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comment by am_Unition
am_Unition  ·  388 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 12, 2019

He's a decade younger than me, folks, but in a similar career juncture. Short am_U stocks and invest in Devac. And then please send me a cut of those profits, because doing science ain't good for the monies, especially if you're at least ~50% worse than Devac.

Devac  ·  388 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Come on, man. What is this, some weird spin on impostor syndrome or something? There are better ways to start a day.

I can tell you this: after diving into plasma physics deep enough to get some sense of it, I am more than confident that I wouldn't be able to do your research. Not because I'm lousy with experiments, which I am, but because I couldn't even begin to develop this kind of intuition.

That said, I'd like to read your dissertation someday. If I'm half as smart as you claim, I might have something cogent to say about it after, like, a year.

kleinbl00  ·  388 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Those of us challenged by electron shells and tensor calculus appreciate the humility.

Having grown up amongst Nobel winners I can say with authority that the humble ones get invited to more parties. Look at Feynman - Physics was this thing he did for money while trying to figure out how to play better jazz and as a result the dude was a must call whenever you had so much as a case of beer. Then look at Teller - I mean, he was Edward Teller so you had to invite him but you hoped beyond hope that he didn't show up.

I'm honored to know you both. Go forth and do Great Things.

am_Unition  ·  385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You can develop an intuition for anything when you spend 2+ years looking at only that thing.

I'm very much looking forward to hearing about your research. Enjoy it, if you can :).

I think doing research in grad school is one of the most stable jobs out there. It's apparently relatively impossible to get fired, and yet everybody depends on your productivity. I think especially if you want a job in academia, that's the situation to really deliver results.

Oh, and I came across this article today, which might be summed up best with this quote from therein:

    I have spelled out many times, very clearly, what theoretical physicists should do differently. It’s just that they don’t like my answer. They should stop trying to solve problems that don’t exist. That a theory isn’t pretty is not a problem. Focus on mathematically well-defined problems, that’s what I am saying.

no mathematical formulation provided

the author actually works in bedrock physics theory, but attempts to insulate themselves from criticism by acknowledging that they haven't yet come up with a grand unifying theory and can't offer concrete advice regarding a direction to proceed from where we are now

OK so I'm only like 10% theorist, and that little op ed triggered me purdy bad. From a capitalist perspective, sure, financially re-purpose all of the relatively unproductive theory efforts into green tech development and fighting climate change, if you can. But damn, if it isn't some kinda statement on the times we live in that society begins to give up on "big picture" endeavors just because the complexity of the universe appears prohibitively yuge at this exact moment in human history.

Devac  ·  385 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    You can develop an intuition for anything when you spend 2+ years looking at only that thing.

You're probably right, but some things come easier than others. I'm less confident in my knowledge about the basics of mechanics of continuous media than general relativity, and the former is actually somewhat related to my specialization.

    I think doing research in grad school is one of the most stable jobs out there.

It remains to be seen. I'd like it to be true, but different countries, education systems etc. For sure, I'll write some "this is how PhD in Poland looks like" post in the future, but right now I only know things second-hand.

Regarding that article:

I can usually at least appreciate most of Hossenfelder's complaints (mathematical beauty != promising physics), but this particular piece is truly terrible. "Two women working in tandem won't give birth to a child in four months" is an almost too perfect rebuttal to those time calculations she brought up.

As far as 'mathematically well-defined problems' go, all I can do is to kinda smirk at that idea and ask how she defines well-defined problems. Seriously, where's the cutoff? What's the verdict on Navier-Stokes? Are ill-posed problems OK? What about ill-posed problems where unique solutions are only ensured by the arbitrary choice of norm? 'No' to any one of those means that fluid dynamics and phase transitions aren't physics. 'Yes' to either one of those opens the gates to all kinds of ST.

I could go on.

/rant, agreement otherwise.