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A Day in the life of a Grad student August 30, 2006

Posted by gantech in External Links, Fun.
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This made my humour reading for the day !! Loved it to the core !!

 6:30       Wakeup and lie awake in Bed
6:31 Realize you spent $18 on last night's dinner,
means no eating out for the next 6 weeks
6:32 Hit snooze button. Go back to sleep.
7:00 Wake up suddenly with heart in mouth when you
realize you didn't hit the snooze button--you turned it off.
7:01 fall asleep again.
7:44 Wake up with heart in mouth again.
7:45 Ready to go to school, will shave tommorrow,
will eat early brunch at
(Denny's/Penny's/Lenny's/Dinko's whatever
8:03 Arrive at school
Realize your foreign officemate arrived earlier
today must have got more work done
8:04 Pass by Advisor's office, chat with Secretary to
find out if he is coming in today. He is, darn.
Need to start work on the draft due this afternoon.
8:15 Read electronic mail
8:20 Delete mail from students taking CMPSC201
regarding questions about the class.
Hate your TA job.
Depression: too much work to do today
9:00 For jumpstart: go to Pepsi machine.
9:05 Kick Pepsi machine; promise yourself to call up
the company and ask for your money back.
Wonder why they would beleive you.


 1:00       Group Meeting with advisor
1:14 sudden awareness of one's shallowness
resentment towards foriegn officemate for
sucking up to your advisor
Get reminded by your advisor that you need to do
some more work for your literature survey.
1:51 Advisor hands you the reddened copy of your
draft for corrections
1:51:02 The 49 second urge to murder advisor begins!!
1:51:52 Realize that he controls your
possiblity/graduation date/all job
opportunities/and the rest of your life.
1:52:53 Thank him
1:52:54 Thank yourself for not saying something
stupid to your advisor.
1:53:00 splitting headache #1
1:59 Check electronic mail, don't reply though, you are
too busy to do that
2:06 More generic cola
2:17 Oh No, it is my turn to cook tonite :-(
2:30 Sit through the class you were told to sit through
2:39 Look outside the window make unrealistic plans
to quit this degree program and take up a job.
Wonder why blonde girls are so pretty.
2:48 More perverted day-dreams.
Close the office door and open a few .gif files.
sharpen pencil
3:06 worry about never graduating
time to write a letter--NOT! no time for that.
rearrange desk
call up bank; see if you have any money
fear of losing aid next Fall
Read latex manuals to figure out how to put
&$%&% in %$^% format
3:43 watch the clock
make plans to do a all-nighter tonite
Vow to watch only 2 TV programs
4:58 Notice Advisor leave
4:58:01 Sudden sense of freedom
Go home for quick, short dinner break.
9:00pm Come into the office

Wow !! That was cool.. (uhh.. just hope that I don’t enter this attractor’s limit cycle.. )

thanks to Kmap for the link

Statcounter gives stats using Google Maps !! August 21, 2006

Posted by gantech in Something Interesting.
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This seems to be pretty cool !!


Now I already knew that so many junta were watching my website..but now..it feels nice to see it on a map.. that too a Google map !!

Quantum Mechanics – An Introduction by Julian Schwinger August 20, 2006

Posted by gantech in Books, Physics.

Suddenly (but not without reason) I decided to drop the course OOPS and take Quantum Mechanics by Arvind instead. I remember almost nothing of the first course in .. hold your breath.. Chemistry.. that I did on Quantum Mechanics. My discussions (actually rather than discussions.. it has nearly always been me asking questions and Aswin ending up giving a long lecture) with Aswin on theoretical physics (usually Cosmology.. but many times on other aspects of Physics too) have always enthused me to take some courses on basic theoretical physics. However this is the first concrete step that I am taking in that direction. I hope to do atleast 2 more .. Classical Mechanics and Statistical Physics before I complete my Dual Degree here.

Ok.. now coming to the subject matter of this blog.

The intro that I read in this book is easily one of the most coherent, simple and enlightening pieces of text that I have read. At the end of each para.. I would sit up exclaiming WOW !! and my mother would keep running in asking what happened ?? This was the situation at my home yest !! After reading it you really feel as if you’ve understood the whole of Quantum Mechanics, not to mention Quantum Field Theory and Quantum Electrodynamics. Of course I know I’ve not.. but you just feel so after reading it. I doubt if I would be able to read the book during the sem given my tight schedule. I would rather stick to Sakurai and Feynman and read this later.

 He starts off defining what is a “Causal” and “Deterministic” theory at the same time clearly differentiating between the two. Then he goes on to describe the two limiting cases of classical behaviour namely the Discrete and Continuous models and how they are unified. He then gives the example of the wave and particle nature of light to illustrate the above point.  Then he goes on to describe the “atomistic” and “statistical” nature of microscopic phenomena using the example of Atomic spectra for the atomistic nature and the classical electron beam interference experiment for the statistical nature. After describing the theory of Measurement, he goes on to say why we can’t measure the properties of an object at the microscopic scale without disturbing it because of the atomistic nature of things and why we can’t correct for those measurements because of the statistical nature of things. This piece was particularly cool !! Using the above arguments he goes on to describe Quantum Mechanics as a Causal but only Statistically Deterministic theory.

 After this I did not understand everything as I had understood what he had said so far. nevertheless.. I shall make an attempt to tell something. He starts off on Symmetry describing particles using wavefunctions, particle creation operator and how all these result in the creation of “Quantum Field Theory” unifying the two limits of Classical Physics models already described. Then he goes on to describe how developments in technology helped them create higher energies to study particle interactions which resulted in the field of “Quantum Electrodynamics”. Though the last particularly difficult to read, I really enjoyed reading a major part of the Intro. It will go a long way in making me ever more attentive in my Quantum Mechanics class and learning more about wonderful subject.

Browsing through his life history, you can find that Schwinger was an outright genius. His first physics paper was at 16 and his Ph.D at 21 with claims that he actually completed his thesis at 18 itself !! I can hardly wait to learn more about Quantum Mechanics to fully appreciate his achievements.

(btw does anybody know of this guy..apparently a 15 year old M.Tech student at the CSE dept in my insti.. working in Cryptography under Pandu I saw him on Times Now yest and want to know more about this rare specimen in my insti)

Feels nice to be back in the blogosphere after a long time. My first post after coming back to IITM.