Friday, 27 December 2013

Seasons Greetings and Plans for the New Year

Well another year has passed and it’s that time of the year when one starts to think about the future. This year promises to be a busy one although I shall be reducing my OU commitments to at the most one 60 point course per year.

I’m currently doing the Number Theory and logic course and completion of that will conclude my second open degree. If I get grade 2 it will put me on line for a 2:1. I then want a break of at least a year from OU work.

The courses will consist of

Level 1 MST121      Introducing Mathematics                      Pass       

Leve 2 MST221      Exploring Mathematics                            Distinction
            M208          Pure Maths                                                 Grade 2
           A208          Philosophy and the Human Condition        Distinction
           A224          Music                                                             Grade 3

Level 3    M338         Topology                                                    Grade 4
             MST324     Waves Diffusion etc                                     Grade 3
             SM358       Quantum Mechanics                                     Grade 2

Then M381 number theory and logic

The only thing that would persuade me to change my mind is if A303 Philosophy of the Mind gets a reprieve and is presented next year. I wont know till about March. I could replace MST324 and M338 with it and would hopefully get a better grade we’ll see.

Not that I wont be busy I want to concentrate on music and my own physics and maths studies for a while. I intend to finally get a piano tutor with the aim of doing grade 1 piano in June and possibly Grade 2 by the end of the year. Also to practice the theory doing grade 5 and 6 theory this year alongside the OCA composition courses

I like the idea that eventually I’ll be able to compose a symphony (construct is probably a more accurate term). As I said before A224 is fine for an overview, but it is short on hammering the basics. grade 5 theory whilst quite simple harmonically is quite demanding in terms of getting transposition, the names of the keys and intervals at your finger tips. All necessary pre-requisites for a budding composer. One of the most reliable methods of workling out intervals and transpositon is to use modulo aritthmetic which I will expand on in another post

I also want to get on with my physics I left hanging in the air about 18 months ago the derivation of the Friedmann equations which govern the expansion of the universe from General relativitry and I’m taking the current break as an opportunity to get back into it. Any calculatiion in general relativity, even the most simplest such as those for the expansion of the universe or the Schwarzschild metric involves pages and pages of tedious algebra and it nearly broke my heart round about June of last year. Still having done the spade work I can now get on to the physics, watch this space.

Also I need to crack on with the second part of number theory and logic the computablity part of which awaits me. Given Duncan’s and Daniel’s experiences of it I’m not looking forward to it. Still as it is an important part of maths then it is necessary.

I’ll be in two minds whether to continue with the Open University after June. Part of me wants to do the Maths MSc, the new third level course in music and philosophy and the new pure maths course. The other part wants to concentrate on my maths physics and music. Finish the big bang calculation, then get up to speed with modern cosmology, do the three Peskin and Schroeder research projects, understand the functional analysis formulation of quantum mechanics and also the Hawking and Penrose singularity theorems. I’m in my mid fifties and if I want to do all that and get to grade 8 piano and compose a symphony or two before I die then time is ticking on.

Anyway seasons greetings to you all and I hope 2014 brings you nearer to your goals.

Best wishes Chris


  1. Hey, great to see where you are now. Have been reading your blog for years but never bothered to post, so will do so now. :) I am currently having my second attempt on MS324 (I tried in 2012). Unfortunately, too busy, etc I fell behind, so here I am again. But enjoying it much more!

  2. Why thank you good luck with MS324 it's a really good course apart from the probability aspects which I found a bit tedious, I really think to get the most out of any OU course you need to do it twice over. Unfortunately due to the stupid way in which the OU have organised themselves with all the switches to October starts I just haven't had time to consolidate the work as it has been non stop since Feb 2011.
    I really would like another go at Complex Variables for example.

    If there are any courses you are thinking of doing and would like the pdfs to see what you are letting yourself in for please drop me an e-mail (That goes for any one else reading this blog as well).

  3. Hey Chris - my name is Frank Birch. You may have noticed me on the OU forums and I've also been following your blog for a while now. For me, its particularly interesting as I'm very much following you Maths-wise. I'm currently doing M208 and plan todo 324, 326, 358 (and maybe the new 303). I would have loved to have done M381 - if I'd been a year further ahead I certainly would have, and as it was, I had a long debate about doing it this year ahead of M208 (as I think its fairly independent). In the end I decided doing this was perhaps not wise, but I have picked a copy of the course books which I plan to work through at some point. I look forward to hearing of your further experiences with it over the coming 5-6 months.
    Good luck with this and have a good 2014. Best Regards, Frank Birch