First Year Modules: A Critical Review
One of the good things (or bad things depending on your viewpoint) about the first year of MathsPhys is the number of modules that are studied. Despite being really hard work, especially come revision time, I actually quite liked it as it meant that right from the start of my degree I got an idea of what areas I liked, as well as the bits I didn’t enjoy! I studied 12 modules this year, but I’ve rounded up a few of my faves…
Probably the main reason I got into physics is because of astronomy, so I was thrilled when I found out there was an Introduction to Astronomy optional module on offer this year! The vast timescales and distances in astrophysics constantly fascinates and enthrals me, and the developments that have been made even in the last decade is true testimony to the power of scientific research. Despite being only a 6 CAT module (being taught over 5 weeks) the module covered a variety of topics, from stars to galaxies, and was a nice continuation to what I already knew. I am looking forward to studying further astrophysics modules in the coming years!
Before coming to university I had never done any programming, let alone knew that Python was a coding language, so I was really surprised when I thoroughly enjoyed the Physics Programming Workshop module! Taught using a combination of lectures, online lecture notes and workshops, we were brought up to speed with the language and had to complete online assessments that gradually increased in difficulty. Maybe it was because it was so new to me, but by the end of the module I was really proud of my progress and can really see myself continuing with my new found programming skills!
I am sure a lot of my fellow MathsPhys students would disagree with me on this one, but I really enjoyed the Electricity and Magnetism module. Granted, it did include a lot of scary looking maths (think vectors galore) though I quite liked the relationship between the maths and the physical applications. I’ve talked in a previous blogpost about how I enjoy this about my course, and from knowing the important consequences of what we were learning in the E&M lectures meant that, despite the content being fundamental and working up from basic principles, I could really appreciate where this information could lead to, which I really liked.
Mathematical Analysis was like no maths I had ever done before and it’s really hard to describe what it is like (it’s probably worth checking out the website if you’re interested). At the start of the year I did struggle with getting used to this new type of maths, though by the end I really appreciated the elegant proofs and logical statements. Once the ground work has been done, it is incredibly satisfying to come up with your own proofs! I feel like Analysis will be a very useful skill to have for future modules, with respect to the problem solving and determination needed to succeed!
These modules were on offer last year, though may not necessarily be available in the future; as always, for the most up to date course information check out the website!