Becoming A Theoretical Physicist – Phase 2

sagan

One of the biggest challenges I have faced is to keep myself motivated and interested. I try to keep myself involved in ‘sciency’ stuff to prevent the (very improbable) chances of me giving up all together and start studying something like business or worse… the humanities. Oh, the humanity! (Get it? Lame joke, I know. My sense of humor is non-existent)

Watch COSMOS

The biggest problem I am encountering is lack of motivation and the tendency to procrastinate. COSMOS comes in handy whenever morale gets dangerously low. Seriously, it’s the best television series ever. I’ve watched all thirteen parts COSMOS: A Personal Voyage thrice. For now, I’ve only watched one part of COSMOS: A Space-Time Odyssey. I try to catch the show on the National Geographic Channel whenever possible.

The Internet is your Friend

khan_academy

There are lots of awesome channels on Youtube that keep me interested and up-to-date on science related stuff. The ones I watch regularly are:

  • Sci Show
  • VSauce
  • The PBS Idea Channel
  • Minute Physics
  • Minute Earth
  • Sixty Symbols
  • Numberphile
  • Computerphile
  • CGP Grey
  • MentalFloss
  • Vihart

On top of that there are also channels and websites that actually help me (and a lot) in understanding the stuff I self-learn. Two of my favourite are:

Social Media is Your Enemy

Facebook is the biggest waste of time humanity has heard of. I once watched a TED Conference by some electronic (or telecommunication) engineer where the growing innovation in Africa was discussed. In the middle of it, the guy said something like,

So…why is most of the innovation now happening in Africa? Because the rest of the world is busy checking their facebook.

I agree with him completely. Twitter’s even worse.

Social Media is also Your Friend

Okay. Believe it or not, I found out a neat way to convert both Facebook and Twitter from the irrational and illogical overly argumentative hatred-inciting intolerant lunatic asylums they are to significantly more informative and educational (yes, educational!) places. Here’s what I did.

Facebook: Unliked all religio-political, nationalistic, meme-ridden, humorous, sports-related and miscellaneous nonsensical pages and left out only strictly scientific and informative pages. Some nice ones I left out include:

  • From Quarks to Quasars
  • I F***ing Love Science
  • Our Place in the Cosmos
  • Bill Nye – The Science Guy

Next, I un-followed most of the overly political or religious people in my friend list along with all the people who tended to share a lot of time-wasting stuff like cliched jokes and memes and people I didn’t really care that much about. (I didn’t unfriend them, just un-followed them. This way I can avoid seeing their posts in my news feed and yet not declare social warfare against them).

Twitter: Followed a similar procedure. Un-followed most people, leaving out only people who gave educational, informative or inspirational tweets. Some of the people I still follow include Neil de-Grasse Tyson, Dr. James Grime, Numberphile, CarlSaganQuoted, ThisDayinMath etc.

Avoid Sports and News like the Plague

Another redundant waste of time. I tried a bunch of rehab tactics to reduce my cricket-watching addition. First, I cut out watching all the preliminary matches. Waste of time. If there’s a big competition, I don’t start keeping track of the Pakistani team until it reaches the semi-finals (it almost always reaches the semi-finals because we’re awesome).

Next, I don’t watch the first half/innings/whatever-it’s-called anymore. Most of the stuff gets done in the second half anyway. If it’s a fifty over match, I only watch the first ten and the last ten overs. That’s when all the boundaries are usually made. The rest is just mindless running between the wickets. In T20s, I only watch the last 5-6 overs. Also, if it looks like Pakistan’s losing, I just leave. No point watching the rest of the game. Even if, by some chance, Pakistan manages to win, someone will tell me anyway.

I don’t watch news, like, at all. My main sources of news and international political analyses are passing conversations with my mother, and I usually forget most of it by the end of the hour. Life is exponentially happier when one is socially irresponsible, unaware of contemporary global issues and completely unpatriotic.

Read Science-Fiction

I like Science Fiction. Some of my favourites are:

  • Contact by Carl Sagan
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • The Time Machine by H G Wells
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

Write Blog Posts about Physics

Like this one.

 

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