Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fields of study

BS King has a nice post up. Before settling on a major/career, sometimes you look through many fields: she likens this to dating.

I wanted to be a fireman, then I wanted to be an archaeologist. (Or maybe a paleontologist--dinosaurs were cool. But no, ruins and bones and mysterious people were cooler.) Then a nuclear physicist. Then a particle physicist--that was in high school; Feynman sounded cool. I didn't look back. (Funding ran low, and I'm in IT now.)

My dating career was similarly circumscribed.

I think of fields of study as more like places you go.

In some places you are just a tourist--you go look because it's beautiful. Others are familiar vacation spots--you have some emotional investment too, and you put in the work of camping. Others are places you live for a while and actually help out with something--they require a lot more investment of time and understanding what to do.

I'm a tourist in a lot of different fields--I try to learn enough to get the beauty of them. (I get pushback from some members of the family when I assert that mathematics is an art form too.) Others I know well enough to be able to ask useful questions--generally questions that were posed and solved a century ago--but that’s a camper for you, discovering a "new" trail. In a couple of fields I spent the time to actually find new things--but it does take time. (Oh look, a squirrel!)


Ann Hammon said...

I'm family, and believe or nay, I have no problem with higher math as an art form.
Just be sure you don't use your tourism as knowledge acceptable for lectures! Any tourism site (as everything), actually is as the blind man and the elephant. Opinions are acceptable, experience is acceptable, expertise is not.
(Just adding my cautions as a sister should.)

james said...

Aye, but when someone tells me that Geneva does not have a river running through it, I know they've not even a tourist's familiarity with the city. I see a lot of that level of ignorance in news reports of science stories. And perhaps I'm apt to go into lecture mode.

Ann Hammon said...

It's second nature!! Hahaha. Your Achilles heel. Both of us are always right!! Love you.