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I really hope it gets better

  1. Mar 3, 2009 #1
    I am in first semester mechanics now and am so bored by it, the material is mostly new to me, atleast a formal sense but it all seems so dry and mundane. I want to be an astronomer or astrophysicist but my school has no courses in this area so I am stuck getting a plain old physics degree and hopefully continuing in grad school. Does this stuff get more interesting anytime soon? If so when did the material start to be really fun and not just stuff you have to learn to get to the good stuff?

    I have to admit I was totally sucked in to physics and astronomy by popular science books and stuff by Feynman, Greene, etc. I know we aren't going to be handling that sort of stuff in an intro class but right now the interesting stuff seems so disconnected from what we are doing.

    So far we've done up through the conservation of energy and I have to say that while I don't find it to hard, I really don't see myself doing 4 years of classes if even the more advanced ones are of this style. I'd much rather prefer doing pure math, would that hurt my chances at going to astronomy for grad school? Should I just suck it up and I will find the material more interesting soon?

    If i want to do some independent study in astro stuff to whet my appetite do I have to wait until senior year or could I possibly do something sooner?

    Thanks as always

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 3, 2009 #2
    So you are taking mechanics? If so, certainly don't base your entire opinion of physics on your first class...

    Take physics if you want to learn to DO physics, otherwise there are easier ways to learn ABOUT physics.

    Many find mechanics more or less boring.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2009
  4. Mar 3, 2009 #3


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    Next semester you'll get introductory E&M. If it's a calculus-based course, you'll probably learn about Maxwell's Equations (the integral versions, at least). Thirty-seven years after I took that course myself as a freshman, I still remember marveling at Maxwell's Equations.

    Maybe at the end of the second semester, certainly during the third semester, you'll get into "modern physics" (relativity and QM). That's when the fun stuff really begins. :!!)
  5. Mar 3, 2009 #4
    I felt mechanics was also boring when I was at that stage (it's a wonder I ever stuck with physics as a major). Don't worry it gets better. Then later you might think mechanics is fun (although it took me about ten years to think that!).
  6. Mar 3, 2009 #5
    I'm doing E&M over the summer and getting into modern physics this fall so lucky I don't think I have too long to wait
  7. Mar 3, 2009 #6
    Yeah, in my opinion, the material gets more interesting as you go from mechanics to E&M to modern physics. I too, didn't really like intro mechanics, but found E&M and especially modern physics, to be really interesting.
  8. Mar 3, 2009 #7
    I don't see how a physicist could think mechanics is "boring". I was somewhat bored with my mechanics class because it was very slow-paced, but I always enjoyed studying the subject.
  9. Mar 3, 2009 #8
    I think that's probably what it is, we are spending a whole week, 3 hours of lecture and 2 of discussion, on a single chapter like conservation of energy and I actually enjoy working the problems but I just want to move on to stuff besides pulleys, roll coasters and other boring objects on the same order of scale as humans, I like the very small or the very large, haha. I'm sure advanced mechanics isn't boring but this stuff so far really is.
  10. Mar 3, 2009 #9
    Huh. I found mechanics to be the most interesting subject because it *was* on the scale of human beings.

    When I did E&M, QM, etc. I didn't much care for the subjects because it all seemed very academic. There's a certain romance in playing with tennis balls and spinning tops and chains and books sliding down ramps on skateboards...
  11. Mar 4, 2009 #10
    I know what you mean. My professor spent an entire month talking about harmonic oscillators.
  12. Mar 4, 2009 #11
    Different strokes for different folks. I was enthralled by my mechanics and E&M classes, but I'm finding my modern physics class this semester to be woefully boring and dry.
  13. Mar 4, 2009 #12


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    Last year at the end of the academic year our department had an instructors' meeting where we read and discussed feedback from the students in relation to their lectures.

    One of the more common comments was that we waste a significant amount of time cross covering the basics in our field - as in several different classes gave lectures on what was essentially the same material.

    One of our senior professors commented that the students didn't seem to be getting the message that if we were spending so much time on it, the material must be important.
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