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nononeone
- 4
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As a child I have always wondered, as I used to watch a lots of sci-fi cartoons, if it's ever possible to time-travel. It has always been like a fairy tales to me until a friend of mine passed a magazine to me. It was Einstein's 100th birthday, and the headline of the weekly science magazine was "Einstein's equations will let you travel through time." I thought it was just another sci-fi story. But out of curiosity, I started reading the article. and I couldn't believe my eyes. I didn't have a strong enough mathematical foundation at the time, so I couldn't understand all of the equations. But I kept staring at them. These equations were the most beautiful things that I had ever seen. Even though I didn't understand all the math, I did get some amazing and shocking information, which later played a huge role in making me fall in love with physics. Even though it will take an enormous amount of energy to make time travel possible, which is very unlikely to happen anytime soon, just the fact that it is theoretically even possible was a big deal for that little kid version of me.I was dead serious about understanding Einstein’s field equations. I took science in high school. That’s when the real journey began. I asked one of my physics teachers to help me understand the math behind all of these. Only after talking to him did I realize it wasn’t going to be an easy task. I have a long way to go. and that kid was ready for that. He’d do anything to understand these R’s, mu's, and neu’s of the field equation. So I did. I joined our local science forum. There were some brilliant physics Olympiad medalists, so I thought they could help me learn some background material. On their recommendation, I started preparing for the physics Olympiad because they told me it'd help me develop some good problem-solving skills that would later help me. That prep period was one of the best things that happened in my life since I realized how much I love solving problems and, more than that, the after-feeling of solving something so counterintuitive, and I knew. It helped me learn the language of physics, the Mathematics.By the time I got into college, I was able to understand a little bit about the equations; I knew what the elements were; those R’s were some Ricci curvature tensors on a 4-dimensional topological manifold. But I didn’t know what Ricci curvature means and what does a tensor mean or even manifold. To know all of that, I first had to learn differential geometry. And the prerequisites for learning differential geometry were topology, analysis, and linear algebra, which were beyond our college curriculum. But thanks to that winter school, we collaborated with the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, arranged by a private research institute in our country. It was for young college and undergraduate enthusiastic students who don’t have enough mathematical background to properly understand the core topics of theoretical physics. It was a rigorous mathematical methods course. I was recommended by one of my physics teachers from college to attend the winter school. It was a great experience to be able to learn things from some of the world’s best theoretical physicists. At the end of the course, I had everything I needed to finally start learning differential geometry. So I did. A few weeks later, I knew what a manifold was. It's a topological space that locally looks like Rn. Then a few days back, I learned what a tensor is. It’s a multilinear map that takes r+s elements from s vector space and r dual vector space to real numbers. Maybe tomorrow I learn what a Ricci curvature is. Then maybe someday I’ll finally be able to understand those field equations.