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Blog » 2004 » July

20 Jul 2004

Caltech News 6: Of islands and exams

Filed under: Caltech News (emails) — paulcook @ 8:00 pm

Hi all,

It has been a long time since I’ve sent an email to this list of people, so I’m sorry to those that haven’t heard from me for a while. There are also a few getting this for the first time, let me know if you’d rather not get future editions!

I’ve wrapped up my first academic year at Caltech in the last few days. Lectures ended about a month ago now, but since then I’ve been starting the first hints of some real research, as well as studying for and writing one of my qualifying exams. The courses have been very useful, and I can now claim I have at least some idea of what it really means to say that I’m studying string theory. I’m going to have to spend at least one more year in pretty fulltime coursework and reading before I can really say that I know what is happening, but the work is interesting (if sometimes rather challenging — especially some of the problem sets). The courses don’t have tests or exams, so marks are based on problem set (tutorials). It’s nice in that one doesn’t have the pressure of an exam, but does mean that one has to make sure that one is actually learning stuff during the course — so I’m going to have to spend some of this summer break actually learning the work we did!