October 20, 2007

research vs. course work

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:50 pm by changisme

Since high school or first few years of university, I kept on hearing how people say they find learning is so much more enjoyable when they work on a project in the real world. I actually didn’t really understand. I liked word problems, but not more than the pure theories. I didn’t like labs in which I was always given a recipe. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t feel they were real or I just didn’t feel they were interesting.

Now that I’m actually working on some real projects. One of them is more theoretical than others, but more or less they are pretty real in the biological/ecological world. I’m enjoying myself so much that I keep wanting to work on them instead of my homework. I finally understand what the others meant. i guess it’s a shame that I just found out what other people have known for years, but I guess better late than never!

I think the real problems are real in a sense that the people who wrote the papers and the people I work with all of a sudden seem to have personalities. What they write sometimes has its silliness even if not academically. The methods some I know and some I don’t. There is the process of finding it out. I can think about it and try to figure it out. I guess it’s also that it doesn’t feel as impossible as some really mind boggling homework questions that are on a pdf file. I’m starting to get some pdf-syndroms now… especially those with certain integer sequences on their headers. x-phobia where x is some 3-digit integer??? I don’t know…

Another thing that was interesting was that, I read this paper which is rather brief in its math. My supervisor suggested contacting the author(s), but they wrote this many years ago. I was actually trying to locate them… and I was trying to imagine these people moving on from one project to another, and all their footprints in academia are tagged by the article indexes, when and with who did they work on what. One of the authors has moved to california and teaching in some small community college. I wonder if he still does research or does he just teach. His website looked quite rich in teaching now. The other is retired and his profile is just hanging under a new biomath star’s resource bag rather than independently. I hope he’s living happily ever after. i wonder if he actually think about these research he’s been doing throughout his life. Would he still remember the papers he wrote? I’m actually curious to talk to him about some fishery paper and see if he actually really care about fisheries.

On and on and on… although now I have to go back to my course work… how I wish I can just do these research assistace projects full-time… would I feel the other way when and if I finally achieve my goal one day?

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