Why I Desire to Learn, and Hope to Innovate.

 

I recently watched a lecture, given by Lawrence Krauss at the 2014 NECSS. After his lecture he opened the floor to the audience for questions. One man asked him a question that I personally have tried to find a simple, straightforward answer to for a little over a year now. The question was more-or-less, “What do you think about schools encouraging science oriented students to go into fields such as business and finance?”

In summation, Krauss responded, “We, as a society, can not continue to function by just making money. We have to make things, and to make things requires science and engineering.”

About three years ago, my brother-in-law showed me, and others, Lawrence Krauss’ lecture entitled “A Universe from Nothing”, and it is one of my favorite lectures to this day. This hour-long presentation kindled a true sense of curiosity in my mind. However, not just an action-less thought about “what if?” or “how?”, but a real sense of curiosity driven by the use of knowledge and understanding about the universe we live in. It is the main reason, compounded with my desire to make good money in a career I respect and appreciate, that I have begun a long path in academia this year (January 2014).

While I have respect for many people in many fields, my passion lies in what we do not yet fully understand. The fact is that a day will come where Earth will no longer be able to support our species’ existence, and if we want to continue living beyond that time, we have to branch out into the cosmos. I am just as ignorant as anyone else about what that may require, and unfortunately, I realize that I will most likely never see the time humans colonize another spacial body other than Earth. However, the idea that I may be able to contribute, on a species-wide level, to our advancement is an amazing idea that I truly respect.

Do what you love. Love what you do.

Geoff//A Student

Watch the lecture: http://goo.gl/353PdD

A Spartan-bred Physicist?

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I attended a transfer student seminar at Michigan State University yesterday. After the presentation I had the opportunity to speak at-length with a senior academic advisor. He was incredibly helpful and beyond kind enough to talk with me for an hour about my current thoughts on my potential career path. I gained a lot of clarity through this great conversation as well as received a lot of food for thought. One example is that earning my Ph.D. in physics will likely be a 15 year experience split between classes and research.

Currently, MSU has the #1 rated Nuclear Physics program in the world which obviously adds to the quality of considering this institution for studies in any branch of physics. The idea of attending is captivating, but intimidating. Do I want to become a Spartan-bred physicist? I have much thinking to do.

Bohr’s Model of the Hydrogen Atom

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Today in my Chemistry class I learned a little bit about the Bohr model of a hydrogen atom. There is much to be said about this model, but I just want to touch on one thing that excited me greatly. Very simply put, an atom has a nucleus at its center, where one will find protons/nuetrons, and then the atom’s electrons orbit around this. According to Bohrhs model, the energy possessed by the electron in a hydrogen atom and the radius of its orbit are quantized which simply means they are fixed to a certain value and may never be between the two of those values. As the electron becomes excited (unstable), its energy level increases and can move to an orbit further away from its nucleus, and in return as it becomes less excited, it falls back towards the inner most orbit which is known as the ground state (lowest possible energy level) and gives off a photon (a particle of light). Now, the part that I find fascinating is that when the electron moves from orbit to orbit, due to the quantized nature, it never actually travels in between the orbits; it is simply in one, and then BAM, it is in another! This is called a quantum leap (jump). This is my first encounter with a real example of quantum mechanics. While a very simple example, it goes to show how weird the quantum world is. I am incredibly excited to learn more about it!

As always, if you find anything in need of correction just let me know! I am here to learn and share!

Reflections On My First Week Of College

Ok, so I officially wrapped up my first week of college! I know this is only week one, and that, looking ahead, it will only get more intense, but wow! What an eye-opening experience! Other than dipping into the social realm again, I find the general aura of school to be a positive influence on my attitude.

I am taking three classes this semester: Compositional Writing, College Algebra, and a basic Chemistry lecture course. Each has its merit, and rests along different intervals of my interest and enthusiasm. Being that I am in college to pursue a degree in Physics/Engineering, the Algebra course is an obvious necessity in my constantly developing arsenal of mathematics. The writing class has been a lot of fun! I think a regular writing schedule will help me in many ways. One of which will be learning how to write in a more technical style for later reports and research papers. My professor is incredibly nice, and seems to be genuinely interested in investing time into each of her student’s education. I find this both respectful, and relieving. My biggest fear was the thought of finding out one or more of my professors were poor in their instruction. I’m glad to say, this is definitely not the case. Although, in Algebra, the heavy use of an online environment has my eyebrow raised quite high. I am not opposed to using tools that may help, but I am not convinced of its merit yet either. I prefer pencil to paper time over typing information into modules on a faulty system. Why complain though? I am in college to learn. My third class, Chemistry! I am like a kid in this class! I am so fascinated with all things science these days that this class has me on the edge of my seat. Prof. Ruyi Qi, Ph.D. has been such a great teacher so far. She communicates the information in a manner that requires attention to detail, without letting it rise too far overhead. She is quite particular about details, but I find this to be necessary, and am therefore proud to meet the challenge. It has truly encouraged my scientific mentality in just a short week alone!

Homework, writing essays, memorizing elements… These have already become part of my daily schedule, and I see no signs of this letting up. I’m already finding my way to better study habits. I am discovering, first hand, that being prepared not only keeps me on track and schedule, but it also greatly enriches the learning experience!

All in all, I am having a great time in college so far. While I may need to revisit this write up in a few weeks to gain some positive perspective, I truly look forward to what lies ahead!

Oh yeah, I learned two new words this past week! (I’m not afraid to admit I don’t know everything haha!)

Nomenclature – the devising or choosing of names for things, especially in a science or other discipline.
Nascent – just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential.

#college #learn #science #algebra #writing #chemistry #expand #mind #education

As I prepare to begin my educational career, I reflect on a real blessing

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As I prepare to begin my educational career, I reflect on a real blessing

Back in August, 2013, I became the owner of a significant portion of a local Michigan scientist’s personal library. Prof. Jim Hamilton taught at the college I am to start attending on 1/13/14. Unfortunately, he passed away last year. Amongst the 100+ new adventures are some of his personal handbooks, study manuals, textbooks, research papers, and even a couple of sci-fi novels. These titles are, and will continue to play a roll in the furthering of my knowledge of our cosmos and the physical laws the govern it. I owe this blessing to a mind filled with wonder as well as Prof. Hamilton’s wonderful wife, Jean Hamilton, who opened a part of her life to two complete strangers (my wife, Ivy, and I). I am truly honored as well as blessed.