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Should I give up physics?

  1. Nov 8, 2012 #1
    Here is the context:

    I am in high school and I am studying physics, chemistry and math in high school.(along with English and another language). Some months back, I started my 12th grade(that was in April) and I did very badly in physics.The single-variable calculus-based syllabus consisted of thermodynamics , electrostatics, basic electromagnetism, some gravitation and the time given was 4 months to cover all this. I did badly on my school exams and during it I did not know how to calculate the magnetic field due to an infinite current carrying wire.I also keep forgetting formulae and find it very hard to remember them.I forget most expressions like the magnetic field generated in a solenoid by a current and stuff)

    In contrast, I can remember every single aspect of the tiny amount of Group theory,enumerative combinatorics,elementary topology, and linear algebra I picked up from various sources like Herstein and Rudin)

    I have a choice to make in a few months. I may double-major in math and computer science or math and physics.(the university I may attend will only accept a double major;the courses are taught by researchers in various disciplines).

    My question is :

    After this nightmarish experience, should I still have the audacity to study physics?Thanks for reading this.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2012 #2
  4. Nov 9, 2012 #3
    Do you like physics/want to be a physicist?
  5. Nov 9, 2012 #4
    To be honest, I want to be a pure mathematician.However, the courses in CS and physics are rather strong, so I need to be careful enough not to wreck my career.

    I do like physics but my confidence has been seriously shaken.
  6. Nov 9, 2012 #5
    Honestly, it just sounds like you go to a really hard high school. Don't let this discourage you at all.

    Grade 12 physics for me was cake, got 99% in the course. However, it was very very simple. No calculus, only math you needed was super basic algebra, such as solving a one variable equation. And we didn't really derive things, just learned the simple formulas and applied them in simple scenarios. I don't even remember learning any EM other than that like charges repel, and what direction magnetic field lines point in.

    Anyways, I'm in my 4th year of engineering physics right now and I am doing very well. I think if you have been introduced to the kinds of stuff you say you have then you will probably do better than me in university. I didn't even know what group theory was until my third year of uni.

    Don't let your high school experience ruin it, try it out in uni at least for a year.
  7. Nov 9, 2012 #6
    It's hard to know what to say based on one paragraph. You probably shouldn't give up on physics, but whether you should major in it is impossible to say. To me, math and physics are similar--I don't even understand why some people are good at one or the other. They are more or less the same to me, except physics tends to be full of formulas and math is full of proofs. But because I think of the formulas and the proofs in an intuitive, often visual way, I don't perceive any noticable difference between the two subjects. To me, they are both about getting insight into why things are true.
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