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What happened to me? I have lost my love for Physics

  1. Dec 29, 2008 #1
    About two years ago I started to love Physics, it was inspired by many things, but mainly the book Contact by Carl Sagan. I began lurking on this website - reading posts, reading books and expressing the odd childish theory aswell :smile:
    I then chose my A-levels. I chose Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry - originally thinking I would go into engineering. I enjoyed all of them except chemistry and achieved AAAB in my AS results. So I continued with my three best subjects; Maths, Further Maths and Physics.

    Time for university choices. Luckily, I was one of the few in my school that would be pushed into the Oxbridge catergory, so I applied to my five universities fairly early, including Oxford for Physics. According to my UCAS 'helper', I'd written the best personal statement he'd ever seen - this got my hopes up. I was however, to be rudely awakened by an Oxford Admissions test, that would later inform me of my poor knowledge and bleak future in Physics.

    I got rejected from Oxford :frown: But given offers from some prestigious universities too! UCL, Imperial, Manchester and Warwick. Good new right? Wrong. I visited the open days, I walked around the Physics departments in a palpaple solemness. Everyone did! Nobody in the whole room, of which there were about 50 seemed to talk. We occasionally spoke about waves and particles, people smiled occasionally and the odd nerd would make a maths joke. I would wince, or smirk if he was trying hard.

    I have always done well in my school Physics tests, but I miss the days when everything was unknown to me, when I'd stay up at night and watch lectures on my laptop by Richard Feynman and various other 'famous physicists', and read various inspiring articles on the internet about crazy things like quantum theory and dark matter.

    I concluded later that I am not interested in Physics, I am interested in mystery. When the mystery goes all that is left is numbers, the odd particle and maybe a standing wave.

    I am no longer interested in anything, I'm going to withdraw my application, in full knowledge of my decent offers and take a gap year. I keep telling myself I'll do Philosophy at university after that. But who knows, I tend to drift from one subject to the next - kidding myself that I'll pursue it to a meaningful depth.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 29, 2008 #2
    Physics is not all about numbers. In fact, numbers and equations aren't even a major part of physics. Equations are used to predict new phenomena using old measurements - correlate observed physical phenomena to unobserved through math. Of course, if you choose to be an engineer, it's quite different - you have to use these equations all the time, but if you are a theoretical physicist, you need a good, crazy idea/concept first. Of course, if you choose to do numbers and lose all hope to make an insane discovery like quantum mechanics/dark matter, you probably would lose all love for physics. But anyway, if you think there is no more mystery left in physics, you need some clinical help. My personal approximation is that we observed 60% of all natural phenomena and gave a roughly true explanation to only 20% of them. Is that mysterious enough for you?
  4. Dec 30, 2008 #3


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    Does that mean you've found the TOE? All the mystery is gone? As I understand it there is still a lot in Science we don't understand, maybe you need to dig a little deeper.
  5. Dec 30, 2008 #4
    tommyburgey, i have same situation with you do.
    I had very interest in field of computer engineering, but now i know the details but i think i wanna do something more scientific and mystical ...
    that is why i currently think to do master on artificial intelligence because it is a very wide area that you have so much freedom and a new area of study.

    Because when i study it I always have fear that someday cylons will destroy our race. And that gives me excitiment. I am just trying to make very very smart softwares.
  6. Dec 30, 2008 #5


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    Are you saying you think you know all there is about physics after you passed A- levels?:rolleyes:

    It sounds to me like you have a problem with perspective.

    Personally, I think you should take a few physics courses in college and see what you think. There is ALOT humanity does not know about the physical world, and as you get into the higher level courses, you'll see where one theory is valid and another breaks down. You'll study more It may be that you were just bored by introductory physics at times. For me, it definitely got more interesting as I took more courses in quantum mechanics, etc. If you don't enjoy the physics courses, or don't like doing the math, maybe physics was not for you.

    It could be that you realized that you weren't really interested in the physics, but in the philosophy of physics. For instance you may find the calculation of of the energy levels of a particle in an infinite square well boring, but you enjoy discussing the philosophical implications of the different interpretations of quantum mechanics.

    If this sounds like you maybe you should consider studying philosophy. I warn you the job market will be awful with that major, but if it is what you love, then who am I to stop you.

    Good luck to you! I hope you find your passion soon.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  7. Dec 30, 2008 #6
    Maybe you have personal problems which affect your motivation and point of view to field of study ? Have you ever considered that possibility ?
  8. Dec 30, 2008 #7
    I don't think he meant that:

    I guess everyone gets fascinated by physics in high school and then discovers different nature of it in the college. You would be solving those oxford like questions for rest of four years ... see other similar thread. Life can become very boring. Regardless of which career you pick, you would go through that stage.

    My friend (in engineering) was really interested in physics minor but after solving 2nd year quantum physics course assignments and having a bitter final, he gave up.
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