At the beginning of 2014

Now it is 2014! However, it seems bad to me that I started the new year by breaking my girlfriend’s ultra-book on the first day. That is really not a good way to celebrate the beginning of the new year. Hope the rest of the year would go more smoothly.

I just realized that I have not posted anything on this blog for quite a long time. Meanwhile, the screen of my girlfriend’s water-damaged ultra-book was flashing fanatically. Maybe now it is a good time to review the past 2013 year:

  • Course Works:

    Indeed, I would say 2013 is not a bad year for me in terms of my performance in classes. The final grades for my classes are all pretty satisfactory. I have also taken several graduate level physics classes, ie. General Relativity in winter, grad QM and classical mechanics in fall. Though the grades for these classes are fine, I would admit that I actually have not learned much from these classes. Even though I did learn things from (basic stuff about differential geometry) GR, I have forgotten most of them by now.

  • Researches:

    Honestly, I did not do much work for professor York in 2013, especially during the fall quarter. There are two reasons for this. One is that the work seems boring and laborious to me now. The other reason is that I have got another research position from professor Privitera. So far, I have been working on the measurements of PMTs, which is not that interesting either. However, I hope that I would be able to work on some data analysis  or simulation stuff later on. In overall, it is a pleasant experience working with Paolo’s group. By the way, I am still looking for theoretical research work. So far, the progress is not satisfactory at all. I have talked to a bunch of people but got little positive response. Hope I would be able to find one eventually this year.

  • Life:

    The daily life is overall fine. I can not really recall anything too bad now. My girlfriend has finally come to the States and I am now spending the winter break with her. Other than this, there seems nothing worth mentioning.

  • Self-study:

    I think in year 2013 I have learned a lot of new things in math and physics by myself. During the summer, I relearned some basics about differential geometry, which gives me a more solid grasp on the topic. Also, I am now studying basic quantum field theory from Greiner’s book “Field Quantization”. The book is truly great and I would recommend everyone who has interest in learning QFT to read it. But I have to admit that my progress is much slower than I expected.

The above is basically my summary for the year 2013. Now here is some of my goals and hopes for the year 2014:

  • Get nice grades for classes.
  • Learn more QFT and get better with it.
  • Find a theoretical research position.
  • Get nice scores on GREs.
  • Learn more coding.

Finally, good luck on graduate school applications. Wish you all and myself a great new year.

From Griffiths to Peskin: a lit review for beginners


A nice guide. I am currently following it.

Originally posted on An American Physics Student in England:

a.k.a. “How to get started learning QFT as an undergraduate.”

5 Jan 07: Slight updates (added more details) to a few of the reviews, and an added caveat.

Quantum Field Theory (QFT) plays a key role in all branches of theoretical physics. For students interested in high energy theory, exposure to QFT at any early stage is slowly becoming the standard for top American graduate schools. This is already the case for the Mathematics Tripos at Cambridge.

However, the ‘standard’ American undergraduate physics curriculum doesn’t typically encourage Quantum Field Theory, nor do smaller liberal arts college regularly offer QFT courses. It is often expected that a student will take a second year of ‘graduate’ quantum mechanics before taking QFT.

An inspired student with adequate background should be able to take quantum mechanics in his/her second or third year and then progress directly to a ‘real’ QFT course with a bit…

View original 3,430 more words

A reflection on my study of physics

大学生涯转眼已过两年,观吾物理学习之路,感慨颇多。近日遍寻研究而不得,可谓一憾,自以为与蒋爷当年的差距越来越大,复其之路似无望。不过正因如此,我要走出自己的道路,为自己的theoretical physics之梦而努力。可回顾这两年来物理的学习,颇感不得其法。虽成绩尚可,可是自感学习过程只是机械式的读书,未有太多自己的思考。常自省这点,可是需所学之theory甚多,而无所见至今只是当代物理之皮毛,便只得囫囵吞枣的看书以求知道个一二。恐如此这般,并非是学物理之正道。希望今乘暑假之良机,可调整心态,得习物理之法门。