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UCSD Warren College (Physics)
I was a carpenter and framing contractor for many years before deciding to go back to school. It was curiosity about mathematics and physics that drew me in this direction. What I knew about trigonometry from high school gave me a huge advantage when it came to custom cathedral roof and spiral staircase cutting, and opened up many opportunities to me that would otherwise have been beyond my reach. I wondered what kind of advantages a much deeper understanding of mathematics might provide me. After studying on my own, starting with algebra for dummies, and calculus for dummies, I bought a calculus, and two college textbooks. I struggled on my own for a while before I worked up the courage to take myself to Grossmont College to see about enrolling. I tested into the first calculus course to my delight, and a little later made up my mind to pursue a degree in physics.
I tutored physics at Grossmont. I wasn't sure at first that I would be able to help because I did not have an easy time learning either mathematics or physics. It had been very hard work for me. I found however, that this was more of an asset than a handicap, because I found that the difficulties that students brought to me, were in most cases the same ones I myself had had to work through. I got a real thrill out of being able to help students understand and solve problems. I felt that it was a privilege to be able to share something that they valued. I didn't have much time for anything else but study after I started at UCSD, but during two summers I tutored a student in pre calculus, and another in statistics.
I want to mention that I learned more mathematics in physics courses than I did in mathematics courses. I learned far more about partial differential equations in physics than I did in a math course on partial differential equations. I met statistics, and complex analysis in quantum physics (where I also came to a much deeper understanding of linear algebra,) and statistical thermodynamics. Complex analysis which applied in all physics courses, we had to pick up on the fly.
I found that mathematics was exciting once I was able to understand it conceptually. I had wonderful teachers in college and university, but there was so much material to cover that they often didn't have the time to explain in detail many of the concepts that for me were indispensable to my understanding. If I don't understand something, I feel helpless and I get absolutely no satisfaction in applying it. Many students don't seem to need to understand what they apply, and can do quite well in spite of it. Most of the students I tutored seemed to be more like me, with a need to understand what they were trying to apply. As I stated previously, I discovered that what I thought would be liability, the difficulty I had in learning, turned out to be an asset when it came to teaching. This is because of two reasons. I had to work that much harder which made me more familiar with the material, and I had to work through many, or most of the problems myself that students typically encounter.
Please contact me, particularly if I said anything that you can relate to. I look forward to helping you to succeed. If I can do it, I'm convinced anyone can. All that's required is desire and hard work. I was a carpenter and framing contractor for many years before deciding to go back to school. It was curiosity about mathematics and physics that drew me in this direction. What I knew about … Read more
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I took a differential equation class (which is lower division) in Grossmont College where my grades in mathematics and physics secured a place for me in the upper division math and physics courses at UCSD where I obtained a degree in physics in June. My understanding was sufficient to prepare me for Partial differential equations which are exponentially more difficult. I took one PDF math major course, two physics courses on both analytical and numerical solutions to PDF's. We applied these methods in two electrodynamics courses, two classical mechanics courses, and three quantum physics courses.
I took linear algebra, a lower division course, at Grossmont. My grades were sufficient to secure a spot in upper division mathematics and physics at UCSD where I acquired my degree this year in physics. Linear algebra and its applications were a constant theme in tensors, the three quantum physics courses I successfully completed, and the two courses in numerical and analytical methods for scientists and engineers which I also successfully completed.