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Biology seems like a waste of time

  1. Feb 15, 2009 #1
    I am a 16 years old chinese, and i live in Missouri, US.

    Need some advice about my career, i love Physics. However i don't like biology, but i have to take it next year, or i don't get any other kind science class...

    It is a waste of time! I wish to quit school and start on my Physics work first, because the school is useless, teaching me no skills of real Physics!

    I get C in my honor physics class(even i get almost all 100% in my tests), i get all A in other classes.(most of my classes are honors, but i take regular english because i am from china...)

    What should i do? what classes should i take next year? My enrollment sheet is due on Feb.18! help!!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 15, 2009 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    What should you do? You might want to revisit the opinion that you know better than your teachers what you should be learning.
  4. Feb 15, 2009 #3
    The point of school isn't to prepare you for one career. Stay open minded and maybe you'll end up switching your major to Biology in college.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  5. Feb 15, 2009 #4


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    Sometimes school does feel like a waste of time, but most people, when they look back on it, do not feel that way in the long run. I'd say go ahead with the biology course even if you find you're driven by physics. You might be suprised at how much the sciences intermingle.

    The other advice is to figure out why you're not getting the marks you want despite doing well on tests. Perhaps you should make an appointment with your instructor and see of he or she has any advice on how you can improve.
  6. Feb 17, 2009 #5
    I too have zero interest in biology so I know how you feel. But like you said, you MUST take it. Just tough it out and do your best, it will be over in a few months. Just get it done and over with my friend.
  7. Feb 18, 2009 #6
    In my opinion, at your age it is not so good to develop an absolute altitude adverse to some kind of knowledge. You don't have to feel nervous about what you are not interested in. Look at them easily. That is life. You always meet something you are not ready to meet.
  8. Feb 18, 2009 #7


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    Newton_V, you would learn "skills of real physics" in college - not likely in high school. In case you are learning some good skills in the subject now, you will probably be very pleased when you study the subject in college.

    As for your present requirement of taking Biology, you might only have one choice available at your high school, so you are stuck with that one and only choice. You may have available only a light, messy, shallow introductory course covering too many topics. As unsatisfying as this may be, the situation could be much better in college; there (wherever), you may need another Introductory Biology course, but after that, you would at least have further options of the more pointed courses of Intro. Zoology, Intro. Botany, and Intro. Microbiology. At least they are more specific and more systematic - less vague.
    ... so unless you have some special Biology choices now in your high school, you are stuck.
  9. Feb 18, 2009 #8
    This whole school thing is so boring, becuase i am chinese, i ain't get any real friend, nor anyone interested into physics like i do, everyone is so different.

    Also i am working on college Physics, doing AP physics questions for fun.

    The thing is i can not believe school is so hopeless, people are too dumb or too smart. (what i mean is, all people are bored)

    I can not believe world changed so MUCH, i thought teachers are more hopeful!!!(in the past ages they are, maybe human race is getting dumber)

    It is not that they don't help you, it is they can not answer my questions. (and in a long term, i ignore all teachers and anyone at school)

    However i do have some friends, they are smart, but not serious enough into LIFE!!! (or they are just too smart to show it...)

    I wonder if LIFE ever can make a difference.
  10. Feb 18, 2009 #9
    My question to you all:

    Can anyone tell me how to become one with a LIFE of physics. (too bad, Physics is cheap now...)
  11. Feb 18, 2009 #10


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    I took the liberty of looking through some of the threads you have started to get a sense of your level of knowledge with respect to physics and mathematics.

    First, you seem to lack general foundations upon which to build your knowledge, and without such a foundation I would not claim that school can teach you nothing. Surely, it will not if you do not let it. Secondly, your questions are posed in a very non-scientific way, which leads to a broader point: you are unfamiliar with the language and nature of scientific formalism. This kind of formalism is required for any study in physics. You cannot merely wave your hands and claim nobody understands what you're trying to say; if they cannot, then your results are meaningless. Even Einstein, when he developed his theory of Relativity, received many letters claiming they did not understand his mathematics. He, however, was able to explain to them how it is that he derived his results. This common language of science (physics, in particular), mathematics, is how we convey ideas so that they can be understood. Not regular words in English, or Chinese, or whatever your favorite is. Simply put, these might be good enough descriptions for a lay-person but for a physicist it is not enough to merely state that the earth travels around the sun in an "oval". It is necessary to know the properties of an ellipse and how to show that as a result of Newton's laws, the only possible stable orbits are ellipses.

    I don't mean to sound terribly harsh, but you are criticizing the entire educational system. While it is by no means perfect, even you can benefit from it.
  12. Feb 20, 2009 #11
    When I was in highschool I hated English so much that almost everywhere I would fail the course just because I wouldn't show up to class and when I did, I wouldn't do any work. I ended up taking English 8 times from grade 9 to grade 12 just to graduate. Now, what's more silly, me going to school just to fail my English classes over and over again, or me toughing out just one semester of it so I could move along? Could you see where I'm going with this? Basically you're going to have to just suck it up and do the work.
  13. Feb 20, 2009 #12

    i have a life, and i am not someone who spend all my time on this forum, btw oval=ellipse in chinese, which makes no difference. i don't care about the language i am using, i only need to make other people understand, and therefore no need of better language. (ONLY FOOLS FLY IN ALL DIRCATION!!!)
    By all meanings, do you understand that Physics is dying in some way? first, people discovered everything they needed. Second noone care about it anymore, it is about life and death, not about money and language!!!
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2009
  14. Feb 21, 2009 #13


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    Wow... So full of sound and fury...

    You're a junior in high school. Having once been your age, I'd recommend losing the attitude and angst. But as for Physics (and science) dying, well, the reports of its demise have come often, and have always been premature.

    I suppose I come across as paternalistic sometimes, but oh well.

    (In before the lock!)
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2009
  15. Feb 21, 2009 #14


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    If you ignore your teachers, how can you expect them to answer your questions?

    I'm not sure I understand what you're asking here. Do you mean a career as a professional physicist? The most common route is to study physics in university - first as an undergraduate and then as a graduate student until you earn a Ph.D. Then you work as a post-doctoral fellow and eventually earn a postition with a university.

    Why close the door? Improving language skills makes communication more efficient and prevents misunderstandings. Not to mention, great language skills can help to create a decent first impression on a cover letter.

    I don't understand. How is physics dying? Are you arguing less people are interested in fundamental research? Do you have some evidence to back this up?

    I would also argue that physics is only about life and death in an applied sense (eg. consequences of not wearing a seatbelt in a car crash).
  16. Feb 21, 2009 #15
    First, oval and ellipse are very different things.

    You have to be open minded. If you start closing up your interests in high-school frankly that is not a good sign. You always think you will end up studying physics, and you cannot understand why everyone says you may change because you are so sure of it. But believe me, high school physics is nothing like university physics. University physics is nothing like graduate physics. And for the research level it's another story.

    I think you really have to enjoy learning some things to go far. To me, yes I do not like biology, but any accomplished scientist/mathematician would find high school biology interesting if they did not know it. Because it is very general.

    So get some real textbooks, learn. School coursework? That really is up to you.
  17. Feb 21, 2009 #16


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    Recently, the boundaries between the various "branches of science" are not as rigid as they once were. Research is becoming more interdisciplinary (or, better, multidisciplinary). Biophysics (where physics is applied to biological problems) has been a hot topic (for research, funding, jobs, etc...) and will like continue to be so. So, having a strong background in biology might help a physicist broaden his or her physics future career options.
  18. Feb 21, 2009 #17
    ahh, i do read books about physics.

    This is the one where i know physics is dying: "the trouble with physics" by Lee Smolin
    (main idea: since 1970, there is no more shocking physics discover or any kind theory.)
  19. Feb 21, 2009 #18
    First, what kind of books?

    Second, going by that logic so many branches of mathematics would be dead! However, it is true that high-schoolers all dream of putting out massive theories, and if that doesn't sound possible, the subject is dying :uhh:
  20. Feb 21, 2009 #19


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    What are you talking about? There's plenty of new shocking discoveries.
    Dark energy, superconductivity, superfluidity, string theory (if you think it's worth while) are all huge topics. It may be true that (string theory possibly aside) there haven't been any successful GR or QM type theories, but these come along once every hundred years, you cannot expect people to be constantly churning them out.

    Physics is by no means dead, and to think it is is nothing short of naïvety.
  21. Feb 21, 2009 #20

    I understand, and in that book "the trouble with physics" talk about the string theory too, and dark energy.


    PS:if you want know more about it, then go read the book!!! BTW how you going to prove the universe is made by the Big Bang? How do you know that time shall be infinite??? Why would we ever existed? Physics is about questions, but some questions are just too hard for human to solve and therefore we guess, which is good but also bad. (JUST HOW MANY TIME THESE FAMOUS SCIENTISTS ARE WRONG??? AFTER ALL, WE MIGHT ALL BE WRONG, UNLESS YOU SHOW THE TURTH INTO MY EYE!)
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2009
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