Saturday, 10 September 2016

And we're off S383 First impressions

So the website for S383 opened this week and I got to look at the TMA's and the pdf of the course units.

S383 Unit 1 is a pretty good summary of General Relativity and the Schwarzschild metric and the Friedmann equations. It skimps on some details for example there is not a full blown derivation of the Friedmann equations from General relativity but enough is given so that you could in principle derive the results  for yourself (Good luck with that one I would estimate a fairly intensive month to get it exactly right if you don't die of boredom :) )

S383 Unit 2 is a summary of observational cosmology starting with the big bang and then an overview of modern ideas in cosmology centering around inflation. From what I can tell there is not a great deal of detail here.  However the author seems to think inflation is still quite speculative and wants to concentrate on more tangible things. The course then goes on to look at Galaxies, the evidence for black holes gravitational lensing and the Lyman alpha forest. All interesting and active areas of research and good to get an overview

S383 Unit 3 is called extreme environmental astrophysics and is concerned amongst other things with the formation of acretion discs near a black hole and many other things which I will cover in more detail as time goes on.

Looking at the TMAs that are available it has to be said that they don't really do justice to the depth of material covered in the course I dare say the electronic tmas will cover more topics. This is based only on 3 of the TMAs the TMA for the second block being an extended one and so not issued yet.

Ok so initial impressions are that this course covers a lot of interesting material but not necessarily at a mathematical depth that would satisfy more mathematically minded people. I guess one would have to look elsewhere for that.

One place to look is the Cambridge Part III courses examples sheets

Scroll down to the bottom and you will find example sheets for three of the core courses in relativity that are offered. Also most generously Dr Baumann has published his lecture notes on Cosmology

More than enough to satisfy those wanting a more mathematical approach I hope to do at least some the examples associated with Cosmology and maybe some of the General Relativity example sheets alongside my work on S383.

As an aside I decided to leave MST326 for this year, I may as I have 2 years left do it in conjuction with the new MST327 course

next year and round off my second open degree with M303 the year after or vice versa Who knows

Monday, 29 August 2016

Decisions again MST326 0r Not MST326

As well as doing S383 I have a week to decide whether or not to do MST326 again
I hadn't realised that if you fail as I did you can retake the whole module again at some point and not get your marks downgraded


I have revised my interest in partial differential equations

If I get say grade 2 along with a grade 2 in M303 I could start the MSc in 2 years time

If I decide not to do it then I will have to wait 2 years before taking it again I can't see me doing this alongside M303 next year so its now or never


Money and time as always :)

It is a tough one

Speaking of Partial Differential equations I am currently trying to understand the solution of Schrodinger's equation in parabolic coordinates. I have seen it mentioned in a few books but the solutions are only sketched out. It turns out that it is possible to solve Schrodinger.s equation in 11 of the orthogonal coordinates but most courses just concentrate on the well known spherical polar coordinate system. It would be an interesting exercise over the next few years to see how feasible it is to solve Schrodinger's equation in all eleven coordinate systems.

and with the power of computer graphics plot out the solutions Watch this space (but don't hold your breath)

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Update S383 and M303

Hi sorry for not blogging for a while other priorities and so forth
Anyway I got bored with linear statistical modelling so couldn't motivate myself to complete it My track record for dropping out of OU courses isn't looking so good.
However I have decided to register for S383 Relativistic Universe

which starts in September

I then intend to do M303 which I have been lucky enough to get the materials for

I will then have enough credits to get my second Open university Open degree
After that who knows I believe it is possible to study modules separately rather than as part of a degree as I have no inclination to do a whole load of level 1 courses for the sake of a degree
I am tempted to essentially build up a portfolio of second level courses followed by a third level course

Topics I would like to study include Chemistry, Economics and Biology and I dare say completing the third level philosophy course would be useful as well. I think it would be quite satisfying to do a second level course followed by a third level course I'll see how things pan out after M303

In the mean time almost by coincidence there is a coursera course on Galois theory starting up looks quite intimidating but I have the OU M303 books to give me background in ring and field theory

At any rate I shall get some idea of what the topic is all about.