Jeremy Côté

Bits, ink, particles, and words.

Premature Wielding of Mathematical Tools

As a physicist, mathematics is the language I speak. It’s what I use to discuss physics, and I’m familiar with many of the tools that mathematicians learn. The tools range from the fields of calculus, probability, statistics, linear algebra, differential equations, graph theory, and many others. In particular, solving differential equations is like the bread and butter of physics, so I’m versed in this area. Knowing how to untangle the Schrödinger equation or the field equations in general relativity is a skill that physicists pick up during their education.

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Stating My Ignorance

Let me share a scenario that I’ve been in a lot, and I want you to think about if you’ve had a similar experience.

I’m listening to an explanation of someone who is “above” me in their academic career. This tends to be a professor, researcher, or maybe even my supervisor. They are explaining some technical detail of an idea. Every so often, they look my way and end their sentence in a way that asks if I’m following.

My response?

Almost always, I nod. Even if I’m not really following anymore.

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Give The Easy Examples

You’re giving a presentation. Mindful that you should ease people into your topic, you start gentle. Things are going great, and then you go to your first example. When planning your talk, you had an easy example, but then you figured that people would think it was too easy. So you added a more complex one, closer to something you were studying in your work.

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What Have You Built?

This, I think, is the next big thing in marketing ourselves.

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