About Me

When not at work with students, I spend my time in my room either reading, calculating something using pen and paper, or using a computer. I read almost anything: from the pornographic to the profound, although my main interests are mathematics and physics. "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." -Erasmus

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wednesdays and Fridays

My Wednesdays and Fridays are fully-loaded. My first class is from 7:30-8:30. Although I have no classes or teaching duties from 8:30am to 10 am, I have to update my class records and then have breakfast.

There are no nearby canteens-- the physics building is probably the most isolated building on campus-- and I have to walk for a few minutes to get to a nearby petrol station, where they have various restaurants and shops (Jolibee and Chow King being the least pricey). The only available food is fast food, and I'm getting tired of having the same thing everyday.

After a heavy breakfast (to make sure that I don't go hungry until 1:30 pm), I attend a quantum field theory class by Professor P from 10 am to 11:30 pm. The pace is outrageous-- the text that we're using is Mandl and Shaw's book, and we've reached the halfway point.

As of today, we've covered the quantization of spin 0, 1/2 and 1 free fields, and we're (rather the Professor) is now deriving the Feynman rules for quantum electrodynamics. Wick's theorem went by too fast for me, so I gathered my courage and explained that the pace was too fast, and that I would like to slowly work through the details. Happily, the professor agreed to do so.

I don't have time for lunch because immediately after (from 11:30am to 1:30pm) is a lab class I'm teaching. I can't just sit there and let the students do all the work. I have to walk around asking questions and providing help when needed. This means I get to have lunch around 2pm; I have to hurry because I would be meeting one of the theory apprentices for math methods supervisions. This is usually from 2:30 to 4pm, after which I have to attend a mathematical methods class on asymptotic approximation methods.

The asymptotics class is a lot of fun because I'm learning new methods of approximating integrals and I find that complex variable methods are of great use here. In fact, I'm planning to include some of the material I learn there to the math methods supervisions. I was impressed by the Mellin transform method for getting asymptotic series; you get the Mellin transform, perform an analytic continuation in the transform space, and then use a Bromwich like integral to get the inverse Mellin transform. The series comes from moving the contour of integration to the left or right, depending on whether you're interested in the behaviour near the origin or on the behaviour at infinity of the original function.

Alas, even though the spirit is willing, I still fall into micro-naps because by 4pm I feel tired. I've tried taking a short nap immediately after lunch, but it's not enough. I even drink coffee before going to class but I still fall asleep. I am thankful though that I don't have a class from 5:30 to 7 pm; that would probably break the camel's back. I'll try to see if sleeping earlier would help.

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