Physics for Poets
I decided to take four courses this term, as did many of my peers. With online classes and social distancing guidelines in place, what else was there going to be to do? I don't regret my decision. One of my classes I decided to take to get my science distributive (SCI distrib, in Dartmouth speak). Expecting it to be a burden, I started the class without much enthusiasm. However, I quickly realized how incredibly interesting physics could actually be.
Growing up, I absolutely loved to watch documentaries about space. My favorite was always Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. I was really interested in thinking abstractly about the universe, about the philosophical questions that drive how our universe began and how it presently exists. As a grew older though, I found that the act of physics itself just wasn't that interesting. Didn't do for it to me. I kind of gave up on thinking I was every going to get that chance to think about the universe in a higher level, academic context.
Welcome to physics for poets! The class I didn't realize how much I needed it, until I was in it. I love it. We talk about the history of science and trace its origins way back to the days of the early classics, when humans first started thinking about the universe. Our study takes us all the way up until our present day understanding of quantum theory and the space-time continuum. We integrate science with the importance of philosophy, and we talk about the relationship between religion and science.
The professor, Marcelo Gleiser, is incredible. Give him a quick Google. Impressive, I know. I am honored that as an undergraduate with absolutely zero experience in science that I get to take a class with a professor as esteemed and renowned as he is. I am such a big fan, not only of him as a person, but of his work. His writing is amazing. I find myself looking forward to readings from his book, and eagerly reading ahead when I have free time. His style and prose are soothing, and the concepts are incredibly interesting.
All in all, it is an amazing class, and especially given the state of our times, it is nice to be able to have time to sit and think about what makes up our universe, what constructs our reality, and what makes us engage with science.