Most boring areas of Physics

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Hey guys

So I'm sure there are plenty of threads about what people think are the most exciting subfields, but what about the most boring? Which subfield of physics did you enjoy the least learning?

I'll begin. In my opinion it has to clearly be scattering theory & everything related (e.g. x-ray diffraction, electron diffraction etc.)- it's just so dry and tiresome. I get depressed just thinking about calculating another cross section.
 

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  • #2
Borek
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Physical aspects of paint drying?
 
  • #3
OmCheeto
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Physical aspects of paint drying?
Actually, I found that quite interesting.

 
  • #4
S.G. Janssens
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Actually, I found that quite interesting.
Thank you, that was really nice to watch. Maybe you could consider posting it in one of the video galleries elsewhere on this site?
 
  • #5
OmCheeto
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Thank you, that was really nice to watch. Maybe you could consider posting it in one of the video galleries elsewhere on this site?
I wouldn't know where to post it. So, be my guest.

And I'm embarrassed again, to say that I'm addicted to these "Sixty Symbols" videos.
It all started, when Greg posted a thread about Sean Carroll, and Sean went on and on, about something, and kept using the term "entropy", and I decided that I didn't really know what "entropy" was, so I watched about 5 instructional videos on the topic, and then ended up at the Sixty Symbols site. There, a "Mr. Moriarity" said that it was the umteenth time he'd tried to explain it. After watching their umteen videos on "entropy", it started to sink in.
 
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S.G. Janssens
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Larry Gopnik
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I'll begin. In my opinion it has to clearly be scattering theory & everything related (e.g. x-ray diffraction, electron diffraction etc.)- it's just so dry and tiresome. I get depressed just thinking about calculating another cross section.
That's a shame that you feel that way. I thought scattering was mudane, then I had to develop techniques for analysing diffraction data from Synthrotrons - then I realised how truly interesting the field is.

Anyway - I've always found that if I found some aspect of my course uninteresting then it'd be because I hadn't been taught it either well enough or because the learning didn't go into enough depth.
 
  • #9
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I can't comment on which specific area of physics is most boring. But I will say that any purely algebra based physics course is quite boring.
 
  • #10
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Calculating Clebsch-Gordan coefficients by hand in my quantum mechanics class was pretty mind numbing.
 
  • #11
To me the most boring area is the Acoustics. I don't know why I never ever liked it.
 
  • #12
ZapperZ
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To me, nothing is more boring than something that is pointless. And this thread wins that easily.

Zz.
 
  • #13
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Calculating Clebsch-Gordan coefficients by hand in my quantum mechanics class was pretty mind numbing.
Yep thats def a contender too.

To me, nothing is more boring than something that is pointless. And this thread wins that easily.

Zz.
Then you must be real pointless to be around.

Wminus.
 
  • #14
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Balls rolling down inclined planes.

(I only took one semester of physics and decided to stick with math after that).
 
  • #15
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And yes I know that's not an "area."
 
  • #16
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Back when I was an undergraduate, I did not like classical mechanics. I liked quantum mechanics. Later, I had an excellent theoretical physics prof in grad school. (In those days we took two semesters). Today, I favor classical mechanics and statistical mechanics over other areas.

I do not especially like elasticity and hydrodynamics, though, even though the same prof taught this in the second semester. I could see he was really into it though. He taught the same course from 1947-1980. (Same course in the curriculum, probably not entirely the same material in the same way)

I think almost any sub-area of physics can be interesting, if presented and approached properly. I think your favorite and disliked areas may change over the course of your career and lifetime.
 
  • #17
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Circuits easily. E&M is fun, but something about circuits just didn't really fit into the whole style of the subject.
 
  • #18
symbolipoint
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Take this one seriously:
Physical aspects of paint drying?
What might be dull to many may be both important and very interesting to someone else. Coatings are important for construction, maintenance, "cosmetics" of diverse kinds, and many functional purposes of paints, coatings, glue, nail polish. Dry-time can be a very important quality of a formula. Developers are using their technical skills and knowledge to study and try to adjust for greater or lesser dry-time. Application end-users need to be able to trust expected dry-time.
 
  • #19
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I think this post is far from pointless. In reading the responses, I have learned that what many practitioner physicists consider dry and boring, others like. I never found calculating Clebsch Gordon coefficients as dull. I also found circuits far more interesting than calculating the magnetic field distribution in a sphere with a particular magnetic potential on the surface.

When I meet someone who finds out I am a physicist, they usually tell me about the TV program they saw, about time machines, warp drives, quantum consciousness, and some are more down to earth and ask about relativity, quantum effects etc. The fact is many areas of physics that do not pervade the popular culture, for example, the behavior of the gyroscope, contains counter-intuitive mind expanding ideas, that are unadvertised.

A senior colleague who I worked with my first year of work told me about a young physicist he worked with in the past. After reading a particular chapter in Goldstein, he flipped the book in the air, (presumably around the intermediate axis). The senior colleague (mathematician), asked me years later, what was that about? I told him, but I was unsure whether he saw the significance.
 
  • #20
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Circuits easily. E&M is fun, but something about circuits just didn't really fit into the whole style of the subject.
IMO that's often the case when circuit analysis is taught through rules and rote, instead of being derived through rigorous physics. I guess it wasn't taught to you as a proper subfield of E&M, but just as some Electrical Engineering stuff?
 
  • #21
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Balls rolling down inclined planes.

(I only took one semester of physics and decided to stick with math after that).
This was boring to you? Ahaha I had so much fun with that and other objects down inclined planes, using them to calculate friction coefficients, gravity, etc.
Although honestly the fun part was deriving the physics and then seeing that the experiment matched the predicted values.
 
  • #22
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IMO that's often the case when circuit analysis is taught through rules and rote, instead of being derived through rigorous physics. I guess it wasn't taught to you as a proper subfield of E&M, but just as some Electrical Engineering stuff?
More or less. Just ohms law and stuff like that. There is some physical intuition, such as currents spliting etc. But thats about it.
 
  • #23
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This was boring to you? Ahaha I had so much fun with that and other objects down inclined planes, using them to calculate friction coefficients, gravity, etc.
Although honestly the fun part was deriving the physics and then seeing that the experiment matched the predicted values.
It may be this is the turning point where one realizes whether physics is their thing.
 

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