Friday, August 2, 2013

When you ride like lightning, you're gonna crash like thunder

Dear Diary,

I received some good research advice today and wanted to share it.

It is tempting to approach physics by making a lot of intuitive guesses.  The danger is, if you go too fast, your answer might be wrong or only right in certain cases.  The assumptions that you make may come back to bite you if you don't understand them or if nature doesn't agree.

Professor Burke wants to emphasize that the things we do demand the opposite.  You must go slowly and understand each step of the way.  A key point is to understand the style and assumptions of your derivation...not just the answer.

I should keep this mind while I continue studying: play it safe, take your time, and be transparent.  Check everything.

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