Durham University
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# Physics at durham - applicants and discussion

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jobo3
Needs integration with 2 variables, which if you do Core A (I'm not sure) you'll know we only learnt today. I agree, it's pretty easy for mechanics though. The only thing I'm not happy about is the memory test with regard to equations but meh.

Not necessarily, this method is different from his but from what I think it's still ok.

$[br]I = \int \! r^2 \, dm$
$I = \int \! (x^2 + y^2) \, dm$
Where x and y are variables along the two lengths of the rectangle. Therefore:

$[br]I = \int_0^a \! x^2 \, dm + \int_0^b \! y^2 \,dm[br]$
Using the fact that:

$[br]\frac{dm}{dx} = \frac{m}{a}$ and $\frac{dm}{dy} = \frac{m}{b} [br]$
Bish bash bosh, no integration of two variables is required . I don't think it would work for non-rectangles (I think the change of variables would be a bit dodgy) but since it works here sod it .

As for memorising all the formulae it is a little bit annoying but to be honest I think it's something you have to accept if you do physics at any uni.
Durham University
Durham
Rinsed
At my college, where a very large number of the closest private school pupils end up for sixth form (albeit the less rabid population), at the Headstart course I went to which was mostly filled with private schoolers and at my Oxford interview I have never noticed any difference between those who paid for their education, and the rest of us.

I see no reason why Durham should be any different.

Try living with them on a permanent basis.

However, I have not yet been to Durham yet myself, and I'll make a decision for myself when I go up to visit.

It takes a few weeks to realise how ridiculous the place is.

Though as a conservative and a supporter of the free market, who sees nothing wrong with private education, I don't expect to be as affected by it as you evidently have been.

Well either you are just uncaring of other people less fortunate than yourself or just a moron. Which is going to be?
dring
Hehe, you can attach all the equation lists you like, but it won't make your arguments make any sense. Does nobody pass any of the exams?

70% failed the collections one year. You might wonder why the weekly problems are summative, the reason was that no-one used to hand them in. Maths doesn't have the problem. Hmm... another sign that the department expects too much.

I hereby declare, in contrast to HMK's 'omg 400 is a big number' argument, that the number of equations you are expected to know/understand is not unreasonable! This doesn't mean that you should clearly be expected to spend all of your weekends writing endless lists of equations, it means that jotting down all of the equations you need is much easier than it might sound when you look at the number alone. Are A-levels appallingly difficult because you didn't even *know* what differentiation was when you were learning your times tables?

You have to do a lot more than learn the equations, you have to learn how to use them. Plus then you have to learn the exams.

Hiding behind RobbieC's equally big number (4 whole years of physics!) is an equally poor argument. On a very basic level 'someone agrees with me' is clearly a meaningless argument that does nothing but waste time. It's just as easy to say 'the Physics department takes x postgrads from the department each year, these people clearly like the deparment and enjoy the work!'. In fact, I think that's exactly what I'll say

Robbie has been around long enough to show me how lucky I was that I got out when I did. As for the postgrads argument, you might want to note that the NSS says that the prospectus is not representative of the university level for postgrads.
Morgan141
It's not too bad really is it? I'd say I could get a fairly decent grade on that paper (probably 2.1), as would most of the physicists I've spoken to. Even Signer's problem is doable, it's a godsend! I just hope tomorrow's paper isn't much worse...

As for HMK saying Signer's question on the collections required something called 'contour integration', as far as I'm aware that's rubbish. Admittedly I have no idea what contour integration is but I'm fairly sure what I used was called integration and is hardly difficult. It's amongst the simplest questions on the damn paper!

It would be the sensible way of doing it, but its second year maths. Its simple when you have covered the material.

Also this rubbish about Optics is just that. Behind the scary looking proofs and woffle there is very, VERY little to this topic. I'm looking at my notes right now and at most I can fish out 3 formulae, some rubbish on ray tracing diagrams (stuff you could teach a GCSE student in 2 minutes), and some stuff on polarisation of light. If you actually look in the notes all of the difficult stuff is completely unnecessary.

Anyway I really should go revise...

You would have gotten 2 marks out of 20 on my resit paper then.
70% failed the collections one year. You might wonder why the weekly problems are summative, the reason was that no-one used to hand them in. Maths doesn't have the problem. Hmm... another sign that the department expects too much.

You have to do a lot more than learn the equations, you have to learn how to use them. Plus then you have to learn the exams.

Robbie has been around long enough to show me how lucky I was that I got out when I did. As for the postgrads argument, you might want to note that the NSS says that the prospectus is not representative of the university level for postgrads.

Collections are entirely irrelevant. They aren't real exams, and the department knows this full well. I'm fairly sure they're designed to be easy to fail, the department wants to make people realise that they can't get away with no revision like at A-level.

To reassure any prospective physics undergrads, collections are entirely possible, I personally think the failure rate is for different reasons. Pass rates for real exams are much better, because people are actually trying

As before, you do have to learn more than just the equations, but the same thing applies. To continue from before, you have to learn more than just standard integrals to understand integration, but that doesn't mean A-levels are impossible!

I still don't understand your 'RobbieC doesn't like physics so physics must be a terrible department' argument. The fourth years that I know are happy enough. Whilst I'm sure a number of people *are* unhappy, it would be plain dumb to ignore that the others that are having a great time.
dring
Collections are entirely irrelevant. They aren't real exams, and the department knows this full well. I'm fairly sure they're designed to be easy to fail, the department wants to make people realise that they can't get away with no revision like at A-level.

The real exams are equally poorly designed and thought out. Some lecturers are quite happy to ask questions on material they have not bothered to cover, let alone adequately. We also had Khoze being immature enough to threaten to set hard questions because people were talking in his "lectures", then having horrible ones on both the exam and resit. Just shows what contempt some people in the department have for their students.

To reassure any prospective physics undergrads, collections are entirely possible, I personally think the failure rate is for different reasons. Pass rates for real exams are much better, because people are actually trying

People are also supposed to have lives outside of their Physics degrees, including settling in to university, sorting out housing and all sorts of other stuff.

As before, you do have to learn more than just the equations, but the same thing applies. To continue from before, you have to learn more than just standard integrals to understand integration, but that doesn't mean A-levels are impossible!

Yes, but to understand integration you have a thing called a teacher who explains it. They also (sensibly) give a lengthy period of time for you to learn and understand it.

I still don't understand your 'RobbieC doesn't like physics so physics must be a terrible department' argument. The fourth years that I know are happy enough. Whilst I'm sure a number of people *are* unhappy, it would be plain dumb to ignore that the others that are having a great time.

RobbieC takes Natural Sciences and is therefore more objective. He has a perspective outside of the Physics department.
The real exams are equally poorly designed and thought out. Some lecturers are quite happy to ask questions on material they have not bothered to cover, let alone adequately. We also had Khoze being immature enough to threaten to set hard questions because people were talking in his "lectures", then having horrible ones on both the exam and resit. Just shows what contempt some people in the department have for their students.

People are also supposed to have lives outside of their Physics degrees, including settling in to university, sorting out housing and all sorts of other stuff.

Yes, but to understand integration you have a thing called a teacher who explains it. They also (sensibly) give a lengthy period of time for you to learn and understand it.

RobbieC takes Natural Sciences and is therefore more objective. He has a perspective outside of the Physics department.

Was Khoze setting hard questions because people were talking in his lectures? Or is that a great excuse for people to use when they talked through his lectures and thus didn't understand the material

To be brief regarding the second paragraph, people *do* have lives outside of their physics degrees, *do* have time to settle into Uni, *do* sort of housing happily and do* do all sorts of other stuff happily. I know you disagree and presumably struggled yourself, but it's another weird extrapolation to say that everyone else will too.

I'm willing to accept that the teaching methods at Uni are different, 'twas only an analogy (unless you're suggesting that the same teaching structure should be used at Uni?). At Uni things are just different, you still pick up outwardly difficult concepts and become very comfortable with using them. It's kinda the point

Regarding RobbieC, objectivity is not solely a function of educational breadth. As I've said already, I'm sure you're right, RobbieC *is* unhappy or whatever. On the other hand, other people aren't.
dring
Was Khoze setting hard questions because people were talking in his lectures? Or is that a great excuse for people to use when they talked through his lectures and thus didn't understand the material

You wonder why people were talking in his lectures. Maybe, just maybe, its because his lecturing style was poor (for example writing too small and then saying it doesn't matter because he is mumbling it as he is writing it)

To be brief regarding the second paragraph, people *do* have lives outside of their physics degrees, *do* have time to settle into Uni, *do* sort of housing happily and do* do all sorts of other stuff happily. I know you disagree and presumably struggled yourself, but it's another weird extrapolation to say that everyone else will too.

Yeah, some do. They cut corners, like having 4 hours a night sleep. I prefer 8-9.
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I'm willing to accept that the teaching methods at Uni are different, 'twas only an analogy (unless you're suggesting that the same teaching structure should be used at Uni?). At Uni things are just different, you still pick up outwardly difficult concepts and become very comfortable with using them. It's kinda the point

The problem is with the department, the Maths department do a lot better job at teaching than Physics do. It might be something to do with actually valuing all of their students properly.

Regarding RobbieC, objectivity is not solely a function of educational breadth. As I've said already, I'm sure you're right, RobbieC *is* unhappy or whatever. On the other hand, other people aren't.

You have to have been in another department to see how bad Physics really is.
You have to have been in another department to see how bad Physics really is.

One of my housemates did joint maths and physics in his first year, but he willingly switched to straight physics this year. Does this make him a mutant?

PS, if you want to try the "I am doing Physics" lark, RobbieC has been around for 4 years of it.

If you want to try the 'I am doing Physics lark' I completed 4 years of it, on the straight Physics course. I can give you advice!

So if anyone wants a differing view to HMK's of Durham physics, feel free to PM me!

You have to have been in another department to see how bad Physics really is.

I know this is probably a silly thing to point out, but all physics undergrads have two modules in maths in their first year taught by the maths department. Surely this gives them a taste of another department?
You wonder why people were talking in his lectures. Maybe, just maybe, its because his lecturing style was poor (for example writing too small and then saying it doesn't matter because he is mumbling it as he is writing it)

Yeah, some do. They cut corners, like having 4 hours a night sleep. I prefer 8-9.

The problem is with the department, the Maths department do a lot better job at teaching than Physics do. It might be something to do with actually valuing all of their students properly.

You have to have been in another department to see how bad Physics really is.

Interestingly, in the end of year questionnaires Khoze and his course were voted 'very easy' and 'well taught'. The departmental organisers thought this was great, as people usually think SR is hard and badly taught, and were happy to leave the course exactly as it is. I liked him, you didn't, meh.

Again, to any interested parties reading this, although HMK can't regulate his work-life balance he *is* the anomalous result - not everyone else! I for one had plenty of sleep.

Since you like to trumpet your experience of Core A as epitomising other departments, I may as well do so too. And I thought they compared well to each other.
generic hybrid
One of my housemates did joint maths and physics in his first year, but he willingly switched to straight physics this year. Does this make him a mutant?

Yes, if not gay aswell.
jobo3
Yes, if not gay aswell.

Hmm, I should probably warn his girlfriend then.
Rinsed
I'm sorry, I know this isn't really relevant to the topic at hand but I feel I need to reply to this.

Oh I see, so if someone has differing political opinions to yourself, they are a moron?

For one thing, I was schooled at a fairly average comprehensive. My dad grew up in a council house and a lot of my family are working class. I have a huge respect for those poorer off than me, but I believe a free market is the best way to improve the standards of the poorer off, in the long run if not the shorter.

Even the Bush administration had to tacitly admit that the free market doesn't work as a system, let alone one that benefits the less well off. Actually I would love to see how all this exporting of American "values" and hegemony (well they call it freedom and democracy, but its anything but) has helped the poorer off anywhere.

I see nothing immoral about private schools because I believe a parent who has earnt their money (or even if they have not tbh) has a right to spend it to do the best they can for their children, and we must remember that there are a lot of parents who work very, very hard to give their children the best possible education. In fact, if a parent wasn't doing the best they could for their child, I would find that much more immoral.

There is a finite amount of good university places in the system. Every time someone get one who could not without a leg up, you are stealing a place from someone who actually deserves it. Now I am not saying that all privately-educated people here did not deserve their places, but the majority probably didn't.

I'm sure in your eyes that makes me a moron, but I've seen posts of yours around about how you have a personal hatred for all torys, which is pretty pathetic. If this is how you behave at Durham, I can see why you haven't found the most welcoming of atmospheres.

Personal hatred? Please. I really would not bother investing that much emotion in them.
generic hybrid
One of my housemates did joint maths and physics in his first year, but he willingly switched to straight physics this year. Does this make him a mutant?

It makes him insane, though if he wants to gamble with his degree grade that way, its up to him. Come exam time he might regret it.
Mithra
I know this is probably a silly thing to point out, but all physics undergrads have two modules in maths in their first year taught by the maths department. Surely this gives them a taste of another department?

The only problem with that is the Physics department are recruiting students who are unsuited to Core A, leaving them with a less than fair impression. Single Maths carries no progression outside of Physics. You might wonder why they have been advising their students to take it.
dring
Interestingly, in the end of year questionnaires Khoze and his course were voted 'very easy' and 'well taught'. The departmental organisers thought this was great, as people usually think SR is hard and badly taught, and were happy to leave the course exactly as it is. I liked him, you didn't, meh.

Hardly, they have replaced him this year.

Again, to any interested parties reading this, although HMK can't regulate his work-life balance he *is* the anomalous result - not everyone else! I for one had plenty of sleep.

The point is in 1st year I should not have to be worrying about a work-life balance, no other department really expects you to. For good reason, too.

Since you like to trumpet your experience of Core A as epitomising other departments, I may as well do so too. And I thought they compared well to each other.

Core A and B1 are supposed to go together. Now compare.
Hardly, they have replaced him this year.

The point is in 1st year I should not have to be worrying about a work-life balance, no other department really expects you to. For good reason, too.

Core A and B1 are supposed to go together. Now compare.

So they replaced Khoze, big deal, sometimes the lecturer changes. There's no point reading too much into it . Would you like to say 'No, that is not the result of the questionnaire, everybody hates Khoze because I say so'?

I'll state the second part even more clearly for people, first year does *not* necessarily involve having difficulty establishing a work-life balanace, HMK is the statistical outlier.

I'm afraid I have nothing to counter your 'you did not do exactly the same courses as me so your opinions are worthless' statements. However, I have faith in Durham physics applicants to understand that they don't need countering at all to be rendered worthless
dring
So they replaced Khoze, big deal, sometimes the lecturer changes. There's no point reading too much into it . Would you like to say 'No, that is not the result of the questionnaire, everybody hates Khoze because I say so'?

I'll state the second part even more clearly for people, first year does *not* necessarily involve having difficulty establishing a work-life balanace, HMK is the statistical outlier.

I'm afraid I have nothing to counter your 'you did not do exactly the same courses as me so your opinions are worthless' statements. However, I have faith in Durham physics applicants to understand that they don't need countering at all to be rendered worthless

So what is your objection to everyone looking at that Zip-File I linked and judging for themselves. Hmm, maybe because they might actually realise what Durham Physics is about.

Though I could tell you that there is less material in the Intro to Psychology module I did than in the Optics course.