Friday, October 24, 2008

First Tests

This week I had my first two tests at graduate school, one in Classical Mechanics and then one in Statistical Thermodynamics. Now, Stat. Mech. is an undergrad course, so I suppose that it probably doesn't count in most people's minds as being a real "test" at the graduate level, but the course material can be tedious to remember. There are a lot of variables floating around and you really have to have a good understanding of the material to expect to even do remotely well. Some courses you can just memorize equations and then, bam, you have your solutions... not for this class! But having just finished it, literally just 12 minutes ago, I feel entirely confident that I aced the test. Now I do not want to jinx it, but I flew through it and only stumbled a couple times, just to pick myself up and complete every part.

As for classical mechanics... well, that's a different story. The test was hard, not to the point of not being do-able, but it was hard none the less. My derivations were solid, all except for the derivation for the reduced mass of a multi-body system; it escaped me once I sat down at the table with the test in hand despite having just had looked at it no less than 20 minutes prior to the test. I knew the definition of a reduced mass, so hopefully that will suffice seeing as we had to describe how to take a 6 dimensional system down to 1 dimension and the reduced mass kills three dimensions all on its own. I'm feeling somewhat confident... I think... which means I'm not at all, but all of the other students seemed to have gotten the same solutions as I did; we'll see how that goes. There was one question, though, that she puts on every year and no one can answer... well, she doesn't really have the answer, it's a conceptual question that the professors here can not even seem to answer - so I think that not answering that one won't count against me.

So here's the breakdown in my head:

Statistical Mechanics: Success
Classical Mechanics: Who Knows...

Well, off to do Classical Mechanics homework due this evening.

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