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Scientific hobby

  1. Aug 22, 2014 #1
    As autumn arrives i tend to get depressed. Last weeks have been hell for me, literally, as I have nothing to do between study sessions, I end up wasting hours on youtube watching stupid crap. My solution is to find a hobby, something productive and stimulating that I can do on a regular basis. I do study at university, so I tend to do a lot of reading. Preferably my hobby would be something practical, like doing scientific experiments and such, however I have no clue where to begin, implicating in my one and only idea - I am going to go through the entire periodic system, starting with hydrogen, to take notes and learn about each and every element.

    My question is, before starting with this journey, does anyone know anything else, more practical I can spend my hours on?

    (I am currently studying nanoscience and yes, I am socially regressed)

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 22, 2014 #2
    Build a robot that automatically vacuum cleans your flat.
  4. Aug 22, 2014 #3


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    You know your own interests better than anyone else knows. What do YOU want to do?

    Just some ideas that might motivate you:
    Physical fitness conditioning,
    Making of bread, beer, wine, yogurt,
    Learning a computer programming language and creating simple or not so simple programs.
  5. Aug 22, 2014 #4
    I do actually train four times a week, and also I have read some programming courses at the university. My big interests are obviously physics and chemistry, but I do really not know what to do during my free time
  6. Aug 22, 2014 #5
    I like this. The OP said he wanted to find something practical, but he's going to expend enough time and effort on practical things in his career. A hobby should be something else. Brew beer like Sym. said (I do this), learn to play blues guitar, ballroom dancing, try Crossfit, join a bowling league.

    Even though you describe yourself as socially regressed, I recommend doing something social. In ballroom dancing surprisingly you'll find many scientists and engineers, often very introverted. Of course you also find over-the-top extroverts but somehow the context makes the mixture of different personality types work. I'm as big a dork as anyone but I can cut some serious rug.

    There are other things, too; book clubs, wine tasting, camping, bicycling either solo or in groups.

    Whatever you do, don't watch anymore lolcatz videos, and don't spend time at home doing more of what you are going to be doing in the lab. Your hobby should be something different, something IMpractical.

    That's my two bits.
  7. Aug 22, 2014 #6

    I think you are right, I have an old keyboard at my parents house, maybe I should bring it to my apartment and start practicing piano.
  8. Aug 22, 2014 #7


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    Making yogurt or bread is a microbiological-based activity or "hobby" and being too technical is not too necessary.

    Making beer or wine is more scientific and also still microbiological, since cleanliness and care about conditions are much more important. With beer, you have grain mashing, air-locking, specific gravity measurement (which could be excluded if you are patient and careful enough), and bottling. The sanitizing processes require much effort.
  9. Aug 22, 2014 #8
    Ham radio http://www.arrl.org/
    Learn electronics, talk to people around the world. Its can be as simple or technical as you want, and you can learn a lot of physics.
  10. Aug 22, 2014 #9
  11. Aug 22, 2014 #10
    I became slightly too addicted to pleasure reading over this summer, but it's kept me off the internet which I can only see as a positive. Recently I've started using my Raspberry Pi my uncle bought me a year back but didn't have time to commit. They are cheap, "nifty" (the best word to describe them) and are designed to help teach programming and interactions with electronics. There are plenty of magazines and websites devoted to finding small projects for Rasp-Pi. Maybe something like that OP.
  12. Aug 23, 2014 #11
    Read novels?

    I recommend The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens as the ultimate mood raiser. If you're not used to Victorian novels, maybe start with H.G. Wells science fiction stories, or R.L. Stephenson - not as funny or deep as Dickens but easier to read to ease yourself in.

    For you in particular, I would recommend the Periodic Table by Primo Levi - he's a great literary writer as well as a superb chemist and science populariser. Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks is another work in that area.
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