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What classes are you taking/teaching this semester?

  1. Aug 11, 2003 #1
    I'm interested in how different systems from different countries "teach their young". I noticed in the College Help area some problems I was doing in my 10th grade and not because I was a genious, but because teachers asked me to. I was surprised. I was expecting questions from QM at least.
    So what classes are you taking/teaching this fall and what classes did you take/teach during the last semester? Stating at what institution you are studying/teaching would be a good idea.

    Last semester I was a second year student at the University of Craiova, Romania, the Physics Department. I guess you can say my major is Physics and my minor Informatics even though the system doesn't work that way.
    My classes were: Electronics (semiconductors), Electrodynamics and Special Relativity (first part), Optics (geometrical and wave optics), English and Object Oriented Programming.

    Next year I'll be an excenge student at the University of Leuven, Belgium, still the Physics Department.
    my classes will be: Quantum Mechanics, Principles of Measurements, Electronic Data Processing, Symmetry and Relativity and Statistical Mechanics. That is if I can't slip in some Relativistic Quantum Fields.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2003 #2


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    Hi Sonty,

    Keep in mind that we are in the middle of the summer semesters at the moment. Since fewer students sign up for summer classes, the only classes which are usually offered are the introductory courses. Many students here take physics in high school, but most still need to take the first year physics courses over again, because high school classes aren't usually calculus based. Also, the basic concepts are the most difficult to get.

    Regarding classes, there was a thread a few months back on the same topic here:


    Only a few people responded there, so maybe we could get it started up again.
  4. Aug 11, 2003 #3
    I know. That's why I asked for the last and next semester. I'm trying to get an idea about the level of each (college) year in your study system because I have the feeling you don't get to touch a lot of subjects we touch inside those 4 years of college. I want to get rid of this feeling because it makes me feel superior even though I'm not. The problem is this makes me lazy. Right now I'm looking at Sakurai's "Modern Quantum Dynamics" and I can't get myself to read the last 2 chapters so I can get into Bailin&Love "Introduction to Gauge Field Theory".

    Also across the years I noticed I'm a little strange from this point of view. I'm better motivated when I see better prepared people than myself. That's why I usually get my nose in very difficult stuff which I don't allways fully understand trying to get "the bigger picture". Then I go back and fill the gaps. As an example during the first semester of this year I attended two out of the 3 classes taught to the people who want to get their Master's Degree. You may say I understood locally what the teachers did. I mean the steps they made during the class. I didn't actually get all of that BRST and Group Theory stuff but it helps me understand QM and QFT. It's easier now. I've seen those things before. I can now concentrate on filling in the gaps.

    Regarding the thread you indicated, I spent most of my day at school (I was getting close to 40 hours a week).

    I've gone offtopic again.
  5. Aug 11, 2003 #4
    I'm located at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

    Last term was advanced undergraduate Condensed Matter, Photonics/Optoelectronics, and a Condensed Matter/Particle Physics research project.

    This September will be graduate level Quantum Mechanics and Statistical Physics (as well as my Masters research).
  6. Aug 12, 2003 #5

    I will be starting my second year end september. The way it works here, is you chose a "direction" or program (eg physics, mathematics, history, economics,...).

    The first year physics/mathematics is combined, with only slight differences between the two. Math gets dicrete and concrete mathematics, physics gets chemistry and more labwork.

    After that, you get the choice of pursuing either physics or mathematics, with different subsections in the later years. My second year (physics) will look something like this.

    Algebra (Rings, Modules, Representations)

    Analysis (Numerical, Fourier, Banach-spaces, symmetric & hermite opps).

    Mathematical & Theoretical physics (History & structure of classical EM and special relativity, introduction to field theory)

    Classical Mechanics (Langrangian formalism, Hamilton-Jackobi theory)

    Solid & radiation physics (Christallograpy, quantum mechanics, radiation)

    Thermodynamics (basicly physical chemistry)

    Astronomy (Introductary course)

    Electronics (ditto)


    Projective & Affine geometry (+intro on non-Euclidian geometry)

    Statistics & probabilty

    Last year I often had 40h weeks as well, and it seems that next year will be a little better (around 36h).
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2003
  7. Aug 13, 2003 #6

    Another God

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    In my 4th year, second Semester at UNSW.
    Subjects are:

    Molecular Cell Biology
    Recombinant DNA Techniques
    Genes, Genomes and Evolution
    Philosophy, Education and Society
  8. Aug 13, 2003 #7


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    I'm only going into 9th grade, so my classes are rather lackadaisical in content compared to all of yours. ;)I shouldn't feel so bad about not understanding what most of you are saying outside of the Astronomy forum, since I am really only 14 years old; although Science is going to control the rest of my life.

    I have a question for courses at high schools though.. Are there even any physics courses at the high school level that require Calculus? I'm entering IB Physics I and II when I'm going into 11th grade, but I've heard that they don't contain calculus; and neither do the AP Physics courses... Are the high school physics exciting, or do I have to self-educate myself or wait until college to really get into the exciting stuff?
  9. Aug 13, 2003 #8
    Everything is exciting in Physics. Especially in highschool. You can play with a lot of things and ideas because they are intuitive and "touchable". My advice is to play, explore, break and repair. Allways try to relate to daily life.
  10. Aug 13, 2003 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    I am told that I have no class.

    This is probably due to my upbringing.
  11. Aug 13, 2003 #10
    2nd year grad school

    Cognitive Neuroscience: Memory
    Memory and Conceptualization
    Stats (again)
    Empiricism Perception and Action

    that and a boat load of reseach

    a more interesting semester than the last one.
  12. Aug 13, 2003 #11


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    Surely you do calclus at high school, I remeber in England I started calclus when I was 14 and by the time I left for uni at 18 I was pretty proficient at it. Though I was taking a higher tier exam so most other students didn't start calclus that early and in England we specialize earlier which meant by 16 I was only taking 4 subjects: maths, advanced maths, physics and chemistry.

    At the moment I'm thinking about going back into full or part-time education, possibly studying for some sort of law qualification.
  13. Aug 13, 2003 #12
    I think IB physics is fun though I'm not studying IB course. I've heard that the syllabus is pretty broad.

    I'm also a high school student and will be in grade 13 in September. Um.. not high school really and here we call grade 12 and grade 13 pre-university years. Here, physics course in grade 10 and grade 11 doesn't require calculus at all but physics course in grade 12 and 13 requires simple calculus, like to integrate something to get an equation of an exponential curve. Also we have a subject called Applied Math for grade 12 and gradge 13 students, in which they use a lot of calculus to solve physics problems.

    Also you can always educate yourself new things that aren't included in school syllabus by reading books or taking courses. I took a university course, astrophysics and astronomy(intro course, only algebra is used when doing calculations), last year and now I'm study a university math course. :smile: Learning is fun, especially physics and math.
  14. Aug 13, 2003 #13


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    Thanks to those who have answered my question! =)
  15. Aug 13, 2003 #14
    Even though I'm finished with my summer semester, I had:

    World Literature II
    English Composition II
    Foundations of Mathematics
    Sociology - Multiculturalism and Diversity

    Everyone said I would kill my GPA but all A's so hah! :smile:
  16. Aug 14, 2003 #15
    That's another thing that I find weird in the US.

    Here, you don't get A's. You need 60% to pass, and if you hit the 80% mark you're really good.
  17. Aug 14, 2003 #16

    Another God

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    We get percentages too.
    0 - 49% = Fail
    50 - 64% = Pass
    65 - 74% = Credit
    75 - 84% = Distinction
    85 - 100% = High Distinction
  18. Aug 14, 2003 #17
    That sounds like the Kerala (India) educational system. My parents told me horror stories about it and what makes it horrible is that it's SUPER COMPETITIVE and cut-throat.

    In America, athletics can attract your female classmates but in India, it's all about how much brain matter one possesses :smile:
  19. Aug 14, 2003 #18
    Here it goes

    0-59% : Fail
    60% - 69% : Satisfaction
    70% - 79% : Distiction
    80% - 89% : Great Distinction
    90% - 99% : Greatest Distinction
    100% : Excellence
  20. Aug 14, 2003 #19
    Here, we don't have any specific mark boundaries for grades in a public exam called the A-level exam. Good grades are needed in order to study in university. After all the answer sheets are marked, markers'll plot a graph in computer. The toppest 0.3% - 2% (usually less than 2%)will receive grade A, and then about 5%-8% will receive grade B or above, and so on. Usually we can get and A if we score 75% or above.

    Take physics as an example. Full mark of paper one is 80 and the mean is 20, standard deviation is about 8-10. That means you can get a pass grade if you get 20 marks or above.

    Sometimes exam papers are sooo difficult that students can get an A if they score 50+%. Take this years' chemistry paper as an example. In 500 candidates, only 4 of them can score 50+ marks out of 100! Sometimes I wonder is there any student who can score 90% or above.

    Getting an A here is definately not an easy task. This year, in 30 000 - 35 000 grade 13 students, only about 80 of them could score 4A's or above (usually students take 5-6 subjects). There are so few grade 13 students here because a large group of students has already been "expelled" after a public exam in grade 11 because they didn't do well enough.

    In my school, passing mark for each subject is 40%, which is different from the grading system in public exam.
  21. Aug 18, 2003 #20
    Oh... so that's why Indian chicks are so easy.


    P.S. Trust me, a girl who knows the Kama Sutra is a girl worth having sex with more than once.
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