Discovering My Passion: My Journey to Becoming a Theoretical Physicist at 17

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In summary: I hope. Skills:Here is a list of the few skills I think that would make me a successful theoretical physicist:- Excellent calculating skills- intense focus and determination- Strong analytical skills- Exceptional problem solving skills- Excellent writing skills- Knowledge of theoretical physics and mathematics
  • #1
soloenergy
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Please bear with me when I say that I am 17 (just turned) year old and have a profound interest and an unsatisfiable curious thirst when it comes to the extraordinarily world that is Physics.

What I have come to this forum is to humbly ask of you guys for help and any possible advice you may offer. Every bit counts.

My story:

I have never been good at mathematics and make simple errors even when it comes to simple calculations, but in the sciences, even as a small child I have always been at the top of my class, maybe not in grades but the interest, knowledge and dare I say intelligence, all the teachers that I have had all the way from Kindergarten trough high school have always acknowledge this and I have somewhat build myself a reputation among my peers for my scientifically incline. I am currently trying to improve my calculating abilities since I never actually had the opportunity to learn algebra and I am struggling with it, but I do have a tutor who I pay weekly to help me out whenever I reach a dead end or just simply don't understand the lesson. I am making significant progress.

For almost a year I have decided that my Ideal career choice has been in physics. In what branch? You may ask. I am teared away by that question, for quite some time I envisioned myself being a theoretical physicist. But when it comes right down to it I have a hard time finding the right resources to make my dream a reality. What I have is a basic understanding of what physics is and it's theories/concepts. But the few things that I know I understand completely ( or so I think)

Knowledge:

Here is a list of what I have educated myself over the past year: String theory, Multiverse theory, general relativity, special relativity, Schroedinger's cat, the twin paradox, the grandfather paradox, Black Holes, the three fundamental laws of thermodynamics, entropy, superposition, the Doppler effect all the way to the formation of the cosmos and the big bang; the many multiple ways that the Universe might face it's ultimate end. And some other fundamental stuff.

Please understand that I have taught myself all of these things in the past year off of some books like: Einsteins Cosmo's, A Briefer History of Time and most recently The elegant Universe; Also countless hours of the Science channel's documentaries about physics.

I would also like to add that while this may seem hard for some of you to believe before I had developed any idea interest in physics I also had my own theory about multiple dimensions and multiverses far before I was even aware of it so I dubbed it "Endless Bubble Theory". I came up with how would they could possibly work I came up with how each bubble could represent an entire Universe and how they would have parallel universes similar to the other one but still some minor differences and how one universe would be made of positive matter and the other of negative matter and if both of them would so far as come in contact with the other they would both disappear in a great flash of light because they would cancel each other out. I even went as far to propose my mom to help me patent the idea, at the time which I had thought that I would make a significant contribution to sciences. But the Idea was short lived and came to it's end when I left the science channel on one day while writing my essay explaining every little detail of my theory and some British man talking with Dr Kaku about multiverses said almost exactly what my Idea had been, I was baffled that we both had the same idea with the same design and core laws. I felt a something shatter in me that day, but I did not give up. I thought, if a man with his intellect and vast knowledge of the cosmos had come up with basically my idea as well what could I achieve if I really tried and developed a profound passion for physics? What could stop me from coming up with other things and far better things? That's how I decided that I would become a theoretical physicist, to unlock the secrets of the Universe that have eluded us for centuries and have a build a detailed understanding of what is the Universe.

Education:

Since I had some major issues in my Life I had to drop out of high school and go into virtual school which did not help me at all, so now I am attending a charter school (Currently in 9th grade) which should take me about a year or two to finish, no less than a two years I've been told depending on my pace, after I earn my high school diploma I plan on going to a junior college and receiving all the training that I can logically acquire to educate myself and from then on I plan on attending Berkely University.

Bottom Line:
What I've humbly come to ask you as a community is that I have a passion for physics even if my understanding of it is extremely small compared to yours I aspire to be an astrophysicist or a theoretical physicist and I am fully committed in doing everything in my power so that I can become one, so I please ask you to point me in the right direction and offer any advice or insight in what I should do.


Humbly and Sincerely

-Soloenergy
 
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  • #2
soloenergy said:
I have never been good at mathematics and make simple errors even when it comes to simple calculations...

Strike one.

But the few things that I know I understand completely ( or so I think)

Knowledge:

Here is a list of what I have educated myself over the past year: String theory, Multiverse theory, general relativity, special relativity, Schroedinger's cat, the twin paradox, the grandfather paradox, Black Holes, the three fundamental laws of thermodynamics, entropy, superposition, the Doppler effect all the way to the formation of the cosmos and the big bang; the many multiple ways that the Universe might face it's ultimate end. And some other fundamental stuff.

Please understand that I have taught myself all of these things in the past year off of some books like: Einsteins Cosmo's, A Briefer History of Time and most recently The elegant Universe; Also countless hours of the Science channel's documentaries about physics.

Strike two.

I even went as far to propose my mom to help me patent the idea, at the time which I had thought that I would make a significant contribution to sciences.

Strike three. You cannot patent an idea, and it doesn't seem like it was based on anything more than a curious imagination.

Bottom Line:
What I've humbly come to ask you as a community is that I have a passion for physics even if my understanding of it is extremely small compared to yours I aspire to be an astrophysicist or a theoretical physicist and I am fully committed in doing everything in my power so that I can become one, so I please ask you to point me in the right direction and offer any advice or insight in what I should do.

I'd say your first step is to eat a slice of humble pie. You make some statements above that come off as egotistical and arrogant.

The next step is to complete high school. You also need to improve your calculation skills. If you can't do simple math, how would you even be able to begin to "understand completely" something like string theory?

I'm of the school that thinks anyone can be a physics student if they work hard enough, but you need to start at the beginning and work your way up.
 
  • #3
Hi soloenergy, welcome to PF!

It's nice to hear you have such enthusiasm. It's great to nurture an interest in science by reading the books you list. Just keep in mind that actually getting there will be difficult.

Someone here on PF (I believe it was twofish-quant) recently made a comment about wanting to become a scientist after reading science as it's presented in pop culture (Brief History of Time, etc). It's like looking at pictures taken at the top of Mt Everest and deciding you want to become a mountain climber. That's fine, but be aware that by looking at the pictures, you don't get the full experience of climbing the mountain.

My advice would be, focus on the task at hand: the classes you're taking right now. Good that you've hired a tutor, that's an excellent idea. For the next several years, focus on math, math, math. Don't get discouraged if you struggle with it, it happens to everyone.

Good luck!
 
  • #4
Wow, we are a lot alike. But I'm sure a lot of other people are similar or else they wouldn't be here on the forum.

I noticed you said you are planning to attend Berkley college, where are you from?

Keep in mind though that simply having an idea (like multiverse) does not mean you patented it. A friend of mine also thought of this but that does not mean he had the mathematical intellect and insight to back it up.

And as stupidly egotistic, silly, and arrogant as it sounds I am trying to come up with a theory myself off this one spark of idea.

Anyways, I admire your passion, just make sure you know what you are getting into. Don't live around the notion that you will figure something revolutionary or you might very well be gravely disappointed.

Also, math math math math, you will need it! There are lots of things you can look up online to help you out with the math concepts.
 
  • #5
soloenergy said:
Since I had some major issues in my Life I had to drop out of high school
Remedy = You are from some underrepresented privileged minority?

soloenergy said:
I plan on going to a junior college and receiving all the training that I can logically acquire to educate myself and from then on I plan on attending Berkely University.
I don't think it works that way unless Berkely isn't Berkeley.

What to do:

Your best bet is to get really, really good at the SAT/ACT college entrance exams to show them that your talented despite being troubled. 1500+ on the SAT.
 
  • #6
Although you appear to have a young passion for the subject, which is admirable, you should first see what basic level you are at. Since calculus is the first baby step on the road to a career in physics, why don't you try this basic test:

https://www.math.wisc.edu/~rivard/calculusexam/sample221.pdf

See how you do. If you have trouble with this, you at least have some kind of starting point on your path to physics. If you did not do so well on this exam, I would suggest studying hard algebra, trigonometry and pre calc before you try to retake it. In terms of a physics exam, here is a basic one with solutions. If you have a hard time following the material, then I would suggest find the local library or surf the web for some introductory physics courses. Learning how to crawl would be a great service to yourself before following in the Wright brothers footsteps!
 
  • #7
Sorry, here is the physics exam:

http://tycho.physics.wisc.edu/courses/phys201/spring08/Exams/Ex1practice.pdf
 
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  • #8
Science without mathematics is like writing a book without knowing grammar.

You have to understand the math to appreciate the science in all its glorious detail. That said, I had a slew of substandard math teachers, and I overcame it. But it took serious effort.

You need to make that effort. Don't worry, you do not need to be a prodigy to do good work as a scientist or as an engineer.

And do understand, Math is not arithmetic. It is about describing relationships. You have to have a very precise mindset. You can not be sloppy.

I wish you all the best of luck.
 

Related to Discovering My Passion: My Journey to Becoming a Theoretical Physicist at 17

1. What inspired you to become a theoretical physicist at such a young age?

My interest in physics and mathematics began at a young age, and I was always fascinated by the mysteries of the universe. As I delved deeper into these subjects, I became more and more intrigued by the theoretical side of physics and the potential it held for understanding the fundamental laws of nature.

2. How did you discover your passion for theoretical physics?

I discovered my passion for theoretical physics through self-study and exploration. I spent countless hours reading books, watching lectures, and solving problems on my own. The more I learned, the more I realized that this was the field I wanted to pursue.

3. What challenges did you face on your journey to becoming a theoretical physicist?

One of the biggest challenges I faced was finding the resources and opportunities to learn and grow as a young aspiring physicist. I had to be resourceful and seek out online courses, books, and mentorship from professors and researchers. I also had to balance my academic studies with my passion for physics, which required a lot of dedication and time management.

4. How did you overcome these challenges?

I overcame these challenges by staying persistent and motivated. I never let setbacks or obstacles discourage me from pursuing my passion. I also sought out support and guidance from mentors and other physicists in the field, who provided valuable advice and resources to help me on my journey.

5. What advice do you have for other young individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in theoretical physics?

My advice would be to never stop learning and exploring. Take advantage of all the resources available, whether it's books, online courses, or mentorship. Stay focused, be persistent, and don't be afraid to ask for help or guidance. It's also important to have a strong foundation in mathematics and always keep an open mind to new ideas and theories.

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