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Should I, or should I not?

  1. Jul 27, 2015 #1


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    I am currently a Japanese graduate student in Chemistry department in a Japanese college.

    I have been studying photochemistry, and I have come to realize that my lack of understanding for physics is making me unable to draw out my full potential in my ability to do good research. However, I am already a graduate student. To tell a little more, I am actually entering the PhD. course starting October (I am skipping half a grade of masters degree for this) and I believe I am too late to start studying physics (mainly quantum physics). At the same time, I feel the need to study the fundamental aspect and the meaning behind all these concepts that I would usually happen to "pretend that I know".

    My question is, is there an effective way to study physics in any way possible (taking class, study alone, start things over, etc.)? Or should I just forget and continue on with my chemistry career without having any background in physics, given the situation I am in?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 27, 2015 #2
    Physics is really logical subject and if u do want to pretand that you know about it then just do have confidance that can fack that becus it require time to know any subject whether it is your chemistry or physics...
  4. Jul 27, 2015 #3


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    I am guessing that in a PhD program you have a professor who can advise you. Maybe you can discuss this with that professor and figure out what the best plan of study is.

    There is more scientific knowledge than anybody can learn. Even the very intelligent, as you must be to get into a PhD program, cannot learn everything. So the thing to do is, pick what will help you the most. Learn that. The problem with making this decision is, you don't know in advance what will be the most use. So you have to do some guessing. And your prof can help.

    Once you get to a graduate level the thing to do is probably to get a general awareness of a lot of closely related subjects. But not to spend 100s of hours going through the texts except for your specific area. That way you can have a good chance to spot places where you can use work from related subjects. When one of these opportunities comes up you can go study that area more carefully.

    So, for example, photochemistry probably has spectroscopy as an important subject. You should probably study some of the background material for spectroscopy. But you probably should not spend months doing it unless that is your specific area of work. You probably want a survey that you can read in a few days so you know the basic types and operation of the most common kinds of spectroscopes. Then you could be ready to use the right kind of spectroscope when you do work that needs one.

    For another example, photochemistry depends on the energy levels of atoms and molecules. Maybe you should study the quantum mechanics that lets us estimate these values. But how much time you spend on this depends on how useful it will be. There is a huge body of work on this topic. Trying to learn it all will use up a huge amount of time, and maybe keep you from getting forward with your own career. Maybe what you want is a survey that takes 2 or 3 days to read, and gives you the general outline of the most important methods used these days. That way you will be ready if you need to do some work of this kind.
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