Monthly Archives: February 2009

Quantum Relationship

For those of you that are friends with me on Facebook, you may or may not be wondering why I am suddenly no longer listed as single. Those that aren’t friends with me on Facebook are probably now equally as curious. Let me explain this in the best way I can: I’m in a trial relationship.

Now, what exactly is a trial relationship? It’s not a relationship, and it’s not just being friends, but it’s both of those and neither at the same time. Brain done exploding? Let’s look at it this way:
An alpha particle (basically a Helium nucleus) can decay out of a large atom at some random time, depending on when you check to see what’s going on. If you look at the initial particle really quickly, it’s almost 100% likely to have not decayed, which I’ll write like this: (you’ll understand shortly). If you wait a while to look, but before you look, that alpha particle might have decayed, so now it will have an arbitrary 25% of being in the decayed state when we look at the original atom, which I’ll write like this: .

Making a little more sense now? When we look at the atom after a while, the alpha particle basically has to decide if it has or hasn’t decayed, since before we look we just don’t know; that’s why we have the two probabilities describing one particle. Once we look, the particle will either have decayed or not decayed ( or ), but we won’t know until we actually look at the particle.

And now we finally get back to the trial relationship. Right now, and as of a few hours ago, our relationship probability went from (for ) to something closer to or . Of course, we haven’t “observed” our relationship (basically us deciding whether to go for the full version or get a refund), and at that point the probability will shift either completely to one side or the other.

See? Physics can get you a girlfriend…

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Mathematics and Biology

As of February 18th at 2:20 PM, I am a Mathematics minor. I know, not that exciting since I’ve basically been planning this since last year, but it’s nice to have it official. I like when I actually know what is going to happen or what is happening now; it keeps me from driving myself crazy worrying about it. Now, I just need to take some Math classes like I planned and I become a Mathematics minor when I graduate.

On that same train of thought, I don’t like it when I don’t know what’s going on. Take Biology for instance, which is usual for me to get angry/upset/frustrated about. Today, we needed to turn in our second draft of a semester-long research project that we had to revise over the past week. I did not even look at it until Tuesday because another member of my group had it to revise, which he didn’t. I was supposed to get it Monday, which I didn’t. I got it Tuesday, and I finished my revisions on Tuesday since I wanted it done and out of my mind.

That didn’t happen either. The same group member failed to complete and send us his revisions, so today during lecture he had five copies printed off. Those copies were wrong, as his parts that he needed to revise would have caused our paper to be rejected. I revised it in between the lecture and the lab (roughly an hour when you account for eating a meager lunch to prevent myself from buckling over, and I worked on the paper while I ate). It turns out that one of his revisions removed part of the section that didn’t need to be removed, and that deletion caused our paper to be rejected.

Reminds you of the delF508 mutation, doesn’t it? It pissed me off! When I brought the five copies down to lab (before the rejection), I slammed them down on our lab bench, said “That better not fucking happen again! This is bullshit!” then sat down. I was fuming.

And he was mad at me for being late. Ironic, isn’t it?

Moonshot

Today, after two days of feeling terribly, taking an exam, watching Stranger than Fiction, and trying to find a way to fall asleep, I wrote. While only just under 600 words today (a little less than two pages), that is still something. Today was the first time I wrote since Decelber 28th, 2008 (at 8:29 PM… I keep a log), which felt nice. I got some feelings out through my characters, so hopefully some of that helps me sleep.

What isn’t helping me sleep is NyQuil. I bought a pack of the gel capsules yesterday (which justified a pity hug from a friend), and took two before going to sleep last night. It did not work, as I spent the entire night tossing and turning a trying to figure things out. Not the best thing to do before a Physics exam…

Tonight so far has been the same thing. I took two pills and put in a movie, hoping that I’d fall asleep during it and wake up tomorrow morning healthy and hungry. That was almost three hours ago. I don’t know what exactly is wrong with me, but it couldn’t have come at a worse time than now. There’s some stuff that I need to do soon, and having a running nose, a killer headache, a bad cough, a sore stomach, aching legs, and possibly every other ailment you can think of, doesn’t help.

I’ll give you a hint, it involves folding, and not of proteins.

Three Weeks

Over the course of the next twenty-one or so days, I have three exams, all spread out a week apart and all on Wednesdays. “That’s not bad at all,” you may say, but you would most likely be wrong. Let me explain:

Classical Mechanics I – Feb. 11 – While normally I don’t fret about anything relating to Physics, I really need to do well in this course. I mean, a solid 4-point before the final where I would need to get a 30% to retain that 4-point well. As such, and since my first two homeworks haven’t gone exactly to plan, this first exam is critical. Plus, I’m a Physics major. I should be doing well in my Physics courses, right?

Linear Algebra – Feb. 18 – This is the first math course where I’ve had to focus on it and try, along with part of Calculus III. It’s just vastly different than my past two years of math courses, plus it includes proofs which I haven’t done in the past four years (and those were for Geometry, which I don’t think counts). There’s a lot of information and a ton of little tricks to worry about, which makes it all the more worse.

Biology II – Feb. 25 – For those that are around me closely, this is definitely the worst. I’ve been studying for it for the past couple of days, and I’m worried that I won’t be able to learn/understand all of the information before the exam. This exam is also kind of weird: we get essay questions a week before that we need to answer and turn in as part of our grade, then we get fifty minutes to re-answer two of those questions on the actual exam date. And this is for a Biology exam. I don’t even know what questions will be asked, since my professor is a leading researcher on Cystic Fibrosis, plus he doesn’t really teach us anything during lecture.

I may also have an Astrophysics exam somewhere in there, but since that class is so unorganized I won’t know until maybe a week or two before. In all likelihood, it will come right before my Biology exam, just because that’s the kind of luck I have.

The New Semester

For those that don’t know, Biology is controlling my life. I spent my birthday working on Biology when I wasn’t having dinner with my family or taking a nap because my brain hurt from Biology. Then, add all of that stress and work onto my other classes, which include a high-level Physics course, Linear Algebra, an Astrophysics course, and an extra two credits worth of labs, and you have my life.

Yes, I signed up for all of these classes, so I have nothing to complain about. I enjoy all of them as well, so the work I need to do isn’t even really work, per say. It’s more like “brain push-ups,” to quote Mr. Kane, but push-ups that completely drain my body and mind when I’m done. It definitely helps with my sleep problems.

I’ve also applied for Physics internships for the summer, so my normal three-month break from educational endeavors won’t exist this year. Again, I like it, so I won’t really view it as work. That’s always good if it is something that you’re doing voluntarily.

I also just witnessed the 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in Sparty’s, which has become almost a second home. Now back to homework…