Thursday, May 26, 2016

Quite an experience!

I have a complicated relationship with math. I remember elementary school, when I was pretty bad at it - that time in fifth grade when I, for some reason, didn't study for the exam and couldn't remember divisibility tests or prime factorization, and ended up flunking that test. Ouch. While it never got that low again, it wasn't a joyous ride after that either. I remember the utter confusion I faced in those difficult years of JEE prep, when I found myself to be bad at everything but Chemistry, and I had to choose between Math and Physics - I chose Math.

Oh, how the tables have turned since college. Of course, college math, with a heavy focus on calculus, is different from high school math. And college chemistry is in a league of its own! I found that from hating Physics and reluctantly embracing Math, I came to love Physics and Math in equal measure (and strongly dislike Chemistry!). Last semester, when I took ME 412, this strange reversal came to full bloom - while the Physics was challenging but interesting, the Math was astonishingly simple, at a pre-calculus level even. It might sound funny that we could solve complex physical problems without calculus, but at the very edge of human knowledge, it is often the simplest of things that helps us find our way - what is sometimes called 'from first principles'.

And thus I embark on several years more of computational studies, where Physics is well-known if difficult to understand, and the challenge is finding a solution to it. From being frightened of Math and Physics, I'm all set to embrace a career in it (along with a bit of computer science). 

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