Friday, August 20, 2010
You may have noticed I've been a bit quiet for the past week or so. Well, that was partly due to going home to Manchester for the weekend, and partly because I've finally started working on the literature review that's due in before I start my masters project in October. This will be the first bit of real research I've ever done, and will be a big change from the kind of follow-the-lab-script-and-do-an-experiment-you-already-know-the-answer-to lab work I've been used to in the previous years of my degree.
This is what physics looks like. Source.
And it turns out that physics is actually pretty hard. So far I've only read a thesis and some review papers, but not a lot of it is going in. Before I started I was feeling quite confident about the whole thing given that I've read proper research papers before (I do it all the time for my blog!) and, well, I actually quite like writing. But I've found that with these papers I can read the same paragraphs over and over again without realising, and I've come to the conclusion that there can only be one of two reasons for this. Either the whole of particle physics is completely made up and as a result everything I've read is nonsense, handily explaining why I don’t understand it, or, I'm really not cut out for this and should just quit now before anyone realises.
I've often thought that maybe all this stuff about penguin decays
and charmed particles
is just a huge joke the particle physics community are playing on undergraduates, but in reality I suspect that the second explanation is closer to the truth. Seeing as it's too late to quit now I should probably just get on with it and stop complaining.
So, with hope that everyone will tell me that this is a perfectly normal phase to be going through, I decided it'd be quite interesting to hear other people's stories of the first time they got to grips with some proper research as a student, or maybe any difficulties they encountered when starting a new project outside of their field... Or is it just me?