Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted anything of length here. A lot of things have happened since my last major post in December.
The primary reason I haven't been posting updates is that I had to take the prelims this semester. The prelims consist of four, five hour written exams covering the major areas of physics: Classical Mechanics, Electromagnetic Theory, Quantum Mechanics and Thermodynamics. Following the written portion, there is a two hour oral exam covering anything from physics that we have studied this far. The purpose of this test is to determine whether or not I am qualified to begin working towards my PhD.
I spent this semester working problems, going over class notes and old assignments and doing my best to prepare. It was rough, and I really hate studying.
Last Thursday, I received my results. I had passed. Yea! Now to give some attention to the rest of my life.
Since I've spent the semester studying like a madman, I haven't been keeping up in the one class I'm taking. The professor has been lenient, requesting that all the homework be turned in by the end of finals week, which is next week. This week, I've been working on a presentation I will be giving in class tomorrow on the two-dimensional Ising model. I still have a ways to go before the semester is over.
As for the summer, I'm going to Japan for a week to visit my good friend Tim Marston who is studying there. I'm not a world traveler, and barely a state traveler. But I'm really excited to go and to hang out with Tim. Hopefully we'll do some cool Japanese things as well as play some Worms and BZFlag for old times sake. Feel free to suggest things I should do or get while I'm in Japan.
After Japan, I'm hoping to jump headfirst into research. Right now the plan is to do some work looking at chemical changes under shock using spectroscopy. Beyond this general idea, I have no idea what I will be doing or where I will end up. I will be working on a hard, but interesting problem; that much is certain.
Welp, thanks for reading. Check back later for some Japan stuff and hopefully some interesting summer physics.