nanodash

Anonymous asked:

What advice do you have for younger girls (high school aged) looking to have careers in scientific fields like theoretical physics and astrophysics in their futures? Thanks!

nanodash answered:

Firstly: Doooo it! Do it do it do it and don’t let anyone stop you.

Secondly: Take as many physics classes as are available to you. And Chemistry and Biology too because cross-disciplinary study is a vast and interesting field right now. This advice goes for all genders, btw. You want to find out if this is something you are truly interested in studying full-time. High school physics and college physics are handled differently, but learning the material can give you an idea of whether or not you want to do a degree in the sciences or be an enthusiast in your free time. Both are cool.

Thirdly: And this is the advice specifically for girls*. You might come up against some adversity. I cannot fathom why but there are certain people out there who think girls are not suited to science. For reasons best known only to themselves. They are wrong.

Some people are not suited to studying science. They might not have the required mix of curiosity/creativity/logical thinking that all good scientists have. But the people who are not suited and the genitals they have are in no way correlated. The only constraint comes from society. Now there is a huge amount of history and (un)reasoning surrounding why society seems to discourage women from entering STEM (and most especially Physics) careers that we could literally devote an entire sister blog to just discussing and debunking these issues. But for now lets just say that anything anyone could say to you is either not true or not necessarily applicable to you. You know yourself best. So don’t let the nay-sayers bring you down.

Fourth and finally: Back to general advice; something that every person I have ever known who is studying anything in the sciences, my whole Physics class, my whole Theoretical Physics class, all my Post grad colleagues, has been asked is “Oh! And what are you going to do with that?” usually followed by the prompt “Teach?”. I recently advise someone that the correct answer to such a stupid question is “Whatever I want to.”

Take it one step at a time. 

That is my overarching advice. For now you should take some classes and read pop science books like Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman, etc. Next you get into college and major in whatever science strikes your fancy most *cough* Physics *cough*. Then you see about postgraduate opportunities then jobs then careers.

And don’t sweat it. You might find yourself at some point, for whatever reason, not doing science. But whatever you are doing, you can bring that natural spark and whatever level of scientific education you have to it and enhance what you are doing. Ask Alfred Hitchcock, Bill Nye, Lisa Kudrow, Mayim Bialik, Rowan Atkinson, Cindy Crawford, Natalie Portman, etc, etc, and so forth.

I hope this is helpful and I am sorry that it does not have any pictures. 

*or, you know, other genders that are facing adversity when it comes to their dream of studying or having a career in science. The fuck do I know about your life?

subatomicuniverse
I was an ordinary person
who studied hard.

Richard Feynman, theoretical physicist, d. 1988 (via whats-out-there)

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Context:

"You ask me if an ordinary person could ever get to be able to imagine these things like I imagine them. Of course! I was an ordinary person who studied hard. There are no miracle people. It happens they get interested in this thing and they learn all this stuff, but they’re just people. There’s no talent, no special ability to understand quantum mechanics, or to imagine electromagnetic fields, that comes without practice and reading and learning and study. I was not born understanding quantum mechanics — I still don’t understand quantum mechanics! I was born not knowing things were made out of atoms, and not being able to visualize, therefore, when I saw the bottle of milk that I was sucking, that it was a dynamic bunch of balls bouncing around. I had to learn that just like anybody else. So if you take an ordinary person who is willing to devote a great deal of time and work and thinking and mathematics, then he’s become a scientist!”

••••••

True of art, as well.

—›

 “Just swim in your own lane,” he said. Seeing my confusion, he told me that he had been on the swimming team at Stanford. His stroke was as good as anyone’s. But he kept coming in second. “Zeller,” the coach said, “your problem is you keep looking around to see how the other guys are doing. Keep your eyes on your own lane, swim your fastest and you’ll win.”
Eileen Pollack

—›

 “Just swim in your own lane,” he said. Seeing my confusion, he told me that he had been on the swimming team at Stanford. His stroke was as good as anyone’s. But he kept coming in second. “Zeller,” the coach said, “your problem is you keep looking around to see how the other guys are doing. Keep your eyes on your own lane, swim your fastest and you’ll win.

Eileen Pollack

In addition, she said, her colleagues need to recognize the potential of women who discover a passion for science relatively late. Studies show that an early interest in science doesn’t correlate with ability. You can be a science nut from infancy and not grow up to be good at research … or you can come to science very late and turn out to be a whiz.
fuckyeahexistentialism
The history of philosophy has always been the agent of power in philosophy, and even in thought. It has played the repressor’s role: how can you think without having read Plato, Descartes, Kant and Heidegger and so-and-so’s book on them? A formidable school of intimidation which manufactures specialists in thought—but which makes those who stay outside conform all the more to this specialism which they despise. An image of thought called philosophy has been formed historically and it stops people from thinking.
Deleuze, ‘Dialogues’ (via aidsnegligee)
wildcat2030
Whenever philosophical education lapses into learning facts about history and texts, regurgitating an instructor’s views, or learning from a textbook, it moves away from its Socratic roots in conversation. Then it becomes so much the worse for philosophy and for the students on the receiving end of what the radical educationalist Paolo Freire referred to pejoratively in Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970) as the ‘banking’ of knowledge. The point of philosophy is not to have a range of facts at your disposal, though that might be useful, nor to become a walking Wikipedia or ambulant data bank: rather, it is to develop the skills and sensitivity to be able to argue about some of the most significant questions we can ask ourselves, questions about reality and appearance, life and death, god and society. As Plato’s Socrates tells us, ‘These are not trivial questions we are discussing here, we are discussing how to live.’
astronomnomy

Seven tips for (Physics) Freshers: Things to Keep in Mind As You Begin Your Journey

astronomnomy:

Congratulations for picking a really fun and satisfying subject to study! As someone who’s been through it all already (MSci Theo Phys and am in the midst of an Astro PhD) I thought, in honour of the first day of term, I would impart some old-people wisdom for those just starting their first classes - mistakes I made so you don’t have to…

Read More

Artists, designers, art students, and other people who can’t figure out how to do what you love what’s important:

Stop hitting yourself, why do you keep hitting yourself?

James Victore answers:

Q: I work at a job doing design I hate, I can never seem to find time to do the work I want to do, and I am constantly frustrated with myself. I wasn’t able to go to a great art program because of financial reasons so my BA was wasted. I don’t know what to do. I want to quit my job to become an amazing motion graphics designer but I’m scared. I’m in LA and it’s expensive and I don’t have anyone to fall back on. I have some money saved, but still I’m scared. I’m 26 and I see my thirties just ahead. I want to do what I love, not just waste time.


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Victore can be a little intense sometimes. (Especially when I think of people who can’t make a decision so easily — for example, say, immigrant mothers who have to think of their children before throwing caution to the wind and doing what they love. But that’s a question of What do you love more?)

But there are great things to take away from this video, regardless of your career. A few:

  1. Again, figure out what’s most important. Right now? In the future? Pursue that. Protect and secure that. (Victore doesn’t explicitly say this.)

  2. Be kind to your future self. Save $$. Set up your path. It might change, but at least you have some kind of foundation. Save your health, too.

  3. Everybody’s afraid. For me, the question is, But what’s scarier? Think about living in your current circumstances for the rest of your life. If it doesn’t make your skin crawl, then do nothing.

    I graduated with an art degree 2 years ago. I’m now about to go back to school for something that’s A. one of the most difficult things one can do and B. going to take me at least 10 years to complete. I’ll likely be well into my 30’s before I get where I want to be, older than most of the youngsters in Grad programs, and less of a genius than most of them. That’s scary. What about money? What if I fail — how embarrassing. But the thought of not trying is even worse.

  4. Do not leave your education up to other people. It’s up to you to work hard, get scholarships, take the best classes, take extra classes, learn online, etc. etc. etc.

    All my life, whenever I did something other than what people thought I was good at, I got asked the same question: “Why would you choose a photography concentration?” “Why aren’t you an illustration major if you’re so good at it?” “What does that class have to do with art?” “How come you haven’t done any art in a while?”

    Same answer to all: To learn something new. To invest time in something I’m not good at, rather than remaining comfortable and not failing at something I am. Because in the end, that gives me a stronger foundation, more ways of seeing the world, and thus more nodes to connect and build into something that never could’ve existed had I tunneled through on the fast track. Synergy.

  5. You’ll probably “waste” some time. Bite it and work hard. Notice how “10 years” looks like nothing in a biography, but feels like a century when it’s ahead of you?

    Recently, some strangers commented on a photo and caption of “me”: a nameless, context-less image. They said things like “her parents are obviously rich” and my favorite, “I’m envious that she can just do whatever she wants, and never had to work for a few years to support herself” etc. Wow. What a load of bullshit. Few people are that lucky — don’t let glossy success stories allow you to think otherwise. SEE ALSO.

    Victore wouldn’t say this, but sometimes you have to do something you don’t like for some time (work, school, even sell out), to secure a foundation for yourself. Understand this. You can complain, but deep down, understand what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and have a plan of action.


TL;DR: Happiness doesn’t mean feeling good or smiling all the time.

GoldieBlox: an engineering toy for girls little humans who are OK with pastel colors.

Less than a year ago, Debbie Sterling’s concept of a toy that would teach engineering skills to little girls was nothing more than a prototype on Kickstarter.
Today, GoldieBlox holds the distinction as one of Amazon’s top 100 toys (top 20 as of this writing). The toy, which teaches engineering skills through the adventures of kid inventor Goldie, is available in 600 Toys “R” Us stores, and 400 other toy stores nationwide. 
But it’s not the sales that make Sterling proudest. Instead, it’s the messages from the parents that pour in every day. Stories about little girls that sing songs about building and engineering, or are inspired to build their own toys after playing with GoldieBlox.

GoldieBlox: an engineering toy for girls little humans who are OK with pastel colors.

Less than a year ago, Debbie Sterling’s concept of a toy that would teach engineering skills to little girls was nothing more than a prototype on Kickstarter.

Today, GoldieBlox holds the distinction as one of Amazon’s top 100 toys (top 20 as of this writing). The toy, which teaches engineering skills through the adventures of kid inventor Goldie, is available in 600 Toys “R” Us stores, and 400 other toy stores nationwide. 

But it’s not the sales that make Sterling proudest. Instead, it’s the messages from the parents that pour in every day. Stories about little girls that sing songs about building and engineering, or are inspired to build their own toys after playing with GoldieBlox.

So the problem with word problems is that no-one *really* cares *exactly* how long it takes a bath to overflow - certainly not enough to do complicated algebra.

The problem with relevance is that, let’s face it, this unit is a stepping stone to more advanced mathematics and actually is *not* really relevant in peoples everyday lives.

So … don’t make it relevant: make it interesting. Theme a lesson or two on (for example) a space mission. … Then you can include all the contrived questions you want, and it won’t matter. Why not?

I: Everybody knows that for astronauts - unlike for baths - accuracy matters

II: It might not be relevant to them, but at least they might accept that *somebody* does this stuff

&III: Dealing with space … might actually take their mind off the whole maths thing.

Alex, on Rational Expressions & Equations — Lesson Plan

••••••

Exactly. Alex, (whoever you are) thank you.

MIT edX: Classical Mechanics with Walter Lewin

8.01x is an online version of Classical Mechanics, which is the first of MIT’s introductory physics courses. In addition to the basic concepts of Newtonian mechanics, fluid mechanics, and kinetic gas theory, a variety of other interesting topics are covered, such as resonance phenomena, musical instruments, astronomical phenomena such as binary stars, neutron stars, black holes, stellar collapse, and supernovae. You will also be given a peek into the intriguing world of quantum mechanics.

Starts Sept. 9, 2013.
Register —›

MIT edX: Classical Mechanics with Walter Lewin

8.01x is an online version of Classical Mechanics, which is the first of MIT’s introductory physics courses. In addition to the basic concepts of Newtonian mechanics, fluid mechanics, and kinetic gas theory, a variety of other interesting topics are covered, such as resonance phenomena, musical instruments, astronomical phenomena such as binary stars, neutron stars, black holes, stellar collapse, and supernovae. You will also be given a peek into the intriguing world of quantum mechanics.

Starts Sept. 9, 2013.

Register —›

katisque

dazegetbrighter:

what if rocks are actually soft but just tense up when we touch them?

••••••

I haven’t looked at my dash in a while; I love that this was at the top upon logging in.

It may just be somebody’s “silly” question, and yet it reminds me so much of the questions central to quantum physics — important questions about the most basic elements (that we know of to date) that constitute our being.

Wonderful.