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Something to read, for Rookies to Ph.D's

  1. Aug 28, 2004 #1


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    I'd like to say I start school, in my Physics/Math program soon, and I can't to help to say it, but I am very anxious to go. Although my profs might not be as euthiaustic as I am, I wouldn't let them get to me.

    If I succeed, I will be one step closer to learning the deeper truths to all those coffee books, we all lovingly read. It blows my mind that there is other people out there who have the tools(most of them) to fully comprehend them in its fullest extent.

    For those who have the tools, or believe to have the tools, how does it feel when you know you have an idea, and all you need is a pencil and paper to work it out(if you can). I read a part about Kip Thorne how one time they were throwing a little cottage party(I believe it was), and they started unpacking their stuff. Later on Kip Thorne was out of sight, and a few minutes later he was found sitting next to a rock with his notepad and pencil out. Doing what he loves whenever possible. It must feel great to have an imagination/idea of the universe(atomic world to black holes), and being able to dig right into it right away. It may not be this easy of course. The same goes with Einstein (you know you love'em) when he was a lazy bum at Zurich, and seldomly showed up for his Math classes. Einstein himself must of felt frustrated having the tools at the tip of his fingers, but just couldn't grab it, kind of like a 7 year old reaching for the hammer to build a bird house. Of course he acquired those tools later on with time, just like the 7 year old grew taller with time. So, how does it feel?

    For those who are just starting out, who love to dream (I'm one of 'em), or just experts who would like to reflect on past memories. How does it feel to come up with ideas about the universe (same as above), and just go blank. All you can do is elaborate on them, and let time/learning cross some of them out. Sure you can go out, and buy textbooks to figure this all out, but either way there is years ahead of you. Physics isn't just about knowing how to solve a problem. Anybody can get an A in Calculus without having a full understanding of it, but as Physicists/Mathematicians we can't stand not understanding it. Sure we can skip to the equations, and figure it out that way, without even listing the dimensions :eek: . Again as Physicists/Mathematicians, we want to know where the equations come from, and what are the reasonings behind it. We have to learn how to build our own model, and without learning others, it is highly unlikely we will ever succeed on our first try. As we sit here coming up with plenty of creative ideas, we can just wait. I don't mean wait in a boring kind of way, but in a more exciting kind of wait, like the 7 year old who's laying in bed waiting for morning to come to start on his project (bird house :)). We all know what it feels like to wait for something big, and that is a great feeling. So, how does is feel?

    For anyone who enjoys science. Can we ever get enough? Do you love it so much that you wish every night that your dream consists of science, even if you don't remember any dreams. You read books, and study science on your own time and you just can't understand why everyone else doesn't love it just as much as you. You enjoy walking around knowing why, while most people don't. It's like an addiction (a healthy one :wink: ), and we can never get enough. They invent science fiction because what is real isn't enough, and therefore they create more. Don't you just enjoy that feeling?

    I just looked through a telescope this week for the first time, and pointed at the moon. It is definitely a beautiful sight, I enjoy the feeling of knowing that Galileo was blowned away by that same image. I recommend it to anyone who has never seen it before. It's what we shall call PF's MUST SEE TELESCOPE night.

    I would love to read some of your insights on science, and how it fulfills your life.

    Note: I am not crazy. :cool:
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2004 #2
    hey JasonRox!

    I'm sure that many people lose the enthusiasm, rather it gets lost during work and so forth but it comes back time and time again for them.

    I'm 21 year old programmer and always feel the same about computers. Lots of the time I hate them, but I can get really interested and excited when developing some code or something :)

    I developed my interest in the physics and math later than most people--I'm 21 and I must say it bit me about 4 months ago. I've decided that I'll do ungraduate studies in Physics at the university in Fall 2005. I'm thinking of Waterloo and Toronto specifically.

    I notice your information, from Ontario too (I'm in Orillia). What university will you be attending come September?
  4. Aug 29, 2004 #3


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    Were I to do it all over, I wouldn't touch a physics course until I had a year of calculus under my belt. Physics is astonishingly easy and a lot more fun when you are mathematically armed and dangerous. Does wonders for your gpa too.
  5. Aug 29, 2004 #4
    When you say a year of calculus, how do you mean that in terms of university study?

    Calculus I + II ? (or III also?)

    I'm going to try and teach myself more before I even begin university ;)
  6. Aug 29, 2004 #5


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    University level. Learn how to solve elementary differential equations and you are ready open up a can of whuppass on Physics 101.
  7. Aug 29, 2004 #6
    Good luck with your efforts and stick with it. You may be the one who solves the final riddle :smile:

    Keep on chuggin !!

  8. Aug 29, 2004 #7


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    They teach Calculus in High School don't they? I learned about integrals, chain rules, logarithm, trigonometry, and all that stuff in high school. Physics is in fact easy with it.

    Hey singleton,

    I am going to Brock University, but I wouldn't be surprised if I change schools again. I just got into Physics as well. I probably really got into about 8 months ago, and started to enjoy maths about 18 months ago. I was doing a correspondence calculus course, and I just loved how elegant it was (even if it is just fundamental).

    I studied Accounting for 2 years, and go bored. I am actually enrolled for the Honours Accounting program at Brock, but I didn't take any Accounting courses. :)

    I'm really considering Waterloo, and money shouldn't be too bad because I wouldn't drive during the school year. The only thing I'm afraid of is not getting transfer credits. Waterloo seems to have more variety in Physics course. If my dad decides or is forced to help(which probably won't happen), I will most likely choose Queen's. They have an observatory, which is a definite bonus. If I'm stuck at Brock, I will go to Waterloo or McMaster for the summer, or alternate terms with Brock. Brock is very limited on courses, and I don't want to be held back.

    Anyways I'm from Welland.

  9. Aug 29, 2004 #8
    A friend attends engineering at Queen's. As far as studying physics there--I wouldn't. Go to Waterloo instead as (from what I understand) their program is much larger and you can choose what to focus on. They have something like $100 million quantum facility :eek: Though my focus will probably be on GR which they have there too..

    The observatory at Queen's isn't as large as it sounds from what I gather. Waterloo (city) probably has astronomy clubs I'd imagine--join those and take advantage of other people's resources ;)

    Calculus correspondence eh? Where from? Was it a high school course or university? etc.
  10. Aug 30, 2004 #9


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    Yep, that's a toughie... I'm still trying to figure out what's wrong with them! :wink:
  11. Aug 30, 2004 #10


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    Lets put it this way. I spent over 16 years in a classroom wishing I were somewhere else. Now, 40 years later, I wish…
  12. Aug 30, 2004 #11


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    Queen's has General Relativity as well.

    Waterloo does seem solid, and what makes it even better is the fact that it's only 3 hours away!

    Mac is only 1 hour, so I would consider that for the summer.

    This is Brock's 2nd year for Physics(the options anyways):
    Introductory Mechanics
    Electronics I, II
    Modern Physics
    Introduction to Classical and Modern Physics

    5 Choices!

    I'll see what I can do.
  13. Aug 30, 2004 #12
    Is Queen's program really popular? Are they "famous" in the sense for their phyiscs department at all?

    I wouldn't mind going there only because all the beautiful women I know from high school ended up going there. Well the beautiful AND smart ones. The beautiful and not as smart ones ended up at Western :tongue:

    Edit: Unfortunate for me I may have a troubling time to get into any physics program at university. I finished HS in Ontario when they had OAC but I didn't do Chemistry nor Physics in OAC (wasn't interested then) :(

    I finished OAC with english, accounting, computer science, finite math (horrible mark), algebra&geometry, calculus (working on it now via correspondence and doing well).
    I also have a college diploma with a perfect 4.0 GPA so perhaps I can apply as a mature student and that would help :confused:
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2004
  14. Aug 30, 2004 #13


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    Sounds like you are in my position.

    I did two OAC's, and not one science. I did one in Grade 10, and that's about it. I'm also doing a correspondence Physics course right now, but it isn't necessary. I do my courses through ILC, from Toronto.

    In my two OAC's, I had English and Finite Math. 50% in English, and 42% in Finite Math :eek: !

    I have no problems getting in anywhere after one year of college. During double cohort, I had some really nice offers, but they were for business schools. At the time, I was not sure what I wanted to do, so I did another year of College Accounting, and now I know. Good thing I didn't go away for Accounting.

    Brock's program seems directed towards Condensed Matter Physics(their Master's Program), and that's it. I'm not too fond about that.

    As for Queen's being prestigious or not, I don't know. I just know that it will would suck a lot of money out of my dad's pockets because I hate him. Believe it or not, I am also considering American schools for that very reason.

    Note: I have never taken Chemistry in my life, and I plan on taking some next term.

    I feel like Macroeconomics(which I'm taking this term) will be a waste of time. I already got 4 credits(from Accounting), and that should be enough for all my electives. I can save by not taking the course, and use that for summer courses. School starts next week, and I have to make a decision soon.

    Talk to you later.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2004
  15. Aug 31, 2004 #14
    The ILC is a great opportunity for those of us who didn't do well to give it another shot ;)

    I'm doing calculus over correspondence from the ILC and it is a nice option to have to me.

    Bear in mind that August 31st is the LAST DAY that they will allow you to sign up so if you want to add any more OAC credits to help you get into that physics program then go to the ILC today and sign up.

    If you want to spend money, I hear Queen's is the way to go (hehe). I'd still give major thought to Waterloo and Toronto because this is for YOU (the education and experience) not to get back at your father :) Go wherever sounds best suited for you I mean.

    I think and hope I'll end up at Waterloo. I was already accepted but it was for General Arts (haha). Hopefully my calculus mark and now college diploma will enable me to get into physics program there :) That city is amazing cool.
  16. Aug 31, 2004 #15


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    I know about the Aug. 31st thing. It doesn't really matter anymore because I don't need it.

    I am really disappointed in Brock only having an intro into Quantum Mechanics in 3rd year.

    I am required to take that Electronics I course. There is no way in hell I'm taking that pointless stuff.

    Depending on how I do this year, I will talk to them about that. I'm not interested on how circuit boards work. I'll leave that for Engineers and other interested people.

    Anyways, I wish you luck on your journey into Physics.
  17. Aug 31, 2004 #16
    Whoops damn program.

    Anyhow good luck to you too and thanks!

    Perhaps we will end up in the same physics program in Fall 2005.

    I would keep your mind on Waterloo and Toronto though :D
  18. Aug 31, 2004 #17


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    I remember watching a TV program on Andrew Wiles (sp?) and the many years he took to discover a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem ... there was a part where the interviewer asked Wiles about how it felt when he (Andrew) realised he'd got it. There is absolutely no way anyone can convey the feeling Andrew must surely have felt then!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I only wish I had 0.0000001% of the insight that folk like Feynman, Dirac, Hawking, and many many more had (have) into their theories; the few times when I've finally 'got it' have been quite undescribable ...

    I'm sure you can get this in economics too, but ...
  19. Aug 31, 2004 #18
    Yeah I'd imagine the feeling would be totally amazing to, with sure mind, discover that you found something and your tests & experiments agree with it.

    Especially larger things. Wow what it must be like :)

    Imagine discovering something large, that'd be quite a feeling... in fact, you would think you may lose your mind over it (from disbelief?) heh.
  20. Aug 31, 2004 #19


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    Nereid, did you read Fermat's Last Theorem by Amir D. Aczel?

    It's the history Math, all the way down to Wiles proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. It puts shivers down your spine, just waiting for that moment.

    It's like solving those hard Math/Physics problems, and you just sit there admiring it all, but having a solution to something no one knows is definitely probably the best feeling possible.

    The reason why I might not Macroeconomics is because I can just focus on the classes I am interested in, and use the money for classes in the summer. I already have more than enough elective credits that were transferred from college.

    singleton, one thing you want to keep in mind, books are $$$. If you think $100 is a lot for a textbook, you'll be blown away!
  21. Sep 1, 2004 #20
    Oh how I envy the US and Canadian educational system
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