...Prove Their Worth...

"Problems worthy of attack
prove their worth
by hitting back." - Piet Hein

A kind of running diary and rambling pieces on my struggles with assorted books, classes, and other things, as they happen. You must be pretty bored to be reading this...

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Oh, and another thing.

My summer job officially rocks. I'm finally doing the kind of stuff that I've been reading about since I was ten years old.

I'm a typical, know-less-than-nothing undegrad, and yet through some spectacularly good luck, I'm actually working on a theoretical physics project. And I'm talking pen-and-paper work here, not being a code monkey. What's more, the specific project I'll be working on just as soon as I learn enough to understand it (like I said, I know nothing) is actually really interesting. It somehow manages to involve most of my self-study topics over the past two years, as well as hit most of the stuff I've been learning in the year I've been back in school.

AND I'm working with the professor who's the best teacher I've seen in the department. OMG.

I can't believe how lucky I am to be working on this stuff. Despite my generalized malaise about my further career prospects*, I really am quite cheery these days.

* - which may or may not be a bullshit thing - I don't really know how grad schools run admissions, or whether most will pulp my application on receipt based on GPA cutoffs. Maybe they'll be overwhelmed by my raw animal magnetism, which will somehow reach them even through a written medium, and immediatly offer me a full ride. Or maybe not.

Yeah!

Well, the semester's officially over, and I actually did well! I got an A- in my experimental physics class, mostly because I couldn't use a ruler to measure the length of a stick (!) in front of the professor on the lab final.

It feels nice to be able to whine about getting an A- in one class (oh noes), 'cause it used to be I'd be sighing mournfully at C's and worse. But hopefully I've now learned how to do well academically, and can keep it up. Sadly, my GPA will retain a certain eau-du-toilet fragrance no matter what I do, since my first two years sucked so much goat. My only real chance when I'm applying to grad schools will be to point and repeat over and over "look, look, upward trend!". Even so, I suspect my application will be passed around the admissions office, with "Check this out - hilarious!" post-its. Ah well. Such is life, and I think it's a good thing that people who actually demonstrate outstanding performance on a consistent basis have a much better shot at not being laughed at when looking for grad schools.

Happens to suck for me that GPA's important, but it's a pretty good system regardless. And anyway, I did well this semester, so I should be cheery. And I am, damn it.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

It's not easy being green.

Whoa. This thing is gonna fuckin' photosynthesize from now on!


Or not.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

You know, it's funny. Objectively speaking, field theory really shouldn't be any harder than group theory, at least at the undergrad level. And yet while I can handle field theory stuff, I have a far easier time with group theoretic things. For instance, since we're now covering Galois theory, I've found the homeworks to be radically easier and more pleasurable - it's stuff about groups again, normality, solvability, commutator subgroups, and so on.



Weird, no?