A long calculation is like …
Scientists (especially physicists) who speak to a general audience about their field usually have a back of handy analogies to help explain otherwise difficult concepts*. On a more basic level, the ability to make connections between a poorly understood idea and a well-understood idea is a key skill for those working in theoretical sciences. Anyway, I mention this because I had a good laugh yesterday talking to some of my fellow Part III students (somewhat paraphrased):
Student 1: I really like doing long calculations. For me, a long calculation is like playing a computer game.
Student 2: Geez, what kind of computer games have you been playing? Mine Sweeper?
Student 3: The kind of computer game where you have to start over again several times.
(Student 1 later suggested that what he meant was that a long calculation is like jogging—it’s somewhat tedious and exhausting, but you’re better off for doing it and it makes you feel good.)
* – My favourite popular physics analogy is reproduced here: The Higgs Mechanism.
** – There was a comment that I hadn’t posted in a while… I apologize! However, I also suggest using an RSS reader (like Google Reader) to organize blog feeds. This way one doesn’t have to actually visit several blog websites manually looking for new posts. The RSS feed will ‘deliver’ new posts to your doorstop. (Ah, another analogy.)
Filed under: Just for Fun, Student Life | 6 Comments