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What's the best way to self teach in order to do research?

  1. Oct 27, 2009 #1

    - ChE & Math double major, currently a junior.
    - Just got offered a project in ChE department that starts after Thanksgiving.
    - Project could turn into head start on Thesis, letting me get a masters only a year after my B.S.
    - Told to learn Sturm-Liouville => Separation of Variables as they apply to PDE's before starting (and I assume their application to transport phenomena, I really wasn't told much as of now).
    - Am taking a math class on PDE's next semester, which touches on what I should know but not enough and not soon enough.

    How should I start? What is the best way to learn something without having homework, lectures, quizzes, etc? Is there a good book that anyone can recommend to me for this particular situation? I have my Diff Eq book, which I plan on reading through some and doing some problems out of.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 27, 2009 #2
    I like haberman's book on PDE's as a nice not too difficult introduction. It has a good section on Sturm Liouville problems.
  4. Oct 27, 2009 #3
    I'd start by going down to the library and downloading the papers that your new research group has written. They may turn out to be incomprehensible, but look for terms and equations that get repeated and then go and look for textbooks and tutorials that explain those terms.
  5. Oct 29, 2009 #4
    Best way with a well-established topic is to get a few textbooks, see which writing style you like the most, and follow the chapters on the subject for a couple of days. If there are no errors and the style has a lot of descriptive text to go with the equations it can be very useful.

    If it's not a well-established topic then try to locate some review articles, read and re-read, and follow up the important references.

    That's been my understanding in my early learning process for self-study at a postgrad level.
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