Last year, a girl in my school asked me why I liked physics, and I couldn't tell her a reason other than 'I just do' or 'I find it really interesting'. Like sure, those are true, but I find many things interesting so it hardly explains this drive that seems to only be getting stronger as I learn more and more about it.
A year was a while ago, but I guess my subconscious may have been wondering about it ever since then, because a few days ago I realised the answer.
I'm using physics to try and work out the world. It's like every new thing I learn adds a new piece to the puzzle that I never thought existed, and it broadens my view of the world in ways I didn't know were possible. It's about knowing exactly where you are in the world, and how everything around you works at the most fundamental level. Like, I now know now the basics of how car gears work, which cleared up a lot of worries about me destroying the car if I do this or that while changing gears.
But when I talk about broadening my view of the world, I don't mean just basic things like knowing how things work, although that's useful enough. When I learn a bit of relativity it was extremely hard to understand. Not the maths, the maths was easy, but the meaning of the things the maths was saying. How is it possible for the time to be different depending on how fast something is going compared to the speed of light? Or that the length of something contracts as it goes faster (measuring in the reference frame that is at rest)? Like, it quite literally gets shorter. At least according to the theory (which is well proven). I'm still not sure if I believe it.
The thing that I'm currently (since 2010) fascinated by quantum physics. It's probably because I don't understand it in the slightest. Quantum physics is complex and confusing, and I'm yet to formally study it. Physics goes weird when it goes quantum, and it's going to be really interesting to see how what I learn about quantum physics will fit in with how I view the world at the moment.
So finally I read the bit of the physics textbook that was supposed to contain my best friend in physics laws: the second law of thermodynamics. And I suppose in a way it is. It takes something that seems obvious to everyone (like that hot tea will get cooler the longer it stands there not hotter) and explains it in terms of science. But this isn't your normal science of this is right and that is wrong, it explains it in terms of probability. Something hot cools down as time goes on because that is what has the largest probability of happening. It's the key word of probability that makes things interesting. If we flip this statement around it means that while it is extremely unlikely that hot tea will get warmer if you happen to have a cup on your table, there is the tiniest chance that it could happen. The seemingly impossible is actually possible. So the next time someone tells you that nothing is impossible, don't laugh or dismiss them, because even science agrees.
Ever since I read this certain book about quantum physics, I've thought that electron are creepy. And they are. Reeeeally creepy.
In short, there's this experiment with two slits and if you fire an electron at those slits, it will usually create an interference pattern that suggests that the electron goes through both slits at once. Now, this is slightly creepy, but there is the explanation that the electron acts as a wave which minimises the creepiness as waves are more flowy than particles.
So, the pattern suggests that the electron is going through both slits at once. Now, suppose you want to know for sure and put a sensor on each slit to tell you what's happening while the electron goes through it. That will show you that it's going through both at once, right? Wrong. The electron decides to only go through one slit, and there is no interference pattern created. Electrons seem to be aware that you are watching them.
But wait, it gets better (worse?). Say you turn off the sensor. The interference pattern comes back. Turn it back on and it goes away again. Have it off, fire the electron and then turn it on? No interference pattern. Somehow the electron can tell that you are going to turn it on in the future. IT KNOWS WHAT YOU'RE THINKING!
So yeah. Electron are creepy. Really creepy.
I have this new theory that you have to make your own happiness. It makes no sense to just wait for happiness to happen and for there to be this magical moment where everything is great. In reality it never will be unless you work at it.
I'm starting to realise that happiness doesn't have as much to do with the things around you as with how you react to those things around you. You have to be happy about the good stuff and refuse to let the bad stuff get you down for too long. This is one of those easier-said-than-done things, but I'm pretty sure it's achievable. It's not like I'm anywhere near perfecting any of this. I'm only 18, and there is so much that I do not know about the world. Although I suppose it's a step in the right direction that I recognise that.
Now this has been a really confusing and rambling post. But I suppose the main point is that it all comes down to attitude, and life experience helps put things in perspective.
I've been thinking for a while about uni courses and what to do. I can't help thinking that I need to choose the right thing straight away, or else I'm stuck with it.
Now that's not necessarily true. It's always possible to change courses although that would generally mean more time spent at uni. This said, I'd rather get the choice right first time around.
Currently, I am torn between three courses: Engineering and Science Double Degree, Engineering and Arts Double Degree, and just the Engineering Degree by itself.
I know I definitely want to do engineering, but am not entirely certain about which type. I love science, but if I want to do science with engineering, I would need to know which type of engineering I want to go into, which is a big decision to make with the little info I have.
If I did arts and engineering I would not have to choose the type of engineering straight away, but maybe I'd rather do science. Or maybe not. I don't know. I think arts subjects involve essays. I hate essays.
But then maybe a double degree would be too much for me to handle. Maybe I would be better off doing a single degree and pursing other interests in my own time, at my own pace. I don't know about this one. The overachieving part of me would rather do two degrees not one.
There is one other option, a kind of combination of the first two that runs contrary to the third. I could do the science/engineering degree and an arts diploma at the same time. Again, this may be a bit too much to handle.
And all this is assuming I get a high enough score to get into the course in the first place. Maybe I should create a plan E.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a different dimension. The scientific theory goes that there are lots of dimensions, way beyond the three that we are familiar with, and that if anyone was in one of those dimensions, they wouldn't be aware of us, nor us of them, even though we would be technically alongside each other in space.
I just can't comprehend what another dimension would be like.
Would our world be like a photo version of a 4D world? If so, does that mean that for a 5D person we would be like a line on a piece of paper? Or for a 6D person nothing more than a dot?
So going with the dot theory, would that mean that a 6D world would be perhaps comparable to a super super high definition version of our eyes, seeing things that we cannot even imagine, let alone record on paper.
While we cannot prove how things will look in a 6D world, we can always make something up...
I think it would make awesome sci-fi.