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I want to think like a physicist

  1. Sep 29, 2007 #1
    I want to think like a " physicist"

    i used to use the scientific methodology in inquiring about things and interpreting actions and interactions, However, stuff happens, and I had "not" so good" a couple of years that reduced the ability to think like a physicist and to love physics to a limit that it becomes second hand. What should I do to get this urge back? Any clues? I am thinking that relearning the basics will help me rediscover my love. What do you think? Help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2007 #2

    Chris Hillman

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    What "stuff"? (Dare I ask?)

    Hi, lou6,

    Your allusion to "stuff" which "reduced the ability to think like a physicist" is a bit worrying. I assume you mean something like bad experiences in physics courses. If so, the first thought which comes to mind is to suggest that you set aside time to study two books: the excellent on-line textbook by Blandford and Thorne, Applications of Classical Physics, which you can download at http://www.pma.caltech.edu/Courses/ph136/yr2004/ and the textbook by J. D. Murray, Mathematical Biology, 2nd edition, Springer, 1993.
  4. Sep 29, 2007 #3
    I had some problems/distractions when I took two "algebra-based" physics courses last year...
  5. Sep 29, 2007 #4

    Chris Hillman

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    Algebra-based physics courses? You mean like, Groebner basis methods? Or universal algebra? Or maybe category theory as per Robert Geroch, Mathematical Physics? Where was this?

    Just curious.

    By problems/distractions do you mean something like a divorce, or something like a prison sentence for a drug offence, or what?

    (If you feel comfortable with answering that in general terms...)
  6. Sep 29, 2007 #5
    -Algebra-based Physics courses are the courses given for life sciences/health majors. They are not based on calculus.
    - No, I don't want to underestimate the "distractions", but they weren't a divorce or stuff like that. I arrived to a point where I didn't know what I want and didn't know, and was lost. I figured a lot of things out since then. Hope that clears things out.
  7. Sep 29, 2007 #6
    Biology is becoming a much more quantitative disciple. There are now a lot of ways to develop quantitative thinking skills without leaving biology. You could try learning about physical/mathematical interpretations of an area of biology that interests you. If you let us know what area of biology you are in, we could probably point you to some relevant quantitative areas...
  8. Sep 29, 2007 #7

    Chris Hillman

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    For example, Murray is an expert on modeling pattern formation, so his textbook is very good for that.
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