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Writer's Block: School Ties

I hardly ever answer these, but this one caught my attention.

My undergraduate degree was in Natural Sciences, specialising in astrophysics at the end. My undergraduate dissertation was a literature survey of the Comic Microwave Background Radiation and the Origin of the Universe.

My career is now in international politics. So it is fair to say that the two fields are not intimately related. I can count the number of fellow astrophysics graduates I have met in my current line of work on the fingers of one finger (the then chief of staff of the president of an Eastern European country).

And yet, it does make a difference. I know that the numbers need to add up; I know that all processes have a beginning and and end (and hopefully a middle); I know that entropy is always inclined to increase; I know that patterns you find in one place are quite likely to repeat elsewhere, and that describing and even predicting them is not always the same as explaining them away.

And on cold, clear winter nights I can go out and look at the sky, and I know my stars.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
seawasp
Feb. 3rd, 2012 06:25 pm (UTC)
And you know that the end of any large process is an increasing intensity culminating in a tremendous explosion?
bellinghman
Feb. 3rd, 2012 07:23 pm (UTC)
I can see from that why you like graphic novels so much.

Oh, Cosmic?
inulro
Feb. 3rd, 2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
Before I became an arts student, I went through high school in the pre-med stream, and indeed got accepted to two half-decent pre-med programmes before I realized I didn't have the eyesight or manual dexterity to be a surgeon, and any other kind of medicine wasn't an option.

So your paragraph:

I know that the numbers need to add up; I know that all processes have a beginning and and end (and hopefully a middle); I know that entropy is always inclined to increase; I know that patterns you find in one place are quite likely to repeat elsewhere, and that describing and even predicting them is not always the same as explaining them away.

really resonates with me. Throughout my undergrad years, I was the person who figured out all the household bills - everyone else stapled their hands to their foreheads and declared themselves "too arty" to deal with simple arithmetic. (Yes, I now hate myself for being so honest about it. I could have ripped them all off big time).

I almost went back to do another first degree in science instead of of the Medieval Studies MA I ended up doing; by the end of my first degree if I ever had to deal with another arts undergraduate again it would be too soon.

The methodical way I went about my PhD research astounded my tutors and fellow students, yet it was obvious to me. For the most part I wasn't any smarter than anyone else, and eventually it dawned on me that my training as a scientist made me think through and break down the steps required to get to where I needed to go.
mountainkiss
Feb. 5th, 2012 09:28 pm (UTC)
I hear you.
sugarimp
Feb. 8th, 2012 03:48 pm (UTC)
Ah, where's the "like" button? :-)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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