Major Monday – Physics

As I look through the past few Major Monday posts, I notice that we haven’t had a science entry in a while!  Mr. Arwe, a Physics teacher at LC, agreed to help us out and answer some questions for us about his major.  Enjoy!

1)  What was your college major and where did you go to school?

I got my BA in Physics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Peter B. Lewis Building at Case Western

Peter B. Lewis Building at Case Western

2)  Was this your original major?

Yes, Physics was my original major.

3)  What made you choose your major?

I chose physics because I had loved it in high school, and I had been told it was one of the most versatile of the science majors.

4)  What were your favorite classes in college?

Modern physics (typically a sophomore year class, sometimes called Physics III) was one of my favorites. It covers special and general relativity, as well as the an introduction to quantum mechanics (how tiny tiny particles behave individually) and statistical mechanics (how tiny tiny particles behave in big groups).

I also loved my film classes (I was working towards a minor but couldn’t fit the classes to finish it). I’ve always loved movies and talking about them, and one of the film professors was absolutely fantastic. I took every class of his that I could, and even without finishing the minor it was a great decision.

 

5)  What advice do you have for students interested in the same major?

 

For potential physics majors: It’s great at first, and then there is a slump around sophomore/junior year. This is typical of almost any hard science major – when you finish the introductory classes that cover a massive breadth of topics, you start to go in depth, and that will get very hard, very quickly. Find friends to do the work with and you’ll learn together. Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean you can’t have fun – it’s hard because it’s advanced, and that means you’re learning some very cool things. Plus, misery loves company.

For anyone who thinks they know what their major will be: There is ZERO reason to declare a major early on. You can sign up for any classes you like; if you think you want to be major xyz, sign up for some typical classes. Plan what courses you are going to enroll in ahead of time. Go ahead and do what a normal freshman with a major in xyz would do. However, none of that means you have to declare a major. A year or two down the road, you will know far more than you ever realized about your potential major, and your opinion may change. It is far easier to declare a major than to change your major. Give yourself time to grow acclimated to college life, learn about all of the knowledge at your fingertips, and only then should you make a decision.

 

Great advice!  Thank you, Mr. Arwe!
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