This is my first entry – the inaugural post to fill the first page of this diary or blog. I prefer the more quaint description, than to simply call this entry and the diary within which it sits a “blog”. It is the same as when I write an informal article, I approach them more traditionally as essays.
Unbeknownst to me, the future of this journal or diary or blog may take several directions. It will be about my studies, firstly, as a physics student working toward a Masters degree and then finally also a PhD. At the time of writing, I am in the long process of narrowing my focus and identifying my dedicated field of choice. Although I have a longstanding interest in theoretical astrophysics, I am (and have been for some time) moving more and more toward theoretical particle physics. Like the probability that a proton might be found at the maxima, theoretical particle physics seems to be my main passion and is my likely destination as a physicist.
With that said, I’ve titled this blog ‘A Day Without Yesterday’ for a number of reasons. It is, for one, a reference to uncertainty beyond a point, symbolized in a time where physics is captured by wave-particle duality and the quantum measurement problem – i.e., the collapse of the wave function. It is in this sense also a vague reference to indeterminacy and uncertainty fundamental to quantum theory. And so, in these words, the title expresses a time inasmuch as a state in relation to modern physics. But it is also a direct reference to the current cosmological model and to the theory of the big bang.
In terms of what to expect early on, this blog will mostly be a place to share my thoughts on whatever issue or subject that might strike me in the world of physics that I feel compelled enough to write about.
This could comprise of personal (rough) study notes, short essays or entries extracted from a personal journal that I keep to document my ideas in physics. There may be more formal writings and research papers and presentations based on my schoolwork and research at university. There may also be informal discussions and commentary.
In the short term, I envision a mixture of past school work and notes mixed with the odd short essay (I have written piles and piles of essays). I may entertain questions like, ‘where does the Planck constant come from?’, ‘what is it like to enter a black hole?’ or ‘would an apple orbit my person, were I to freely float through space far enough from any massive bodies?’ Questions like these used to occupy much of my earlier time, and I feel compelled to post some of my school book workings. Before re-entering formal education, I taught myself a lot of mathematics and a lot of physics. Revisiting some of these old notes, as well as my early formal school work, will feel like a bit of a reward.
I may also post short pieces about the physics of chemistry and the study of particles, something I was fascinated with for some years before entering university. In fact, before my pre-degree course I taught myself a lot of chemistry, and during my pre-degree course I already had a lot of knowledge which allowed me to then expand on my school assignments in more interesting ways, often with emphasis on the detailed physics of chemistry.
In addition to the above, as part of my earliest studies in physics, I often kept notes on some of my personal idols and their work, as well as the history of their ideas and key experiments or theories – be that Newton or Feynman or Einstein or Faraday or Maxwell and others. I envision reproducing some of these in the early development of this blog, including some of my earliest working through Newtonian mechanics and things like that.
As an aside, I spent the later part of my summer (2017) beginning to work through Newton’s Principia. A series of notes on my working through this tremendous historical publication is likely forthcoming. Likewise, Einstein’s General and Special Relativity (some of this is also related to my university studies).
For fun, I may also write about some of my favourite derivations.
In addition to all of that, at the outset, I am eager to write about the things that most inspired me to study to be a physicist: General Relativity, The Standard Model and the fundamental laws.
Every physicist seems to have a story or two about some of the earliest moments that captured for them what would eventually become an undying passion for physics. For me, one of these moments was when I first learned about the Standard Model. It kept me awake the entire night.
That we can say, at this current time, that there are twelve known particles of matter, is, in itself, remarkable. That we can expand on this to say, with great confidence, that these twelve known particles can be organized in three generations, and that particular particles, called gauge bosons – known, with good reason, as force carriers – carry any of the fundamental interactions, or forces, of nature, is an even more incredible achievement. The physics, here, is so elegant and beautiful. And I cannot wait to write about it.
But what in particular first seized hold of my young thoughts, on that eventful day that quickly turned into a twenty-four hour blur, was when I first studied the Feynman diagrams and worked through the forces mediated by gauge bosons. I had already know about Feynman diagrams. I had read about them. I already knew the basic physics. But it was when I first worked through them, studied their detail, drew the graphical representations myself in ink on my very own notepad, and thought deeply about the interaction between sub atomic particles – this was one of the moments that I discovered a deeper enthusiasm for theoretical particle physics.
I have been engrossed in particle physics ever since.
And so, for any prospective readers, I hope you enjoy this blog. I also hope you enjoy following the journey, as I pursue my studies at university on the long road to a PhD. What the future holds from there, after my degree, I suppose only the arrow of time will tell.