Information overload

  • #1
hi all,

years ago when i first got into physics i imagined that many years down the line i would be starved for resources. i'm going to be a senior undergraduate next year and it seems to me that the further along i get in the field of physics the more information i come across. and not just information but many many resources. perhaps i'm a bit too eager, but i find myself worried at times when i'm thinking about plasma physics, quantum, gravitation, classical, e&m and all these little tidbits from all over that i want to try and read and learn about, not to mention the mathematical topics. i hop online and look around, discover physics forums and have yet another huge list of resources dumped on me. in a panicked fashion i save many bookmarks and create nice organized folders on my computer for all the PDF documents i come across, free e-books, papers, etc. i have a feeling as the time goes on this information will only continue to overwhelm me. i feel that in some respect this is a serious problem, it's hard to concentrate on one topic and i feel that it is necessary when getting down to business to really focus on a topic and get involved. i'm wondering if anyone has similar thoughts to these and if there are any suggestions in terms of working with this information overload.

-wintercarver
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Mk
2,001
3
When I get into a situation like that, I dump some of it. I don't want to, but I'm better off when I do. I feel better afterwards.

If I can't do that, I store it in folders on my computer, and read a few PDFs on a rainy day. :biggrin:
 
  • #3
Mk said:
If I can't do that, I store it in folders on my computer, and read a few PDFs on a rainy day. :biggrin:

funny you mention that -- i have a folder on my desktop named "things to read" which i place pdfs i can't bear to dump. i pick them up on my moments of non-direction :)
 
  • #4
437
1
I suggest you to avoid html links and other unstructured resources but just use pdfs or preferably printed books.
 
  • #5
1,430
6
Mk said:
When I get into a situation like that, I dump some of it. I don't want to, but I'm better off when I do. I feel better afterwards.

If I can't do that, I store it in folders on my computer, and read a few PDFs on a rainy day. :biggrin:


What's a rainy day?
 
  • #6
franznietzsche said:
What's a rainy day?

a couple minutes of free time.
 
  • #7
208
0
Just take everything one step at a time. Eventually you will be able to cover everything and will find that things begin to get a little redundant. You will probably then look at the style of the presentation of the material.
 
  • #8
538
2
If you can take some moral from my side:

I am really into physics in a way that i always want to keep my knowledge uptodate.I also sometimes end up getting stuck with so much of information that sometimes I wonder at nights that 'whats the use?'.

Now what I do is that.I just take one good book (presently reading feynman from last 2 years ) or for that matter one good .pdf file or 1 online e-book and read it thoroughly , try my inferences on materials, sort my own questions, discuss my eagerness on PF and i am always regular with my physics.
 
  • #9
308
0
I’m a software developer, but there’s a similar desire to keep up to date on all the latest languages and stuff. Go to a big bookstore and see how many languages there are nowadays! And job seekers always want specific ones. In my 20s I subscribed to a bunch of computer magazines and read them from cover to cover. Then as I got older I realized that even if I knew twice as much, say, I’d get paid the same; there’s only so much knowledge that can be used in the daily grind. Knowledge for knowledge’s sake can be fun, but there’s a lot more to life and you can get too wrapped up in your profession. So now I learn something new job-wise only if required, and otherwise I leave work at work. When learning something new, I focus on the goal so that little time is wasted. I generally don’t care about anything beyond the goal. I probably know only 1% of what there is to know about software development; that’s enough it seems.
 

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