourier and Laplace Transforms...
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