Monday, October 26, 2009

Grad School Update

So it has been almost 2 months since I have posted anything. Not surprisingly the sharp decline in my blogging frequency corresponds almost exactly with the time that I began my graduate education in physics. I now have an office in the physics building. Ostensibly I share that office with 3 other people Mark, Rhett, and Tek. Of those three though I have only ever encountered Mark in the office. Even Mark I encounter infrequently so that even though I must share my office it often serves the purpose of an entirely private office. Having started my graduate education it is strongly advised that I attach myself to a research group as quickly as possible. In grad school my classes are going to only begin the story the thing that will primarily characterize my experience in grad school will be my research. So this is a very important decision. While the situation is actually more complicated I will simplify by saying that what I really want to do is particle physics. But there are basically only two professors here which do particle physics DeTarr and Wu. Both are good but both are also towards the end of their careers enough that they may not be taking on anymore students. As is the usual for my way of handling things I have yet to talk to anyone about joining their research group. I keep putting it on my list of things to do but I don't tend to do the things on my list of things to do unless there is a ready punishment for not doing them. Since I could perfectly well allowably not join a research group until sometime during my second year all I am doing by not joining now is costing myself time with the group and time when I could have access to a ready source of support, guidance, and recommendations. That is not to mention access to all sorts of awesome physics goodies like huge telescope arrays and teraquads of data and super computers to crunch it with. There are a couple of professors which are going to be coming to the U in the next year or so and I could become a student of theirs but in the mean time even if I plan on switching professors later on I should attach myself to some research group now.

Other than that graduate school has been rather like my undergraduate education with the one very very important modification that my finances are significantly better. My classes right now are not terribly hard as they are for the most part review and deepening of the more advanced undergraduate courses that I took. Rather ironically I am doing better in the electrodynamics course (a weak point in my undergraduate education) than I am in the math methods class (when you consider that I have an undergraduate degree in math I would say that qualifies it for being a "strong point") I rather hope the lack of high performance in the math methods class is an aberration but time will tell.

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