- #1

quantum_smile

- 21

- 1

Sorry for the very dull rant. It's just this plus other depressing life changes that are giving me a very bleak outlook on life for the next many months...

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- Thread starter quantum_smile
- Start date

- #1

quantum_smile

- 21

- 1

Sorry for the very dull rant. It's just this plus other depressing life changes that are giving me a very bleak outlook on life for the next many months...

- #2

Vanadium 50

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- #3

radium

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Computational projects are a great way to get started with research in theoretical physics. You can do useful work while at the same time learn the things you need to do more analytical work in the future. That is exactly what I did, I started a project using density functional theory methods for electronic structure calculations my sophomore year and then gradually got into analytical theory, doing a project at an REU after my junior year.

You really just need to be patient. You can't expect to start at your goal right away, you need to work up to it.

- #4

jtbell

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When I was in grad school, some years before that, my work was completely programming: coding, debugging, etc. (Which was fine with me, because I enjoyed programming.)

- #5

Dishsoap

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Like radium said, projects like this are a great way to get a start into the world of theoretical research. The best way to understand what is going on physically is to write a program to represent it, because then you have to consider all the fine details that don't come up when you're just tossing the idea around in your head.

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- #7

quantum_smile

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We're working on a quantum chaos topic, so it's inevitable that we need numerical methods. I guess the frustrating thing for me is that I've taken all the physics major classes and multiple graduate physics courses. Now I'm starting research at the same time as, for example, a 2nd year graduate student working for the same advisor. We've taken almost exactly the same classes and we know pretty much the same things. But she's handed very mathematical-physics-y books to study and understand and I'm stuck in front of my computer learning Fortran. My advisor said that we don't have time to do a very math-oriented project because it would take me months to learn the tools I need, and I'm only staying for a year and graduate school applications are coming up. So I understand that this is what I have to do. Doesn't make it more fun. :/

- #8

Dishsoap

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Thanks for all the replies. micromass, I took on that attitude too, and I agree with it. But I've committed myself to work on this project **full-time** for the next year. I'm not taking any classes, even. That's a long time to be reminded that I don't like something.

Yeahhh... you have my sympathy.

- #9

atyy

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We're working on a quantum chaos topic, so it's inevitable that we need numerical methods. I guess the frustrating thing for me is that I've taken all the physics major classes and multiple graduate physics courses. Now I'm starting research at the same time as, for example, a 2nd year graduate student working for the same advisor. We've taken almost exactly the same classes and we know pretty much the same things. But she's handed very mathematical-physics-y books to study and understand and I'm stuck in front of my computer learning Fortran. My advisor said that we don't have time to do a very math-oriented project because it would take me months to learn the tools I need, and I'm only staying for a year and graduate school applications are coming up. So I understand that this is what I have to do. Doesn't make it more fun. :/

You are probably not missing out on much. The numerics should be very interesting if you understand why the question is interesting, and why even state of the art analytical mathematics has difficulty getting the results that you will obtain.

- #10

quantum_smile

- 21

- 1

I hope so. We're a couple weeks into the project. Maybe it'll get more fun.You are probably not missing out on much. The numerics should be very interesting if you understand why the question is interesting, and why even state of the art analytical mathematics has difficulty getting the results that you will obtain.

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