While starting a blog with the word “physics” in the title may seem like instant blog suicide, I’m going to chance it for now. It only seems fitting, in my first post, to give a brief history as to why I chose to study physics.
I fell in love with physics in the eleventh grade. My teacher, Mrs. Emmetts, was in her mid-fifties. She had red hair and a wry smile. On the first day of class, written on the board in large cursive letters, was the phrase that succinctly described her attitude towards physics, and that which she intended to give to her students:
Physics is phun!
I learned from Mrs. Emmetts that most physics teachers are at least partially insane. I wondered about the cause and effect — whether the insanity comes from studying the king of sciences or whether one must be nutso in the first place to even think about staring down the reasons behind the universe’s creation. I didn’t know much about physics other than that it was an especially difficult science that was heavily math-oriented.
How, then, could physics be PHUN?
Physics was going to be hard. Maybe physics was phun in the same way that getting punched in the arm sixty-seven times in a row gets to be phun (that is, you’re in such misery that you just have to start laughing about it).
To this day, because of Mrs. Emmetts, “Physics is phun” is the slogan I use with my students to get them to think about the joy of studying physics. This is not the same kind of joy one gets when their favorite NFL team wins the Super Bowl. This is the joy that one gets completing a difficult crossword puzzle or sudoku, completing a craft or handiwork, or learning a new skill.
The joy of studying physics is a sense of accomplishment. Being able to discover even the smallest insight into the universe’s inner workings feels as if Mother Nature is entrusting you with one of her most closely-guarded secrets. I became a physics teacher because I wanted to help students find these insights on their own.
Through this blog, I intend to share with you my love of physics and my personal calling to help physics students in their studies. My goal is to write articles for physics teachers, physics students, and anyone else who thinks they might be interested in the subject. I don’t intend on writing this blog above a high school level; in fact, you shouldn’t feel as if you even need to have taken a physics course in order to participate. Future articles will include insights for physics students, test-taking hints, practice problems for test-taking, problems of interest, commentary on news in physics and mathematics, and random bits of interest. Join me — let’s discover nature’s secrets together.