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Old 08-30-2007, 08:44 AM   #1
Mosca
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Default Becoming a theoretical physicist in your spare time: a guide

By Gerard t'Hooft

The introduction:

"It so often happens that I receive mail - well-intended but totally useless - by amateur physicists who believe to have solved the world. They believe this, only because they understand totally nothing about the real way problems are solved in Modern Physics. If you really want to contribute to our theoretical understanding of physical laws - and it is an exciting experience if you succeed! - there are many things you need to know. First of all, be serious about it. All necessary science courses are taught at Universities, so, naturally, the first thing you should do is have yourself admitted at a University and absorb everything you can. But what if you are still young, at School, and before being admitted at a University, you have to endure the childish anecdotes that they call science there? What if you are older, and you are not at all looking forward to join those noisy crowds of young students ?

"It should be possible, these days, to collect all knowledge you need from the internet. Problem then is, there is so much junk on the internet. Is it possible to weed out those very rare pages that may really be of use? I know exactly what should be taught to the beginning student. The names and topics of the absolutely necessary lecture courses are easy to list, and this is what I have done below. It is my intention to search on the web where the really useful papers and books are, preferably downloadable as well. This way, the costs of becoming a theoretical physicist should not exceed much the price of a computer with internet connection, a printer, and lots of paper and pens. Unfortunately, I still have to recommend to buy text books as well, but it is harder to advise you here; perhaps in a future site. Let's first limit ourselves to the absolute minimum. The subjects listed below must be studied. Any omission will be punished: failure. Do get me right: you don't have to believe anything you read on faith - check it. Try alternative approaches, as many as you can. You will discover, time and again, that really what those guys did indeed was the smartest thing possible. Amazing. the best of the texts come with exercises. Do them. find out that you can understand everything. Try to reach the stage that you discover the numerous misprints, tiny mistakes as well as more important errors, and imagine how you would write those texts in a smarter way."


And then, he goes on to give all the resources available, online, so that if you want to, YOU TOO can become a theoretical physicist!
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