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How do mathematicians and physicists actually work?

  1. Dec 19, 2004 #1
    How do mathematicians and physicists actually work? I've never had real trouble with any math or science course I've taken (1st yr of college now) but I can't imagine how you would make a living discovering and researching things which have not been discovered or researched before. It seems to me like it would be such a chancy thing--like you either have some insight and make a theory out of it or you don't. Do you have to be a genius to be a mathematician or a physicist? Or is my impression of how much you have to come up with original ideas wrong?

    (I'm heading into computer science so these questions are only academic for me)
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 19, 2004 #2
    I've always wondered this too.. =)

    I always thought about working hard to get into a good college/ etc./ etc.. But the thought of doing something never before done is the paramount challenge.
  4. Dec 19, 2004 #3


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    That's the fun of it! As you study a subdiscipline more intensely, it starts to become more apparent where the gaps in knowledge are. Though, there is a bit of talent involved. Some people get a PhD and really still don't turn out to be very good at finding novel things to study. No problem there, there are always jobs in industry where they can work for someone else who tells them what to work on.
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