My first interest where I’ve understood quite a lot was system programming.
Basically, I was never interested in writing software for practical purposes, and I do not consider myself as a programmer from widely held point of view as an engineer writing programs for others.
Instead, I simply wanted to understand what computer is, so it was some kind of research, a bit reminiscent to that performed by scientists but much less fundamental and limited to what had been created by human mind.
Nevertheless, it provided all of the following:
- deep understanding of a computer world (except networks), which was initial dream
- completely changed studying approach, based on a deep understanding of concepts and systematic review of them
- a lot of abstractions to operate with, with different levels of complexity
The second two had changed my way of thinking dramatically and later a desire to study Universe with applying similar approach but on a higher level arose.
Basically, this was when I really understood how limited I am and how endless and complicated is the world around me – much more complicated than anything I had seen in computer world (and than anything human mind can create). So my current desire to study Physics (as the most fundamental natural science) derives from a desire to understand this world, not from my freaky hobbies from middle school, when I had also thought about Physics, but mostly because of watching popular American series like BBT. I think that a strong desire to understand the field and to become the part of the field is the best motivation which a university applicant can have.
In particular, I want to study the following:
- Physics (classical mechanics, thermodynamics and molecular physics, optics, electrodynamics,
waves, special and general relativity, quantum mechanics, nuclear physics, particles etc.)
- Mathematics (I studied some discrete mathematics and have enough strong high school math foundation, but it is nothing in comparison with a lot of linear algebra, analytical geometry,
calculus, differential equations, functional analysis, matrix algebra, differential geometry,
topology and similar areas I want to cover in university – mostly as an instrument for physics, since a desire to understand Universe is stronger in me than the desire to understand mathematics as Ding an sich, and I view myself in a future more as a physicist than as a mathematician, although I love the latter as well)
- Philosophy – Kant, Mach, something else which is related to scientific research (and I think philosophy of science is closer to physics problems than to social areas)
I saw Jacobs University Bremen studying programme which I would briefly describe as follows:
- year 1 – thermodynamics and optics, classical physics, modern physics, general chemistry, linear algebra I and II, calculus I and II, scientific and experimental skills, German and one course in business-technology-social
- year 2 – statistical physics, electrodynamics, renewable energy, introduction to computer simulation methods, quantum mechanics, analitical mechanics, relativity theory (as a part of statistical physics and fields), German and four courses in business-technology-social
- year 3 – this year can be taken either in another university or in this one, in which case subjects are as follows: biophysics, particles and fields, advanced optics, advanced quantum mechanics, theoretical and computational biophysics, condensed matter and devices (?), solid storage devices
I have not looked which courses are optional and these are not all courses (there will be probability theory, differential equations and functional analysis essential for Physics), but I think that this program provides a strong foundation for theoretical physics research. I write this not in order to flatter, but instead to express my genuine worries and desires.
I hope that my desire to understand the world better, my current achievements and strong sides will allow me to confidently walk to and enter the university gates.