Monday, February 07, 2011

"So You Want To Be A Physicist" - Update 02/06/2011

I've added a new chapter on my ongoing "So You Want To Be A Physicist" essay, which you can link directly from here or from my blog roster of links.

The new chapter is Part VIIIa (basically an insertion between two Parts). It deals with a question that I've been asked or encountered quite a number of times, which is the possibility of someone with a different undergraduate degree, going into a graduate program in physics in the US. Of course, the answer is that it IS possible and has been done. However, this answer depends entirely on the nature of your undergraduate degree and the classes you took. Certain majors, such as engineering (electrical, material science, etc.) naturally have many overlaps with physics. So those with that group of majors do not have as high a mountain to climb as other non-technical majors who wish to purse an advanced degree in physics.

So in this part of the essay, I present what I think is a simple and concrete self-test that one can try oneself if one happens to be in that boat. It should give a clear answer on one's level of knowledge, if one needs to take remedial classes to get up to speed, or if one should make a more realistic decision on the pursuit of such a goal.

I continue to edit and try to improve this essay, so feedbacks are very welcomed. This latest addition was in response to comments from other readers, so I am definitely listening.



K.R.Brinton said...

Hi there,
I'm a 2nd year Physics undergrad, and I was looking into the book you suggested: "Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences" by Mary Boas (Wiley). I would really like to buy this book, but i've found 2nd and 3rd edition copies and I was wondering if it's important to have the newest 3rd ed. version of the book or if the 2nd ed. will do just fine. I ask because there's a significant price difference between the two editions, and I don't want to spend the extra money for the 3rd edition, unless it really matters. Does it?

Thanks! -Kelsey B.

ZapperZ said...

I shouldn't matter. I haven't seen the 3rd edition, but math is math. So the 2nd edition should have useful stuff in it that you will find beneficial.