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joseph h
  • Member for 3 years, 4 months
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About

Graduate of a major Australian University, 1999 PhD. Theoretical Physics (High Energy Physics).

Did do postdoctoral research and taught undergrad Uni Physics, but only for a few years (though every now and then I'll casually teach a class of first year physics to make some extra $$$), then chose a career in Information Technology which I found very interesting as early as my undergrad years. Using Unix and studying computational physics/physical modelling in years 2-3, gave me a strong leaning toward coding, sparking interests in software engineering, systems programming, network programming and engineering and design, which are some of the things I do or have done.

Almost a twenty year no-contact with advanced physics and research but started posting answers to questions on PSE in August 2020 and realized that how much I needed to recall was staggering. Most obvious was when I was going to answer a question about GR but first commented on an answer where I claimed that it is misleading or "wrong" to write the line element in Minkowski space as $$ds^2=\eta_{\mu\nu}dx^\mu dx^\nu $$ and that it should be $$ds^2=\sum_\mu\sum_\nu\eta_{\mu\nu}dx^\mu dx^\nu $$ to which the reply from more than one member was "repeated indices mean summation is implied!"

Of course, it was disheartening and embarrassing, and recalling the words "Einstein summation convention" rung a bell, though barely!

This quote gives me motivation:

"One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day."

Albert Einstein.

It's humbling to realize that we can never be as sharp as we once were, though the wisdom acquired is just as valuable. I can understand now what my PhD supervisor and other professors were on about when they would tell us how we should be going about research. Yes, our mathematical prowess was more pronounced, but it turns out that certain physical concepts require a deeper understanding of physical reality, that can only be acquired through decades of experience. They could see, without doing advanced math or calling on the experimentalists, that certain avenues of research would be fruitful and the others, not so.

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