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Optics in high school?

  1. Oct 22, 2015 #1
    I'm a high school senior taking classes at Ohio State University. I'm currently enrolled in Basic Astrophysics and Planetary Astronomy, and have already decided to take Stellar, Galactic, & Extragalactic Astronomy & Astrophysics (wow that is LONG!) next semester.

    I've been looking at other tentative courses and the only physics class I'd be able to take in addition next semester would be Optics. I'm not sure if I'm gonna be a physics major (or even a STEM major) and was just looking for something fun and challenging. My current astrophysics course is hard but not unmanageable. I have an A but I rarely understand what the professor is talking about in the class, and am maintaining a good grade simply because I am good at manipulating the formulas.

    I guess this post really just boils down to the following questions: Do you think I will be able to handle this class? Is it interesting? Would it be useful to me in other fields should I choose something else?

    Here's a course description of the Optics class:
    "Introduces students to the fundamentals of modern optics. Topics will include Maxwell's equations, reflection & refraction, interference & diffraction, lasers and optical imaging."

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 23, 2015 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    There is no way to tell... but if you are having troubke understanding the material and are just getting by through manipulating equations then you will gave worse trouble later no matter what courses you take. Physics is very unforgiving of rote learning.
  4. Oct 23, 2015 #3
    I think I phrased the original context badly. I understand most conceptual things, such as why things happen. When it comes to the mathematical derivations however, I'm frequently confused as to what is going on. I think it may have to do with astrophysics' involving a lot of vector and multivariable calculus, which I haven't taken. The derivations get very confusing and learning their mechanics is rather onerous.
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