Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Continuing Education

Courses continue in a sort of lackadaisical fashion (in terms of my participation, not necessarily the course information).

Classical Mechanics has gotten around to Orbital Mechanics as of today, so we could be seeing some cool stuff now. (Kepler's Laws out of the way.)

E/M Theory is just plain uninteresting. I don't think a single chapter topic has sparked an interest.

Applied Math is actually interesting right now. We're on Complex Analysis which is, a) surprisingly easy (considering the topic name) and b) sort of fascinating, the way it can be applied to the number work we're all used to seeing, but revealing a depth behind how things work which was pretty much hidden in all prior coursework.

I have registered for the next semester already - Thermal Physics and Modern Physics with Applications. One taught by prof unknown to me, the other by someone I have never had but respect based on my encounters with her to date.

Two other courses offered next semester (of the slim variety available) look interesting, but the most-intriguing of the two, Atmospheric Physics, is only offered Mondays from 7:20pm-10pm, which is not intriguing. The other, Physics of the Interstellar Medium, might work, though - it takes place immediately following my (current) last class of the day. I might see if I can get permission to sit in and listen to the lectures without actually signing up; I have no desire to receive credit for - or pay for - classes that are not necessary for me to graduate. I suppose that makes me somewhat of a leech, but I consider it more a pursuit of random knowledge - I would go broke very quickly if I paid for all the random information I access.

Second to last mid-term exam in a week (E/M). At least, I think it's the second to last. I know I have another Math exam (some day) and that I do not have another Mechanics exam (prior to finals). I am pretty certain this is the last "mid-term" for E/M as well. Bleh.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Beyond the Mid-Terms

Well, I am glad THAT week is over. All three exams passed. A+ in E/M, B in Math (highest grade in class, though - I don't know if he curves) and unknown in Mechanics. No idea how he's going to curve that test when most of us did so poorly. I did complain about the one problem, however (the only one I did very badly on) - while I am sure he fully desires us to have every equation from Physics I memorized, he has been teaching long enough that he should not expect it. Having to pull a friction equation out of my head (from Spring 99 - same teacher, coincidentally) without any warning that such would be needed was a bit of unnecessary stress during the exam. I am guessing that I am running about a B/B+ in that class, only because of the curve (my exam scores are lousy, but they are still better than the average).

After that, it was slacking for the long weekend (something I am way too good at) and then last-minute prep for Halloween. On the positive side, I finally got to see Comet Holmes through both my 16x70 binocs and my 8" SC telescope. Way cool. Too bad I did not get everything set up until after all the trick-or-treaters were done for the night!