The Plan

Of course, being a mature student – maybe UCL won’t have room for me! In which case I will do my own study, maybe the CertHE in Physics and Maths at Birkbeck (gets me into a lab) and try again the following year.

Having studied physics before, I know how important it is to speak the language. Not the language of photons, momentum, Boltzmann etc. but the language of mathematics. Science is about modelling ‘reality’ and maths is the language these models are built upon. No matter how interested you are in the physics, you need to be fluent in maths to truly understand.

In the months leading up to college, I’m revisiting some of my old books: Working through a chapter every other day as a refresher. The books I’m using are:

·         Basic Mathematics for the Physical Sciences (R Lambourne, M Tinker)

·         Further Mathematics for the Physical Sciences (R Lambourne, M Tinker)

·         S207 The Physical World (Various Authors)

And when I say ‘working through…’ I don’t mean just reading. Practice! Practice makes perfect – so doing all the exercises, getting the old noodle fit and healthy again.

I’m also skimming through:

·          Engineering Mathematics (K.A. Stroud, D. J. Booth)

·          Advanced Engineering Mathematics  (K.A. Stroud, D. J. Booth)

·          Physics for Scientists and Engineers with Modern Physics (R.A.Serway)

as these are used on some of the courses at UCL: Always good to get ahead of the game.

If you’re interested in reading some astronomy then I would suggest these two:

·         Universe (R. Freedman, W.J. Kaufmann)

·          Introductory Astronomy and Astrophysics (S.A. Gregory, M. Zeilik)

My studying in the past has taught me one thing about time management and that is, get ahead! Its so easy to put things off until the last minute and then panic, not giving yourself the time to shine as you could. It’s so depressing when you do that – get ahead!! Particularly important for me, because I like to understand. It’s not enough to just memorise concepts and equations. I need to understand so I could work it out from first principles if I had to. I also tend to think too deeply about the meaning of things.

So Space-Time can be described as a metric. Great – but what is it? What is space-time? Is it just an abstract model or does it have a material reality? Can motion exist in a universe with only one object in it? Does space-time exist if there are no objects in a universe? What does it mean to exist!? What do we mean when we say we understand? We have a piece of jigsaw that fits into our existing model? What if our model is wrong?

I think too much at times 🙂

Another useful thing to do is to do well at the beginning of the course. That way when further into the course and times get tough (as they will) you can console yourself with the good results behind you and the lack of pressure as you are hopefully a bit ahead!

I hope I do get in. What a luxury, to spend most of my day thinking about the questions that bother me.

That’s the plan, anyway 🙂



~ by jamesdow2013 on February 23, 2013.

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