She is Electric, Can I be Electric Too?

Oh, crap! I realized yesterday that I was getting woefully behind on my blogging. The good news is that it is not because I’m behind on my studying. I thought about just skipping ahead to today, but I’m really trying to document this journey. So let’s play catch-up, shall we? We’ll just hop into my time machine (patent pending) and travel back to last Friday, June 9. *insert appropriate science fiction bleeps and bloops*

Today I got to start on Volume II of Tipler & Mosca! That’s a pretty big milestone. It’s also a much less-used book, as I believe that we didn’t use this as our primary text for some of the topics it includes. In any case, today I got started on E&M with The Electric Field I: Discrete Charge Distributions and The Electric Field II: Continuous Charge Distributions. This is pretty interesting info, getting into some trickier math and less-pretty equations, and setting up the basic concepts that will (spoiler!) later lead to culmination in Maxwell’s equations. Field points have always tripped me up, but this time around I think I have a pretty good feel for it.

I started on the Series and Limits chapter in Mathematical Methods, and it was not a fun journey. I had assigned myself four sections and they took forever to get through. I’ve never been the best with series (I think my pattern recognition is subpar) and working through these examples was frustrating. It didn’t help that I was acutely aware that it was Friday afternoon and my brain was ready for a break after a long week of studies. But I kept with it and did get through every problem, teasing out the correct reasoning and applying it properly. That was good! As frustrating as it was, I feel like I actually made some concrete progress with my mathematics skills.

Another week of books in the books! I’m speeding through basic physics and the calendar is speeding by at an alarming rate, but I’m ready to think about something else for a day or two before diving back in on Monday.

Today’s fun “new” fact: It’s a fun party trick to be able to add a huge amount of numbers together, and I had forgotten the simple formula to do so. But it’s easy! The sum of the first N positive integers is N/2*(N+1). You can check out this site (or Google) for more details on the derivation.