How to become a Theoretical Physicist – Part 3


Work Hard in College

One really needs an excellent (not just good or great, I mean excellent) GPA to get into a reputable international grad school. It is not just helpful, but absolutely essential to target a perfect 4.0 if one plans to move up about  a thousand places in the rankings and get admitted to grad schools like MIT or Stanford. One needs recommendation letters that say things like, “He’s the best student I have ever seen.”

If your undergraduate degree was not obtained from a top-ranked college, it is necessary to convince highly ranked graduate schools that the university you got your undergraduate degree from was way, way too easy for you. Doing this is only possible if you have consistently outstanding grades.

Don’t Waste Time doing Extra-curricular Activities

Unless they include research in a field related to your major with a professor or at a research lab, I don’t think extra-curricular activities increase your chances of getting into a good graduate school. In other words, if you want are applying for a doctorate in physics, having been part of model united nations clubs or religio-political student associations in your undergrad years won’t really help you much.

On top of that, taking part in an unnecessarily large amount of extra curricular activities can make students lose focus in their studies, resulting in lower GPAs.

Once Again, The Internet is Your Friend

I listed several helpful educational resources on the internet in my previous posts. Here are some more:

Ask Other Physicists

The biggest advantage of having an internet connection and access to science-related forums like the one I mentioned above is that you can discuss your problems with physicists around the world and listen to their advice. Often it turns out that they have been through similar problems and/or know a good solution.

Question Yourself

Ask yourself why you want to become a physicist in the first place. If it is for fame or money, then I don’t think physics is the right career for you. At any rate, I don’t think that’s the right attitude. Get a PhD in Physics only if you are genuinely passionate about it and want to make your own contribution to human knowledge and know more about the world.

Also, get rid of your ego. You don’t have to be right all the time. Sometimes it is far more noble to accept your mistakes, learn from them and move forward. That’s what science is all about.


Research Paper: A Simplified Mathematical Model of The Effects of Different Levels of Nitrogen on…


Author: Muhammad Ahmad Tirmazi

Date: December 26, 2013

Download PDF: link

Note: If anyone is a registered endorser for Math.GM on Arxiv, I would appreciate it if he or she endorses my paper.

Pakistan: Science and Research

Pakistan’s contributions to science are embarrassingly few compared to countries like, say, Japan or Germany or even Korea. However, recently I found out that our scientific research infrastructure isn’t as horrible as I expected. In other words: believe it or not, we have actually done something as a nation other than producing nukes and terrorists. In fact, unless Mian Sahab and the other idiots in the PMLN end up politicizing, corrupting and/or decreasing the funding of the few educational organisations and research institutes we have, I think Pakistan might actually produce a few Nobel laureates in the next few decades.

Why do I say these things? Well, I’ve found some things I didn’t know about earlier.

National Center for Physics

Chairman PAEC with DG CERN

Yes, incredible as it might seem, we actually have a National Center for Physics; and yes, they actually do something besides hogging the tax-payer money. There’s also a Joint CERN-Pakistan Committee. In addition, if the Tinday Baradraan don’t mess things up as I said earlier, Pakistan might even become an associate-member of CERN soon (see here and here), not to mention the 42 Pakistani physicists working at CERN.

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission


Yes, the same highly-classified department that created and maintains the nukes. The very same war-mongering, budget-draining, international-reputation-ruining, sanction-inducing, economy-ruining, inflation-causing monster all us Pakistani leftists love to despise. People will hate me for saying this but I think it actually gave a (very) slight amount of benefit to the country. No, I’m not trying to give excuses for all the problems it has caused. I know the incredibly high amount of money the government wastes on the PAEC can be used for health, education, homeland security, development and poverty alleviation.

Love it or hate it, however, one can’t deny the PAEC’s role in the scientific and technological advancement of the country, Besides, compared to all the other unnecessary stuff done with the defence budget, I think this might actually be seen as productive. At least it helps generate a bit of electricity via nuclear power stations. Not to mention its research contributions and collaboration with CERN.

The Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH), which is part of PAEC’s domain, is the most advanced research institute in the country. It has three nuclear reactors and a particle accelerator (yes, they actually have a particle accelerator!).  I couldn’t find any picture of PINSTECH online, probably because of all the ‘top-secret highly-classified’ aura that surrounds it.

Jinnah Antarctic Station


It turns out Pakistan is one of the few countries that has a research station in Antarctica, and the majority of us Pakistanis don’t even know about it. Pakistan is also an associate member of Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).

Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission


To be frank, SUPARCO hasn’t really done much since its establishment in 1961, except for launching a few satellites (Badr-1Badr-2 and PakSat-1) and create a satellite ground-station. This is mainly due to the embarrassingly low budget it gets (a miserly $75.1 million, only about 0.004% of NASA’s prodigious $18.724 billion). But hey, we have a space program! that’s still something, right? And it might even do something significant in the future if the government decides to spend some money on actual scientific research instead of topping up the nuclear arsenal.

On a side note…

Abdus Salam


All of the organisations I listed were directly or indirectly established by this legendary man. He was the first chairman of SUPARCO in 1961 and envisioned a great future for the program. Truly a great Pakistani.

Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb

eating_grassThis new book written by Brigadier General (retd.) Feroz Khan gives a complete account of Pakistan’s journey to becoming a nuclear power. The title alludes to Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s famous quote:

we will eat grasseven go hungry, but we will get one of our own (atomic bomb).