Study along with me as I live stream my journey from A-level physics and chemistry through to undergraduate level and beyond.
If I’m live say Hi in the chat, else follow me on Twitch to be notified when I’m next of online…
In 1997, I graduated with a degree in Physics, having also completed 2 years of undergraduate level Chemistry. Since then, I have worked for 18 years in aerospace engineering, in a role which I have enjoyed immensely, however, it has meant that I have not used much of the knowledge I learnt for my degree. There are not many opportunities to use Quantum Theory in Gas Turbine Performance Engineering. If fact I have used very little of what I learnt for my degree, and as a result I simply no longer possess the knowledge. Looking back at the time just before I obtained by degree results, if someone had said to me that by the age of 45 this would be the case, I would have probably laughed at them, so strong was my desire further my studies and become a professional physicist. Little did I know then, that my degree results weren’t the greatest and my hope of becoming a professional physicist indefinitely put on hold.
My desire now is to renew my knowledge and to catch up on the amazing advancements which has occurred in both fields in the time since I graduated, the discovery of the Higgs boson, detection of gravitational waves, quantum computing supremacy and imaging of an black hole event horizon to name a few. And when I’m done, if that can ever be said within such a field, perhaps to put this knowledge to use professionally, if the right opportunity arises.
To aid my studies I am developing a syllabus which will take me from A-level right through to undergraduate level. For Physics it will be based on three text books:
I will also, probably, work through some of the various open-source physics text book that are available
My Chemistry syllabus will be based on the following textbook:
I still have all of my undergraduate textbooks (both physics and chemistry), and some others I’ve acquired over the last couple of years. I also still have all of my university lecture notes. From these, and my books, I will develop an undergraduate syllabus to follow.
I will also be learning to proficiently use the linux command line, particularly, bash (shell scripting), vi/vim (text editor), tmux (terminal multiplexer), lynx (text based web browser), markdown and Pandoc. I’m finding that the command line is a very efficient interface and I’m beginning to find graphical interfaces annoying - when I have many ‘windows’ open, I simply get lost amongst them. So I wish to improve my use the linux command line. However, in that regard, I have already started. This very site was put together by using nothing but command line tools. All the text has been generated using markdown created in Vim, and Pandoc was used within a bash script to render the markdown files into html.
The better use of the linux command line naturally lends itself to coding. Each command typed can be made into code, through bash scripting. However, bash scripting is not the only language I intend to learn. So the stream will also be dedicated to learning the following, maybe not into much depth at first, but at least to get and good overview of each to the point where I can read each and get a fairly good gist of what’s going on.
Some will say that some of the above are not languages, however, I beg to differ, they all have syntax, and if they have syntax, then to mean they’re languages.
My plan is to live stream to this site (via twitch) while studying. Handwritten notes will be taken as I work through the textbooks (iPad pro, so no trees will be harmed during my re-eduction). All exercises will be attempted. Once I complete a section or chapter, I will create ‘typed up’ summary notes in markdown. These will then be found on this site’s sister sites, www.myphysicsnotes.com and www.mychemistrynotes.com. I will then perhaps write some code around what I’ve learned
However, the above won’t be all I do. It has been shown that the best study strategies require elements of self testing and what is called distributed practice. Its not clear to me what method of self testing would be best suited to me, however, whatever method I’ll use, it must be done. I must determine whether or not I know what I’ve studied! Distributed practice means re-visiting a topic several times over a long period. This means that I will not simply move through my syllabus and be done. Each area will be covered more than once, and I will be producing more material than that which will appear on my notes sites linked above.
In the UK an A-Level is most often studied over two years, and an undergraduate course (BSc) lasts three. Given how much time I’ll have to work on this I expect working through both A-level books will take 6 months to a year. The undergraduate books will take longer. Learning to code is a lifetime’s endeavour.
I will stream as often as I can. Right now, I haven’t decided upon my exact schedule other than being live from around 9:00pm Mon-Thurs, until I need sleep. This will be around 11 to 11:30pm. On weekend, again, I’ve not completely decided, however, it will more than likely be in the mornings, 9am until 12pm, and perhaps from 3 until 5pm. If I’m studying, I’ll be streaming…
However, Friday and Saturday nights are games nights, and I’ll take a break on a Sunday evening.
Catch up with my previous steams over on my previous live streams page. These will be host on youtube.
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