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Napersky
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What makes an Amateur Physicist.
      #5736430 - 03/16/13 02:29 PM

Is there even such a thing.
Can a person aquire the knowledge of Mathematics and Physics without special University training.

Mark


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HiggsBoson
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Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: Napersky]
      #5736439 - 03/16/13 02:39 PM

Today it is easier than ever to do this. One can use the open universities who place videos of lectures on the internet to provide an educational component without having to do the homework. One can read the many popular books on these subjects. I would avoid the TV shows as they simply do not go deep enough to provide insight or understanding.

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Napersky
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Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: HiggsBoson]
      #5736486 - 03/16/13 03:09 PM

What I love about Physics is that it is part of the search for Realty.

Unlike Novels, television, fiction, which many spent countless hundreds of hours of their lives entertaining themselves with (guilty), Physics is a discipline to find the building blocks of nature. Just the history of the subject is fascinating.


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Napersky
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Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: Napersky]
      #5736495 - 03/16/13 03:14 PM

For me a true Amateur Physicst, although I know some professionals consider this an oxymoron, is someone who has aquired the Maths skills up to and above Differential Equations and knows how to therefore follow the work of current physics journals and do the calculations they have done for their experiments or theory in ARXIV.org.

In additon they have aquired the equivalent knowledge of a PHD level on their own.

Cambridge for instance publishes a wonderful range of books on the subject although mastery of Differential Equations is a must for most of their books.


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Rick Woods
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Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: Napersky]
      #5737199 - 03/16/13 08:36 PM

I think it's just the lack of a paycheck for doing the work.
I'd venture that plenty of physicists have all the necessary degrees, but are paying the bills by setting up computer networks for department stores.


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Ira
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Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5737468 - 03/16/13 10:12 PM

Was Einstein an Amateur Physicist?

/Ira


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Rick Woods
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Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: Ira]
      #5737894 - 03/17/13 01:36 AM

I guess so, when he was a patent clerk.
Amateurs rule.


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Napersky
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Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5739051 - 03/17/13 04:30 PM

Quote:

I think it's just the lack of a paycheck for doing the work.
I'd venture that plenty of physicists have all the necessary degrees, but are paying the bills by setting up computer networks for department stores.





I would say IRA that Einstein was a professional Physicist because of his PHD. He wasn't being paid for his work and had to work somewhere else but he was a professional in the sense that he held the qualifications of a paid professional physicist.

I have an aquaintance who holds a Standford PHD in Physics and does not work in his field.

Mark


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Neutrino?
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Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: Napersky]
      #5739189 - 03/17/13 05:26 PM

Can a person aquire the knowledge of Mathematics and Physics without special University training?

Yes. You could, with a few of the right books and the internet, make your way to the forefront of knowledge and understand most of it. It really isn't that complicated actually. Contributing something worthwhile or solving an actual problem is the hard part.


"Amateur Physicist"? Not sure what that is. If you have something to contribute and others find it legitimate regardless of your position title at a university or home depot, you are a physicist.

Also, you're going to need a lot more than diff-eqs!


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gavinm
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Reged: 08/26/05

Loc: Auckland New Zealand
Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: Napersky]
      #5739190 - 03/17/13 05:26 PM

Can a person obtain a working knowledge of mathematics and physics without university training? I doubt it..

When I was training to be a teacher many moons ago, we had a debate (with our subject lecturers) about this. My POV was that to be a physics teacher you need a physics degree (the arrogance of youth). Awkwardly I found out later the lecturer was the Head of Physics at a local school and didn't have a physics degree. I got the last word in later when she was assessing my classroom work and had a go at me because some of my work showed incorrect physics. Unfortunately the physics was right, she was wrong, and so I still believe that you need at least an undergraduate degree to properly understand maths and physics.

(She was a biologist - enough said.. )


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Ira
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Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: gavinm]
      #5739596 - 03/17/13 08:34 PM

Were there any great physicists in history who were self-taught?
Copernicus? Galileo? Newton? Leibnitz? ...?
I'm asking. I don't know their educational backgrounds.

/Ira


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Rick Woods
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Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: Ira]
      #5739767 - 03/17/13 10:10 PM

I think you have to be paid to be considered a professional anything. No disrespect intended to Einstein (who was a pro later on); but the term "professional" has little to do with qualifications. Many professional people in various fields are totally inept in those fields, while people a thousand times more qualified are unpaid amateurs.

But, that's probably not what the OP was really asking; maybe it was more like "do you have to have formal education in physics to be considered a physicist"?


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Ira
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Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5739823 - 03/17/13 11:09 PM

That's what I assumed he was asking, too.

/Ira


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JKoelman
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Reged: 05/16/11

Loc: Bangalore, India
Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: Napersky]
      #5740545 - 03/18/13 11:43 AM

Quote:

Can a person aquire the knowledge of Mathematics and Physics without special University training.




According to Nobel laureate Gerard 't Hooft the answer is "yes": http://www.staff.science.uu.nl/~hooft101/theorist.html


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gavinm
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Reged: 08/26/05

Loc: Auckland New Zealand
Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: JKoelman]
      #5740917 - 03/18/13 03:11 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Can a person aquire the knowledge of Mathematics and Physics without special University training.




According to Nobel laureate Gerard 't Hooft the answer is "yes": http://www.staff.science.uu.nl/~hooft101/theorist.html




Find me someone who understands advanced quantum mechanics who hasn't been to university, as 't Hooft suggests then I might be convinced..

EDIT: I've looked in more depth at the link. It may be possible for the one-in-a-million (gifted whatever) to learn this, but not the normal scientist. What arrogance that man has - never want to meet him...Nobel prize or not


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Ira
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Loc: Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: gavinm]
      #5741212 - 03/18/13 05:25 PM

Just find me someone who understands advanced quantum mechanics period.

/Ira


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Rick Woods
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Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: Ira]
      #5741302 - 03/18/13 06:06 PM

I knew a guy who worked on Volkswagen Quantums, he knew them pretty well...

OK, sorry. My feeling would be that there are plenty of people who are smart enough to learn all of that by themselves. Far fewer who would actually do the work. But it was all figured out originally by people who didn't have any training in it, so it can be done.


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Mister T
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Reged: 02/01/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: Napersky]
      #5741309 - 03/18/13 06:09 PM

He/she would be the one at a company like Baldor who does all the calculations for the windings and magnet strengths for various HP and RPM motors.

Oh wait I thought you said ARMATURE physicist!!

my bad.


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EJN
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Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. new [Re: Napersky]
      #5741386 - 03/18/13 06:41 PM

Quote:

What makes an Amateur Physicist?




I built a 100,000 volt Van de Graaf generator in junior high school for a science
fair. Does that count?


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Rick Woods
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Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: What makes an Amateur Physicist. [Re: EJN]
      #5741616 - 03/18/13 08:13 PM

Quote:

Quote:

What makes an Amateur Physicist?




I built a 100,000 volt Van de Graaf generator in junior high school for a science
fair. Does that count?




I say, yes!


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