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Information overload

  1. Jun 2, 2005 #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.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2005 #2


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    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:
  4. Jun 3, 2005 #3
    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 :)
  5. Jun 3, 2005 #4
    I suggest you to avoid html links and other unstructured resources but just use pdfs or preferably printed books.
  6. Jun 3, 2005 #5

    What's a rainy day?
  7. Jun 3, 2005 #6
    a couple minutes of free time.
  8. Jun 8, 2005 #7
    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.
  9. Jun 8, 2005 #8
    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.
  10. Jun 16, 2005 #9
    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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