Monthly Archives: March 2010

Senior Scheduling

This Monday morning, to start off my last week of school before a Spring Break filled with schoolwork, sleeping, and a huge dose of anticipation, I met with my Physics advisor to discuss my final class selections as an undergraduate at Michigan State University. Pretty exciting, especially considering that I’ve done so much in these past three years that I couldn’t imagine doing anywhere else. It will be a sad day when I finally walk and get that diploma, but for now I’ll just be extremely excited about my classes. While my advisor did help out in one area a lot, he didn’t help much at all in another area, which I’ll get to shortly.

For now, I’m going to post up my schedule, broken up by semester, along with my initial thoughts on the class. While these are really rough, there are a couple that I’m pretty excited about, but you’ll see shortly enough.

Fall Semester 2010

AST 304 – Stars : My last classroom Astronomy course, plus I get to have Dr. Horace Smith (who I had for AST 208 last year) as my professor again, which should be great! I really enjoyed him as a professor, plus I did talk with him a few times about my original MDRS research project (Algol-type variable stars) before it got scraped. The class should be interesting as well, since I am thinking about getting into Nuclear Astrophysics in grad school, but that’s still up in the air too.

PHY 451 – Advanced Lab : Last lab of my undergraduate career, but I haven’t heard anything about the class. I’ve never really done that well in my labs, but based on how Electronics is going, maybe it was just the introductory labs that I didn’t even care about that I did poorly in?

PHY 481 – Electricity and Magnetism I : The last of the “introductory” physics courses that I need to take. I’ll most likely be in a class with a bunch of juniors, since usually people take this before their senior year, but that should be no problem. I already don’t really talk to people in my classes anyway, so really no difference.

PHY 491 – Atomic, Molecular, and Condensed Matter Physics : Part one of my physics capstone course, and I have no idea what to expect. It should be extremely interesting, so I’m pretty excited.

MTH 340 – Ordinary Differential Equations : I’ve had DiffEQ work before in a number of classes, but I’ve never really had a class completely devoted to it. My advisor helped me pick this one out as one of my three remaining math courses, but I kind of already knew that it would help me out.

AST 410 – Senior Thesis : This is where my advisor did not help. Last year, when I asked him about a student double majoring in Physics and Astrophysics and capstone requirements, he said that I only had to take one. An older student also confirmed this last semester, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to check. So I asked, and he said I needed to take both. I’m not sure if he thought I said double degree (which I would have to take both), but now I’m not sure what to do. I think that I sign up for it, but then ask again about it later this semester to figure it out for certain. We’ll see…

Spring Semester 2011

AST 410 – Senior Thesis : Another reason why I want to find out if I need both: I have to sign up for two semesters of it. That’s an extra four credits that I’d rather cut from my schedule if I don’t need to take them.

PHY 482 – Electricity and Magnetism II : The second semester of the class, which I’m taking just for better grad school prep (just like Classical Mechanics II and Quantum Mechanics II). Should be some work for my last semster, but I don’t mind too much.

PHY 492 – Nuclear and Elementary Particle Physics : Second half of the capstone, and I’m pretty excited for it as well. Not much else to say for it, except that a lot of work for one of my last classes. Then again, it is physics, so I’ll like it anyway.

MTH 442 – Partial Differential Equations : SImilar to ordinary, this will really help me out in more advanced physics work. I have no idea how different it is from Ordinary, but I’m guessing that it will be similar to the difference between Calc I and Calc III. That’s just a guess, though…

MTH 451 – Numerical Analysis I : This class, I’m pretty excited for. Based on an old description, it’s using math and computers to help with analyzing data post-experiment. Since, at least until I get the AST 410 thing cleared up, I won’t be able to take a real programming class, this will have to be good enough.

And that’s it. I know, 31 scheduled credits isn’t exactly a walk in the park for a senior schedule, but I can handle it. It’s less credits than I took this year (33 credits), plus I may or may not be going back to MDRS for two weeks again. I will, however, be working as a physics LA for Briggs, which may or may not be more work than my current calc position. I think things will work out, like things usually do for me. We’ll see, especially once I get out and schedule classes.