Join TSR now and get all your revision questions answeredSign up now

What can I do from now on to achieve my dream of becoming a physicist? Watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I'm feeling pretty low at the moment. Every time I get really excited about thinking about higher education in physics, there's always something there to make me feel like I'm just not good enough or cut out to study it. I want to do physics because I love it so much. I love maths too. I'm good at them both I guess but as of right now I'm 15 and in year 10. My only grasp of them both is at a gcse level... and not even year 11 stuff... and this makes me feel ridiculous because when you're passionate about something you are supposed to be very advanced in it, right? For physics I probably am a little advanced as I recently bought a self teaching guide to fundementals in physics but still...just barely, so not really and I still have the boring gcse stuff to worry about learning. Also, I'm quite logical with maths and see it as a really fun puzzle but you know, even if my teachers tell me I'm really good at it/I can get good grades, I don't really have that abstract way of thinking about it, like you do in those maths challenge papers etc (I usually have to let difficult concepts really sink in) ... I hate this. I want to do further maths for a level but I just dont know if I'm good enough to do a physics degree so I just really want to improve much more!
    I guess what I'm asking here is how can I just really be super good and advanced in both physics and maths? Like how can I spend my time on it when I get home, where should I begin, how should I balance it with my gcse studies, anything really... as always, the advice given here is invaluable to me and I therefore vastly appreciate what everybody has to say! Thank you!

    ...desperate being is desperate. ;_;
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    You know there are probably very few people who were exceptionally good at these things when they were just 15. Maybe the likes of Einstein and so on, but those people should probably be classed as geniuses and you shouldn't try to hold yourself up to their standard. Most people who go to study Physics at university are not geniuses, or even most of the people who end up with an academic career in the field. They are people like you with a strong interest and a willingness to learn. I should imagine A level Physics will be much more interesting to you as GCSE work is supposed to cover the basics. Continue with your studying, and perhaps try to read as much about the subject in your free time as possible. There are also plenty of great videos, TV programs, and lectures on the subject that will be available online, so immerse yourself in these. Like all things, regardless of natural talent, the more you apply yourself and the more you learn, the better you get at them. There is no reason why your knowledge of Physics will not snowball in the coming years if you are passionate about learning these things. Going back to Einstein, I heard that he was actually pretty crap at maths, and got his secretary to do all his mathematics for him. He tended to think about things much more visually than in terms of equations. Don't know if that is true or not.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    It's great you're so focussed about it. Physics at GCSE is quite different to A level. I didn't like it at all until I did A level, and ended up with a physics degree. There are plenty of non-academic books and articles which may help to broaden your knowledge, but I'd concentrate on getting good grades to help keep doors open for your A levels. If you want a list of books I've found interesting, I'll dig them out.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tangledweb)
    It's great you're so focussed about it. Physics at GCSE is quite different to A level. I didn't like it at all until I did A level, and ended up with a physics degree. There are plenty of non-academic books and articles which may help to broaden your knowledge, but I'd concentrate on getting good grades to help keep doors open for your A levels. If you want a list of books I've found interesting, I'll dig them out.
    Thanks for the advice and yes please about the books!
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Heidihi7894)
    You know there are probably very few people who were exceptionally good at these things when they were just 15. Maybe the likes of Einstein and so on, but those people should probably be classed as geniuses and you shouldn't try to hold yourself up to their standard. Most people who go to study Physics at university are not geniuses, or even most of the people who end up with an academic career in the field. They are people like you with a strong interest and a willingness to learn. I should imagine A level Physics will be much more interesting to you as GCSE work is supposed to cover the basics. Continue with your studying, and perhaps try to read as much about the subject in your free time as possible. There are also plenty of great videos, TV programs, and lectures on the subject that will be available online, so immerse yourself in these. Like all things, regardless of natural talent, the more you apply yourself and the more you learn, the better you get at them. There is no reason why your knowledge of Physics will not snowball in the coming years if you are passionate about learning these things. Going back to Einstein, I heard that he was actually pretty crap at maths, and got his secretary to do all his mathematics for him. He tended to think about things much more visually than in terms of equations. Don't know if that is true or not.
    Thanks a lot for your words, they really made me feel better x
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    You absolutely can. The main thing is that you are passioned about it. This gives you motivation to study which is vital; you can't study something that you don't like. I started becoming interested in maths probably in Year 10 as well so I can understand your situation. I remember the first maths related book that gave me a door to the world of maths was "Who do buses come in threes?", I'd recommend it to you as it's not hard to read and very exciting - I finished it in 3 days or so.

    Without a doubt you should take Maths, Further Maths and Physics at A-level (that's what I picked + Economics) and I'm sure it will be really enjoyable for you if you do like these subjects. In addition, they would make a very strong application for any Maths or Physics related course at the university.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    your still very young , so time is your advantage , if possible read ahead and do some work out side of your gsce physics course, also you can read some AS revision books to get that extra advantage but dont let this stop you from revising for your GCSES, watch tv progams like wonder of the solar sys, steven hawking- time travel, read articles relating to physics, like the higgs boson, also there are good physics magazines and lectures online, have a look at them.

    since you like maths, you will do good at physics , at degree level physics is mostly maths unlike it is at A-level, but still i find the Alevels very interesting , if ur good at maths, why not do your maths gcse early and possibly do c1 alevel maths module earlier as well, this module is the same as gcse maths just differentiating and integrating are the new topics , which are very easy at that stage.

    THE SKY IS THE LIMIT MY FRIEND, YOU CAN REACH FOR THE STARS,
    Offline

    4
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by OkashiAddict)
    I'm feeling pretty low at the moment. Every time I get really excited about thinking about higher education in physics, there's always something there to make me feel like I'm just not good enough or cut out to study it. I want to do physics because I love it so much. I love maths too. I'm good at them both I guess but as of right now I'm 15 and in year 10. My only grasp of them both is at a gcse level... and not even year 11 stuff... and this makes me feel ridiculous because when you're passionate about something you are supposed to be very advanced in it, right? For physics I probably am a little advanced as I recently bought a self teaching guide to fundementals in physics but still...just barely, so not really and I still have the boring gcse stuff to worry about learning. Also, I'm quite logical with maths and see it as a really fun puzzle but you know, even if my teachers tell me I'm really good at it/I can get good grades, I don't really have that abstract way of thinking about it, like you do in those maths challenge papers etc (I usually have to let difficult concepts really sink in) ... I hate this. I want to do further maths for a level but I just dont know if I'm good enough to do a physics degree so I just really want to improve much more!
    I guess what I'm asking here is how can I just really be super good and advanced in both physics and maths? Like how can I spend my time on it when I get home, where should I begin, how should I balance it with my gcse studies, anything really... as always, the advice given here is invaluable to me and I therefore vastly appreciate what everybody has to say! Thank you!

    ...desperate being is desperate. ;_;

    Read.

    Read, read, read.

    Read like a boss.

    You'll develop a more in-depth understanding of everything to come at GCSE and A level, and make your life easier in the process.

    You could also research something specific that interests you, and there are various competitions that lead into the Big Bang Fair, Young Scientist, even Intel ISEF, etc.

    If you have some idea, or want to be more involved in something else, email researchers and postgrads etc. in time for Summer, if you don't ask you won't get, you could end up anywhere from assisting with something ongoing, to even your own research with some help (and facilities). This is less easy for Physics than Bio/Chem I think, purely because of the sort of thing it might entail, but I would expect still possible.

    Even if they say no, they may have some other helpful advice.

    But read.


    EDIT:
    Also, if you ever get the opportunity (over the next few years), go to LIYSF. Awesome experience.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by JerzyDudek)
    You absolutely can. The main thing is that you are passioned about it. This gives you motivation to study which is vital; you can't study something that you don't like. I started becoming interested in maths probably in Year 10 as well so I can understand your situation. I remember the first maths related book that gave me a door to the world of maths was "Who do buses come in threes?", I'd recommend it to you as it's not hard to read and very exciting - I finished it in 3 days or so.

    Without a doubt you should take Maths, Further Maths and Physics at A-level (that's what I picked + Economics) and I'm sure it will be really enjoyable for you if you do like these subjects. In addition, they would make a very strong application for any Maths or Physics related course at the university.
    Thank you for your words and also thank you for the book recommendation! x
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by MOTORMADX)
    your still very young , so time is your advantage , if possible read ahead and do some work out side of your gsce physics course, also you can read some AS revision books to get that extra advantage but dont let this stop you from revising for your GCSES, watch tv progams like wonder of the solar sys, steven hawking- time travel, read articles relating to physics, like the higgs boson, also there are good physics magazines and lectures online, have a look at them.

    since you like maths, you will do good at physics , at degree level physics is mostly maths unlike it is at A-level, but still i find the Alevels very interesting , if ur good at maths, why not do your maths gcse early and possibly do c1 alevel maths module earlier as well, this module is the same as gcse maths just differentiating and integrating are the new topics , which are very easy at that stage.

    THE SKY IS THE LIMIT MY FRIEND, YOU CAN REACH FOR THE STARS,
    aw, haha! thanks for your motivational words! x
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by FO12DY)
    Read.

    Read, read, read.

    Read like a boss.

    You'll develop a more in-depth understanding of everything to come at GCSE and A level, and make your life easier in the process.

    You could also research something specific that interests you, and there are various competitions that lead into the Big Bang Fair, Young Scientist, even Intel ISEF, etc.

    If you have some idea, or want to be more involved in something else, email researchers and postgrads etc. in time for Summer, if you don't ask you won't get, you could end up anywhere from assisting with something ongoing, to even your own research with some help (and facilities). This is less easy for Physics than Bio/Chem I think, purely because of the sort of thing it might entail, but I would expect still possible.

    Even if they say no, they may have some other helpful advice.

    But read.


    EDIT:
    Also, if you ever get the opportunity (over the next few years), go to LIYSF. Awesome experience.

    ooh that sounds interesting, i will certainly look into it! also thanks for your suggestions, yes, reading is brilliant! x
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    As said before, as long as you are passionate and work hard, you're pretty much set.

    If you want some extra reading and physics goodness I recommend these:

    Minute Physics: http://www.youtube.com/user/minutephysics
    Very informative, well explained and friendly videos.

    Empirical Zeal: http://www.empiricalzeal.com/
    Very interesting and engaging blog. Can be a quite technical.

    The Elegant Universe: (book)
    Especially useful if you are leaning towards theoretical physics. This book is mostly geared towards string theory, though it does give very good explanations of both special and general relativity (among other things).
    Conceptually difficult but I found Brain Greene to be a writer that both kept me engaged and could explain very high level concepts. I'd say it is more than worth the money I paid for it.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by OkashiAddict)
    I'm feeling pretty low at the moment. Every time I get really excited about thinking about higher education in physics, there's always something there to make me feel like I'm just not good enough or cut out to study it. I want to do physics because I love it so much. I love maths too. I'm good at them both I guess but as of right now I'm 15 and in year 10. My only grasp of them both is at a gcse level... and not even year 11 stuff... and this makes me feel ridiculous because when you're passionate about something you are supposed to be very advanced in it, right? For physics I probably am a little advanced as I recently bought a self teaching guide to fundementals in physics but still...just barely, so not really and I still have the boring gcse stuff to worry about learning. Also, I'm quite logical with maths and see it as a really fun puzzle but you know, even if my teachers tell me I'm really good at it/I can get good grades, I don't really have that abstract way of thinking about it, like you do in those maths challenge papers etc (I usually have to let difficult concepts really sink in) ... I hate this. I want to do further maths for a level but I just dont know if I'm good enough to do a physics degree so I just really want to improve much more!
    I guess what I'm asking here is how can I just really be super good and advanced in both physics and maths? Like how can I spend my time on it when I get home, where should I begin, how should I balance it with my gcse studies, anything really... as always, the advice given here is invaluable to me and I therefore vastly appreciate what everybody has to say! Thank you!

    ...desperate being is desperate. ;_;
    Read. Read some more. Then read more.

    It's great that you treat Maths problems as fun puzzles, because that's what they essentially are. Don't worry about those challenge papers (UKMT etc); they aren't really an indicator of much. I got Silver in Intermediate and Bronze in Senior; one of my friends got a Gold in Intermediate and Gold in Senior and then went on to get a U in three A2 Maths modules.

    Back to reading. Basically, that's all there is to it. Don't go on the computer all the time (I'm not saying you do, but it's a problem I have, and so I banned myself from going on it on weekdays. I read instead now), and use your free time reading. I would highly recommend Jeff Forshaw's and Brain Cox's books (Why does E=mc2 and The Quantum Universe) as they are very non-mathematical, and explain things like Special Relativity and basic Quantum Physics very well. Also, Chad Orzel's books are very good, and highly amusing (to me, at least). Finally, Feynman's QED is very good. All those books are aimed at the casual reader, so if you're interested in the subject, you should be able to read them. Don't expect to understand everything the first time, you'll 'get' more and more of it as you go through GCSE and A Level.

    Also, try to keep up to date with the latest Physics developments. It will help to keep your interest up. For example, do a bit of reading around on the Higgs Boson and the Higgs Field. It's an extremely interesting area .

    On a final note, GCSE is very boring. A Level isn't much better. Don't let that put you off . Read, read, read and then read some more.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Qwertish)
    Read. Read some more. Then read more.

    It's great that you treat Maths problems as fun puzzles, because that's what they essentially are. Don't worry about those challenge papers (UKMT etc); they aren't really an indicator of much. I got Silver in Intermediate and Bronze in Senior; one of my friends got a Gold in Intermediate and Gold in Senior and then went on to get a U in three A2 Maths modules.

    Back to reading. Basically, that's all there is to it. Don't go on the computer all the time (I'm not saying you do, but it's a problem I have, and so I banned myself from going on it on weekdays. I read instead now), and use your free time reading. I would highly recommend Jeff Forshaw's and Brain Cox's books (Why does E=mc2 and The Quantum Universe) as they are very non-mathematical, and explain things like Special Relativity and basic Quantum Physics very well. Also, Chad Orzel's books are very good, and highly amusing (to me, at least). Finally, Feynman's QED is very good. All those books are aimed at the casual reader, so if you're interested in the subject, you should be able to read them. Don't expect to understand everything the first time, you'll 'get' more and more of it as you go through GCSE and A Level.

    Also, try to keep up to date with the latest Physics developments. It will help to keep your interest up. For example, do a bit of reading around on the Higgs Boson and the Higgs Field. It's an extremely interesting area .

    On a final note, GCSE is very boring. A Level isn't much better. Don't let that put you off . Read, read, read and then read some more.
    Hello. Oh wow, thanks so much for your advice, I really appreciate it I do already have some Brian Cox books and yes, I hope to read more around the subject!
    Thanks again x
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Drastic)
    As said before, as long as you are passionate and work hard, you're pretty much set.

    If you want some extra reading and physics goodness I recommend these:

    Minute Physics: http://www.youtube.com/user/minutephysics
    Very informative, well explained and friendly videos.

    Empirical Zeal: http://www.empiricalzeal.com/
    Very interesting and engaging blog. Can be a quite technical.

    The Elegant Universe: (book)
    Especially useful if you are leaning towards theoretical physics. This book is mostly geared towards string theory, though it does give very good explanations of both special and general relativity (among other things).
    Conceptually difficult but I found Brain Greene to be a writer that both kept me engaged and could explain very high level concepts. I'd say it is more than worth the money I paid for it.
    Hi, thanks for the recommendations - really appreciate it! x
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by OkashiAddict)
    Hi, thanks for the recommendations - really appreciate it! x
    No problem.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by OkashiAddict)
    I ...
    From now on, just surround yourself in physics and mathematics. Read books, they don't have to be technical and stuff, but if they can explain things in layman's terms they're worthwhile.

    I also avidly follow the following youtube channels, they are really fascinating and make me want to learn more and more!

    Numberphile: http://www.youtube.com/user/numberphile
    SixtySymbols: http://www.youtube.com/user/sixtysymbols
    MinutePhysics: http://www.youtube.com/user/minutephysics
    Vihart: http://www.youtube.com/user/Vihart
    Veritasium: http://www.youtube.com/user/1veritasium

    All thoroughly interesting!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by OkashiAddict)
    Hello. Oh wow, thanks so much for your advice, I really appreciate it I do already have some Brian Cox books and yes, I hope to read more around the subject!
    Thanks again x
    No problem

    Those YouTube channels are excellent as well, but the books will give a bit more depth.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by YThursday)
    From now on, just surround yourself in physics and mathematics. Read books, they don't have to be technical and stuff, but if they can explain things in layman's terms they're worthwhile.

    I also avidly follow the following youtube channels, they are really fascinating and make me want to learn more and more!

    Numberphile: http://www.youtube.com/user/numberphile
    SixtySymbols: http://www.youtube.com/user/sixtysymbols
    MinutePhysics: http://www.youtube.com/user/minutephysics
    Vihart: http://www.youtube.com/user/Vihart
    Veritasium: http://www.youtube.com/user/1veritasium

    All thoroughly interesting!
    I really like minutephysics and I'll check out the others too! Thank you (:
 
 
 
Poll
If you won £30,000, which of these would you spend it on?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Quick reply
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.