Sunday, October 31, 2010

Identity Crisis

Over the weekend I have been:

  • A pirate
  • A drunk
  • A cowboy
  • A fund-raiser
  • A willing volunteer
  • A cook
  • A zombie
  • Asleep.
I haven't been the vampire I planned to be on Saturday night, but these things happen. I also haven't been much like a dedicated physics student - but these things happen too. Besides, I get to be a student all the time.

Life would be much more interesting if dressing up were more acceptable on a more regular basis. There's a good chance you had a dressing-up box (or at least a dressing-kit) as a child. You were happier back then, weren't you? Let's go back to that.

Happy Hallowe'en.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


My Amazon recommended list under "Books":

-Concepts in Thermal Physics - Stephen J. Blundell

-A First Course in General Relativity - Bernard Schutz

-Introduction to Elementary Particles - David Griffiths

-An Introduction to Modern Cosmology, 2nd Edition - Andrew Liddle

-Schaum's Outline of Optics - Eugene Hecht

-Lectures on Quantum Mechanics - Paul A. M. Dirac

-'What Do You Care What Other People Think?': Further Adventures of a Curious Character - Richard P. Feynman

-The Pleasure of Finding Things Out - Richard P. Feynman

-The Character of Physical Law - Richard P. Feynman

-Atomic Physics - D. C. G. Jones

-The Meaning of it All - Richard P. Feynman

-Mathematical Techniques: An Introduction for the Engineering, Physical, and Mathematical Sciences - Dominic Jordan

-Introduction to Fourier Optics - Joseph W. Goodman

-Particle Physics - Brian Martin

-An Introduction to the Physics of Nuclei and Particles - Richard Dunlap

That isn't edited, that's just the first 15 books (i.e. the first page of recommendations) that comes up. I'm willing to accept that I may have a problem - but I dispute any suggestion that I have some kind of Feynman addiction. I only own the 2nd volume of his lectures and his Easy and Not so Easy Pieces (not including the rest of the lectures on audio-book, or the copy of Surely You Must be Joking Mr Feynman that I picked up for the physics society library)

I just ordered a physics text book from amazon - hence noticing my recommendations. Principles of Optics by Born and Wolf if you must know. I ordered it because it was recommended as being useful for my project (which is on solid state physics, not optics, but nevermind). I don't have a copy, the society's library doesn't have a copy, the main library has three - but the only one available for long-term loan won't be back 'til November and I've never been cruel enough to request books back. Ordering it was my only option.

That's how it happens.That's how you wind up in a situation where you have more books for your course than you have books of any other kind - including fiction. It starts by getting the main recommended text for each course. Next you pick up any other text mentioned more than once because "it might be useful to have alternative explanation." After that you'll buy anything recommended at all, provided you can find a copy for under £10. Before you know it you're acquiring books by accident and you're running out of shelf-space.

Add this to the fact that I'm acting as the society's librarian this term - giving me full and constant access to the library - and I'm still buying books, and you'll understand the gravity of the situation.

I am an addict. I am ready to admit that. At least it's not crack.